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Seaway’s vital trade role underlined at opening of 2022 navigation season

St-Catharines, Ontario – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) today marked the opening of the Seaway’s 64th navigation season. The Canada Steamship Lines’ Trillium Class bulk carrier CSL Welland was the first ship to transit through the Welland Canal. Traffic opened in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section on March 22.

While marine industry stakeholders were looking forward to benefiting from continuing economic recovery, Seaway officials stressed the North American waterway was ready to adapt to fluctuations in cargo movements which could result from the uncertainty created by how the pandemic, consumer habits and the conflict in Ukraine will evolve in the coming months.

Over the past decade, with investments to modernize and optimize operations, the Seaway has firmed up its position as an essential transportation corridor, helping move products to markets and grow the economy. Its vital contribution was highlighted by dignitaries participating in the opening ceremony, including The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair and Louis Martel, President and CEO, CSL Group.

“Our government’s top priority is keeping our supply chains moving. The St. Lawrence Seaway is critical to Canada’s economy, supporting over 92,000 jobs and moving $17 billion in trade activity each year”, said The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Canada’s Minister of Transport.

“With the end of the winter season, we look forward to once again welcoming ships from around the world back to Canadian waters” he added. “As we enter a phase of recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to keeping our economy strong and will continue investing in projects along this essential transportation corridor. To everyone working on the Seaway, we wish you a successful season” he concluded.

“As the world navigates towards a post-pandemic reality, the SLSMC is ready to do its part to help reinvigorate trade, rebuild Canadian and American industries and create a resilient and more stable supply chain”, said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the SLSMC.

In 2021, some 38 million tonnes of cargo transited the St. Lawrence Seaway. The SLSMC and the U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS) are optimistic that the economy will continue to improve.

“Our performance continues to highlight the resiliency of the Great Lakes Seaway maritime supply chain,” said GLS Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook. “We look forward to building on last year’s accomplishments.”

Strong Environmental Choice

The SLSMC contributes to “green transportation” by fostering an increased use of vessels versus other less environmentally-efficient modes of transport. “We are also actively working to help further drive sustainability through such activities as producing hydroelectric power and modernizing Seaway equipment”, said Terence Bowles. “As a result of these efforts, the SLSMC has reduced its Green House Gas Emission levels, well ahead of the targets set by the Federal Government for the year 2030. We will continue to support investments and collaborate with the maritime industry to help further reduce Green House Gas emissions”, he added.

Innovation moving forward

A more efficient, sustainable, and resilient maritime industry will emerge as stakeholders, within the maritime industry and from other sectors, work together to further:

• Connect marine infrastructures, cargo shippers, and vessels, making maritime shipping even more integrated in the global supply chain.

• Increase throughput and shipping of goods via waterways by promoting green marine shipping corridors.

• Engage with communities and local governments, including with regard to adapting to water levels and flows affected by climate change, along with supporting industrial development and job-creation along our waterway.

Symbolic mural on CSL Welland

Canada Steamship Lines marked the official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season at Lock 3 of the Welland Canal, by unveiling “The Runners”, a spectacular work of art painted on CSL Welland. Inspired by Greek artistic traditions depicting sport, the colossal 16-by-14-meter mural painted on the ship’s accommodation block depicts four runners in motion, striving together towards a common goal.


CSL commissioned the mural, created by renowned Canadian artists Bryan Beyung, Emmanuel Jarus, Andrea Wan and K.C. Hall, to celebrate the spirit of the 2022 Canada Summer Games taking place throughout the Niagara Region from August 6th to the 21st. (photos SLSMC)

Group photo, left to right:

Mr. Craig Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator, U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Terence F. Bowles, President and CEO, The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation Captain Peter Lynch, CSL Group Mr. Louis Martel, President and CEO of CSL Group. Walter Sendzik, Mayor of the City of St-Catharines Mr. Jim Bradley – Chair, Niagara Region Mr. Doug Hamilton, Chair of the 2022 Canada Summer Games