The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced the opening of the Seaway’s 55th navigation season with the transit of Canada Steamship Lines’ newly built Baie St. Paul through the St. Lambert Lock.

“Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) ranks prominently among a number of Canadian shipowners that are committing hundreds of millions of dollars to build new vessels, testifying to the confidence these firms have in the future of the Great Lakes-Seaway System,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of SLSMC. In terms of the outlook for cargo volume on the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2013, SLSMC’s Bowles noted that he continues to be upbeat. “Seaway tonnage is forecast to exceed a total of 40 million tonnes for the year,” said Bowles.

“The Baie St. Paul is the first of CSL’s Trillium Class of vessels, which sets new standards in operational and energy efficiency, reliability and environmental protection,” said CSL’s President Louis Martel. “The Baie St. Paul is 15% more fuel efficient than CSL’s previous class of ships – vessels that were already among the most efficient in the Lakes – and will save approximately 750 tonnes of fuel per year, amounting to a yearly carbon emission reduction of 2,400 tonnes.”

Craig Middlebrook, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, stated: “The resurgence of manufacturing in North America is fueling demand for both traditional and new Seaway cargoes, having positive implications for Great Lakes shipping. Just as the private sector is investing in new vessels and new engines, public sector investments in lock rehabilitation, port infrastructure, and new navigation technologies are laying the foundation for sustained future growth.”

In addition to Terence F. Bowles, Louis Martel and Craig Middlebrook, speaker Jean Boily, General Manager of Cargill’s Terminal in Baie Comeau spoke of the importance of the Seaway to his company, and how construction of the Seaway enabled the construction of Cargill’s terminal in Baie Comeau, which presently is the largest grain export terminal in North America.