Freight News, Sea

Seaway Wraps Up Positive 2015 with OECD Innovation Award

[ January 16, 2016   //   ]

With water temperatures well above the 10-year average, the St. Lawrence Seaway closed its 2015 navigation season ice free on December 31st. Thirty-six million tonnes of cargo transited the waterway during the season, with grain, at volumes well above the five-year average, leading the way. The Seaway once again proved to be a key asset for farmers as they shipped their crops to markets at home and overseas.

Grain volumes on the Seaway amounted to 10.8 million tonnes, one of the strongest years in recent memory. The Port of Thunder Bay, the principal point of entry for grain into the Great Lakes / Seaway System, reported its second-best season in 15 years. Combined with grain being loaded onto ships from other ports such as Hamilton, Duluth / Superior and Toledo, agricultural commodities have become increasingly important to the Great Lakes / Seaway System.

In May, the SLSMC received the Promising Innovation in Transport Award by the International Transport Forum at the OECD, during the 2015 Summit of Transport Ministers held in Leipzig, Germany. The award recognized the SLSMC’s pioneering work in developing, with the supplier Cavotec, the world’s first Hands-Free Mooring (HFM) system for ships transiting locks. The use of this equipment will largely replace the traditional practice of manually securing ships in locks with steel mooring lines, enabling the Seaway to orchestrate gains in operating efficiency and safety, and become yet more competitive.

The 2015 season opened on April 2nd, about a week later than usual, reflecting the frigid conditions in early spring, and closed on December 31st with the passage of the vessel Mississagi through Welland Canal Lock 1 at 3:41 AM. The last vessel to exit the Montreal / Lake Ontario section was the Baie St. Paul, which exited the St. Lambert Lock at 8:41 PM on December