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St. Lawrence Seaway investments to top $7B

Capital projects planned through 2018, $2.3B to come by 2018.

January 14, 2015   by CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL — The St. Lawrence Seaway, along with shippers and ports plan to invest an additional $2.3 billion on capital projects through 2018, raising spending on vessels and infrastructure for the system to $7.1 billion since 2009, according to a survey released Jan. 14.

Nearly $1.2 billion has been committed between 2014 and 2018 for ships, $459 million for ports and terminals and $668 million for waterway infrastructure.

Of the $4.8 billion spent between 2009 and 2013, two-thirds came from private companies and the rest from governments, said the survey of 454 participants conducted by Martin Associates, US-based maritime consulting firm.

Canadian port-terminal and waterway infrastructure investments along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River are expected to total $2.2 billion over the 10-year period, with $1 billion worth of projects in Ontario and $1.2 billion in Quebec.

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Terence Bowles, CEO of St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., said Canada and the US need world-class transportation systems to remain globally competitive.

“Modernizing our structures and technology allows companies to export their goods more quickly and cost effectively,” he said.

The spending comes as the seaway ended 2014 with cargo volumes reaching 40 million tonnes, the best season in six years.

A bumper grain crop increased overall tonnage seven per cent despite a late start to the seaway’s 56th shipping season because of harsh weather last winter that created some of the worst ice conditions in decades.

Meanwhile, of the overall upgrade money being spent in the 2009-2018 period, about $4.1 billion has been earmarked for the biggest renewal of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence fleets in 30 years, with about $2.3 billion of that directed at Canadian-flag vessels.

Allister Paterson, president of Montreal-based Canada Steamship Lines, said Canada’s lifting of its 25 per cent duty on imported foreign vessels in 2010 opened the door to investments by Canadian ship owners on more efficient, safer and less polluting vessels.

“This not only benefits the North American mining, agricultural, construction and manufacturing industries that we serve but also those who live in communities throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region,” Paterson said.

Also prompting capital spending was New York’s decision not to proceed with ballast water treatment systems, added the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

“These private and public investments are a tremendous show of confidence in the future of the Great Lakes Seaway, a transportation gateway facilitating $35 billion in trade and supporting 227,000 jobs in Canada and the US,” said chamber president Stephen Brooks.

© 2015 The Canadian Press


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