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U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson hopes containers (below) will revive the waterway's fortunes.
U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson hopes containers (below) will revive the waterway's fortunes.

Seaway chief hopes for traffic turnaround

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On the St. Lawrence Seaway's website, there's a picture of a freighter docked next to mountains of "containers" - those boxes that fit on trucks and trains and carry virtually every good you can think of. Containers are the currency of global trade. Yet they're passing the St. Lawrence Seaway by. Just a tenth of one percent of all cargo that travelled the St. Lawrence Seaway this year came in a container. Most of the cargo is bulk commodities, stuff like iron ore, coal, steel, and grain - the building blocks of industry that just disappear when the economy tanks. So it's no surprise 2009 was a brutal year for the Seaway, with tonnage down 30%. In fact, Seaway traffic has for the most part decreased since the late 1970s. This all gives Terry Johnson a headache. As head of the U.S. side of the shipping channel that links the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, Johnson's in charge of turning those numbers around. He told David Sommerstein if gas goes back up to 4 dollars a gallon, or if the roads become clogged with truck traffic, the Seaway will benefit. But for now, Johnson places his hopes in those containers. And he hopes they'll come from Nova Scotia.

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

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