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News stories tagged with "seaway"

Administrator Collister Johnson (Source:  SLSDC)
Administrator Collister Johnson (Source: SLSDC)

Top Seaway administrator says ship traffic up, improvements coming

The St. Lawrence Seaway is one of the biggest shipping channels in the world, stretching from the Atlantic to Lake Ontario. In recent years, the system of locks and channels has struggled to build traffic and attract companies interested in shipping cargos through to the Great Lakes.

This year, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, which operates the US side of the channel,is requesting $34 million dollars in appropriations from Congress. The money will go to operate the locks in Massena, and it will be used to fund upgrades to the system.

Brian Mann spoke with Collister Johnson, who heads the Development Corporation. He says traffic on the Seaway is rebounding.  Go to full article
The fact is the Seaway is closed three months a year. Even then, it has to compete against rail rates.

Industry analyst skeptical of Seaway container growth

We heard St. Lawrence Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson talk about bringing "containers" into the Seaway. Those are the norm of international commerce - all-purpose boxes that fit on ships, trucks, and trains. They can carry anything from paper clips to teddy bears to computers.

Seaway officials have trumpeted container traffic as a huge growth opportunity for the better part of a decade. Yet the infrastructure's still not in place. Few, if any, Great Lakes ports have the cranes to off-load containers.

Todd Moe reports at least one industry analyst is skeptical.  Go to full article
Too close for comfort?  A family watches as a ship passes through the Massena locks (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Too close for comfort? A family watches as a ship passes through the Massena locks (Photo: Brian Mann)

Is the St. Lawrence Seaway safe for nuclear shipments?

The Canadian company that wants to ship radioactive waste through the St. Lawrence Seaway has put the project on hold while it schedules talks with Mohawk and other native groups in Canada.

The project, first proposed by Bruce Power last year, has sparked controversy on both sides of the border. The project has also sparked new questions about other kinds of hazardous cargos that are passing through the locks and channels of the St. Lawrence River. Brian Mann has our story.  Go to full article
Exploring the big water of the seaway
Exploring the big water of the seaway

On the Seaway's margins, a natural world

This week, our Adirondack reporter Brian Mann has been exploring the St. Lawrence Seaway. Construction of the massive system of locks and channels in the 1950s changed the river profoundly. As part of his trip, Brian set off in his kayak around Wellesley Island, to see if he could catch a glimpse of what the St. Lawrence might have looked like before all that. He sent back an audio postcard.  Go to full article
U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson (left) poses with other industry leaders as the first freighter of the season enters the St. Lambert lock.
U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson (left) poses with other industry leaders as the first freighter of the season enters the St. Lambert lock.

Seaway burnishes "green" profile

Last week, the first freighter of the year rumbled up the St. Lawrence River. That marked the 53rd season of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a man-made channel linking the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

The Seaway's billion dollars of commerce is mostly an economic conversation between Canada's southern coast, America's Midwest, and the far-flung ports of the world.

But it's caused vast environmental damage in the North Country and across the Great Lakes, largely via invasive species.

David Sommerstein went to the Seaway's opening ceremony last week in Montreal. He sends this report on the Seaway's delicate balance between the economy and the environment.  Go to full article
The Avonberg carries wind turbine blades through St. Lambert lock in Montreal
The Avonberg carries wind turbine blades through St. Lambert lock in Montreal

Seaway projects cargo increase

St. Lawrence Seaway officials are forecasting a cargo increase over last year. The first freighter of the 2011 shipping season rumbled through the locks in Montreal on Tuesday. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
The <em>Hermann Schoening</em> [Photo from Erie Shipping News blog]
The Hermann Schoening [Photo from Erie Shipping News blog]

Aboard a cold Seaway ship with a sick crew

Twenty-two Chinese seamen are resting up in Montreal after a harrowing Christmas journey through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The crew aboard the German-owned Hermann Schoening became violently ill after phosphine gas leaked into the living and working spaces. The gas is used regularly as a fumigant to kill pests in the cargo hold. The freighter is carrying 19,000 tons of midwestern corn bound for Algeria.

The crew was treated at a hospital in Ontario. But the ship then continued on with windows open to air out the gas.

Don Metzger piloted the freighter from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River to Massena. He's been a Seaway pilot for more than 30 years. He told David Sommerstein he's never seen anything like this happen before. Metzger says the crew was sick and cold, and unprepared for winter weather.
Carolyn Osbourne of the Mariners House of Montreal says the crew spent yesterday recovering after being sickened by phosphine gas. She says they received a second hospital checkup, as well as warm coats, gloves, and Christmas gifts while in port. The ship was scheduled to resume its travels this morning.

An official with Transport Canada says the incident is under investigation. The shipowners could be fined if violations of the Canada Shipping Act are found. But the gas leak is so far being considered an anomaly.  Go to full article
Photo by Janet Sullins/Save the River.
Photo by Janet Sullins/Save the River.

Save The River prods Seaway for transparency

Save the River, based in the Thousand Islands, wants the St. Lawrence Seaway to make public how it decides when to open the waterway every spring. The environmental group has filed a legal petition with the federal government. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Great Lakes states push for federal action against Asian carp

The invasive Asian carp and its potentially devastating impact on the Great Lakes were the focus of a Congressional hearing in Washington yesterday.

The agressive fish has already infested the Mississippi River basin, and traces of its genetic material have been found in Lake Michigan for the first time.

Illinois temporarily closed navigational locks near Chicago to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. Representatives of the states surrounding the lakes are pressing the federal government to do more, faster. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Jeff Alexander: invasive species "a slow-motion wildfire"

Invasive species - from zebra mussels and round gobies to the bloody red shrimp discovered three years ago - are one of the top threats to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. They've done billions of dollars in damage to the region's economy and environment. Most entered the Great Lakes through the ballast water of foreign ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Jeff Alexander has reported on invasive species for 25 years. He's also written a book about how most of those critters got here - hidden in the ballast of foreign ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The book is called Pandora's Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Alexander is the keynote speaker at the Save the River Winter Weekend, Saturday, February 6 at the Clayton Opera House. Alexander told David Sommerstein he first training his reporting in invasive species in 1989, when zebra mussels shut down the municipal water system in Munroe, Michigan.  Go to full article

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