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St. Lawrence Seaway opens for 2014 shipping season

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ST. CATHARINES, Ontario - The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation marked the opening of the Seaway’s 56th navigation season Friday, with the transit of Algoma Central Corporation’s newly built ship, the Algoma Equinox, through Lock 3 of the Welland Canal.

The vessel is the first of eight Equinox-class ships that are being purpose-built for trade in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“Algoma Central Corporation’s fleet renewal is a leading example of the unprecedented level of investment that is happening throughout our navigation system,” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the SLSMC.

In concert with various domestic and ocean carriers investing $1 billion in new vessels, the SLSMC is investing $395 million between 2014 and 2018 to revitalize its locks and structures. Likewise, the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation is mounting a $92 million effort.

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Administrator Betty Sutton said, “The significant investments in Seaway infrastructure are positioning the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System for future growth. Our asset renewal program will do more than just rebuild the lock infrastructure; the introduction of new technologies will make the waterway even safer, more efficient, and more reliable. These investments signal a long term public commitment to shipping on the Great Lakes / Seaway System.”

In terms of the outlook for cargo volume on the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2014, tonnage within the St. Lawrence Seaway is forecast to exceed a total of 38 million this year.

For decades, the seaway held an opening ceremony at Eisenhower Lock to mark the passage of the first ship through the American locks each shipping season. That practice has been discontinued in recent years.

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