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News stories tagged with "shipping"

Brian Wood at the helm. Photo: David Sommerstein
Brian Wood at the helm. Photo: David Sommerstein

A peek inside Seaway master control

Several hundred giant freighters slip through the St. Lawrence Seaway every year. They're guided by vessel traffic controllers from a squat building on top of the Eisenhower Lock in Massena.

The master control room looks straight out of Star Trek. Half a dozen big flat screens show computerized displays of real-time traffic along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.  Go to full article
Secretary Ray LaHood listens to lock leader Steve McCargar, Potsdam. Photo: David Sommerstein
Secretary Ray LaHood listens to lock leader Steve McCargar, Potsdam. Photo: David Sommerstein

Transportation chief says goodbye to Seaway

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's farewell tour swung through Massena yesterday. One of the few Republicans in President Obama's cabinet, LaHood announced he was stepping down last January.

Obama's nominee to replace LaHood, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, breezed through a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

LaHood has overseen the St. Lawrence Seaway for four years. As David Sommerstein reports, he said the Seaway will always occupy "a niche" in the nation's infrastructure.  Go to full article
A Seaway freighter passes under the bridge near Massena in December 2012.  Photo: David Sommerstein.
A Seaway freighter passes under the bridge near Massena in December 2012. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Seaway digs out from recession

The St. Lawrence Seaway, and its commerce between Great Lakes ports and countries around the world, got hammered by the recession.

Craig Middlebrooks, acting administrator for the U.S. side of the binational waterway, says the steep drop was between 2008 and 2009. "It was almost a 25 percent drop. And I think '09 tonnage was among the lowest for decades."

Middlebrooks says the Seaway's been creeping back to pre-recession levels since then. Last year helped. Tonnage rose almost four percent, driven by coal and iron ore exports to China and Europe and U.S. steel imports. Industrial wind components also continue to be strong.  Go to full article
A ship passes through the Massena locks. Photo: Brian Mann
A ship passes through the Massena locks. Photo: Brian Mann

2012 Seaway shipping up four percent

St. Lawrence Seaway officials have tallied the 2012 shipping numbers, and say they exceeded expectations for the year.

In a news release, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation says the total tonnage of freight shipped through the waterway increased by four percent. That's 300,000 tons higher than expected last year.  Go to full article
Photo: Greatlakes-Seaway.com
Photo: Greatlakes-Seaway.com

Seaway opens for its 54th season

An unofficial start to the spring and summer season Thursday, as the St. Lawrence Seaway officially opened with three separate ceremonies. It's the 54th season for the seaway.

The Thousand Islands saw its first ship of the season before the opening--on Wednesday. The Missisagi winters in Hamilton, Ontario, so it didn't need to go through any locks to get to Prescott.  Go to full article
Cargo ship discharging ballast water. Photo: USCG
Cargo ship discharging ballast water. Photo: USCG

NY scraps tough ballast water regs, prompting praise and rebuke

On Friday, we reported that New York state is pushing Federal officials to toughen proposed new standards for ballast water pollution on freighters using the St. Lawrence Seaway.

In that report, we mistakenly reported that the Cuomo administration is still planning to implement its own set of ballast water regulations, scheduled to go into effect next year.

But officials in Albany say they've decided to scrap the state rules, a move that's drawing mixed reviews from industry groups and environmentalists. Brian Mann has our update.  Go to full article
Using a refractometer to test salinity in ballast water. Photo: David Sommerstein
Using a refractometer to test salinity in ballast water. Photo: David Sommerstein

NY pushes Obama administration to toughen ballast water protections

A state vs. federal feud over ballast water carried by ocean-going freighters is heating up again.

New York is steward of a long stretch of the St. Lawrence River. Since the St. Lawrence Seaway was opened to international shipping in the 50s, it's been a major route for invasive species that have ended up in the Great Lakes and their tributaries.

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation has tough ballast water standards set to go into effect next year. The DEC -- and many environmentalists -- think the strict new rules are needed to keep more invasive plants and animals from reaching the US.

Officials with the federal Environmental Protection Agency -- along with the shipping industry -- think less stringent laws will keep invasives out - and they say their standards are achievable.

Brian Mann spoke about the debate with Martha Foley.  Go to full article
Should the shipping industry do more to stop invasives?  (Source:  USGS)
Should the shipping industry do more to stop invasives? (Source: USGS)

Top EPA official embraces NY's controversial ballast water rules

For the first time, a top official with the US Environmental Protection Agency has publicly embraced New York's tough new ballast water rules. Those regulations, scheduled to go into effect next year, are designed to stop invasions of non-native animals and plants, like zebra mussels and the spiny water flea.

Industry groups, members of congress and some Federal officials are pushing back hard, arguing that the regulations set standards that can't be met by existing technology. The want New York's rules scrapped. And they're lobbying the EPA to create national ballast water guidelines that are far less strict.

But as Brian Mann reports, the top EPA administrator in New York says new regulations should push the shipping industry to do more to help stop invasives.  Go to full article
Will NY's tough ballast water rules shut down commerce? Photo: USGS
Will NY's tough ballast water rules shut down commerce? Photo: USGS

New York's tough ballast water rules attacked in Congress

New York state is facing new pressure to scrap tough ballast water regulations that are set to go into effect next year. The rules are designed to stop invasive species from reaching the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.

But as Brian Mann reports, Republicans in Congress say New York should be stripped of hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal EPA funding if the regulations aren't scrapped.  Go to full article
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

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