Saint Lawrence Seaway Opens 60th Navigation Season
Officials touted a modernization program that includes hands-free mooring, which will make the seaway more efficient and safer, and automated ship tracking.
The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation held a ceremony recently to mark the opening of the seaway's 60th navigation season. Officials touted a modernization program that includes hands-free mooring, which will make the seaway more efficient and safer, and automated ship tracking.
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a deep draft waterway extending some 2,340 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of the Great Lakes.
"The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a key maritime corridor," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said. "We look forward to another successful year of moving commerce through this dependable and safe maritime transportation system."
"As the 60th Seaway navigation season gets underway, we are proud to underscore the exceptional safety and reliability record of the binational waterway," said SLSDC Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook. "State-of-the-art technology is transforming seaway operations and allowing for gains in competitiveness. Cargo tonnage shipped through the seaway was up 8 percent last year; we are optimistic that 2018 will be another strong year for Great Lakes-Seaway shipping."
Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation is a wholly owned government corporation created by statute in 1954 to construct, operate, and maintain the part of the St. Lawrence Seaway between the Port of Montreal and Lake Erie, within the territorial limits of the United States. SLSDC headquarters staff offices are located in Washington, D.C., with operations located at the two U.S. Seaway locks (Eisenhower and Snell) in Massena, N.Y.
Terence Bowles, president and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), said 2018 marks both the 60th navigation season for the waterway and the 20th anniversary of SLSMC, which was created in 1998 as a not-for-profit corporation. "We are very pleased to celebrate 20 years of progress," said Bowles. "Since 1998, the SLSMC has worked collectively with its partners to reinforce the seaway's competitiveness as a vital transportation artery. From being the first inland waterway in North America to implement AIS in 2003, which enables the precise monitoring of ship locations by satellite, to the recent completion of our hands-free mooring system, which was recognized by the OECD as a great example of innovation, the SLSMC has been at the forefront of progress within the marine industry. Our modernization program, including hands-free mooring, brings about the greatest advancements in seaway operations since its inception 60 years ago."
AIS is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services. Hands-free mooring is a hands-free solution at locks that eliminates the time-consuming and hazardous traditional method of transit. Vessels going through the seaway's locks no longer will need to be equipped with special securement fittings, meaning 10 times as many vessels can travel the seaway with significantly reduced transit times and less demand for manual labor at locks.