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The Port of Oswego, waiting for opening next week. Photo: Gino Geruntino, WRVO
The Port of Oswego, waiting for opening next week. Photo: Gino Geruntino, WRVO

St. Lawrence River ice slows ships, delays Port of Oswego opening

Ice floes slowing ships in the St. Lawrence River are delaying the opening of the shipping season at the Port of Oswego till next week.

Executive director Zelko Kirincich says the shipping season was scheduled to begin last Friday. But ships waited in line earlier this week as thick ice forced the Canadian Coast Guard to send out ice breakers to reopen shipping lanes.

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"We didn't anticipate it being this bad," he said. "All the projections by all the experts that we talked to, the ice was supposed to - supposed to - melt a lot quicker. And it didn't."

Now, Kirincich says, more ships will be coming in a shorter amount of time. He says they are bringing in extra equipment to help dockworkers unload and turn the ships around quickly.

"Our performance is going to be critical on these ships," he says. "Something that we're practicing right now is to make sure that we unload these ships and these barges quickly, so they can go back and recycle. The quicker we unload, the quicker they can go back. So every hour is going to count."

Kirincich says that so far companies that rely on the port for shipments of their inventory have not hurt by the delays.

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