Seaway opens 53rd navigation season projecting 7 percent increase for 2011

[March 22, 2011]

ST. LAMBERT, Québec – The St. Lawrence Seaway opened its 53rd international shipping season today as the M/V Avonborg moved through the St. Lambert Lock in Québec, Canada. The BBC-chartered vessel is en route to the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, carrying 75 wind turbine blades from Denmark. Each blade is 49 meters long (161 feet) – the longest blades in existence in North America. The shipment, expected to arrive at the port on March 28, is being delivered to Payne, Ohio, for Horizon Wind Energy’s Timber Road Project.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) predicts that cargo shipments will rise by about seven percent to 39.1 million tons for 2011.

“Transportation of raw materials serves as a bellwether for the economy as a whole, and despite volatile global economic conditions, we have reason to be cautiously optimistic regarding our various market segments” SLSMC President and CEO Terence Bowles said. “Projections for the 2011 season foresee continued strength in the traditional staple cargoes of grain and iron ore. Shipments of road salt are projected to increase to replenish inventories depleted over a challenging winter season. Project cargo is pegged to rise due in part to continued activity in the oil sands.”

According to Collister Johnson Jr., administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the marine mode continues to be the most energy efficient mode of transportation.

“In an era of rapidly rising fuel prices, moving more cargo via the marine mode will serve to lessen our dependence on imported petroleum and bolster our national security” Johnson said.

Since the Seaway’s inception in 1959, over 2.5 billion tons valued in excess of $375 billion has been transported via the Seaway’s locks and channels. For more information concerning the Seaway, please visit www.greatlakes-seaway.com.

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