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July 2011

Information

In May 2003 Transport Canada and the US Department of Transportation combined forces to conduct a 42 month study on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The goals of the study were to assess the economic, environmental and engineering factors associated with the needs of the Seaway, to identify trends effecting the marine transportation industries operating on the Seaway, and to evaluate the overall condition and resilience of the Seaway Infrastructure.

The multitude of locks in the Seaway system are quite old. The seven locks in the Montreal/Lake Ontario section were completed in 1959. The Welland Canal locks were built in 1932 and the Soo locks, the Poe and MacArthur, began operation in 1968 for the former and 1943 for the latter. Obviously considering the amount of use they have endured and the salty makeup of the water, time has taken it’s toll on the structures. The St. Lawrence Seaway is constantly maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Seaway Management Corporation and the Seaway Development Corporation, but the specific, exacting long-term infrastructure needs were unknown.

It is also crucial to note that there are 3 significants of this study :

1. The first one is due the critical role that the Marine Transportation has on the overall gap between the demand of the transportation and the capacity of the infrastructure allocated for the transportation.
A study on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway may help the Marine Transportation to accurately identify what is needed to improve the infrastructure needs to meet with the issue on the transportation demand.

2. The infrastructure provided in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system is now too old to function properly.
The government realized that it is now a right time to change and improvise the old navigation system of the place to a new one. This may help improving the efficiency of the navigation system used at the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway.
As reported in the official blog of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway study, the seven locks used in the system were completed in 1959 – they are extremely old and need to be replaced with a new ones as soon as possible.

3. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system has an economic importance to both the U.S and Canada.
It is now vital to protect and improve the system which has a high value in the financial aspect for both countries.
The initial stage of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study was conducted by Seven Canadian and U.S departments and agencies to investigate the actual infrastructure needs of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, especially to the engineering, financial or economic as well as the implications on the environment.

Findings of the Study

The final results from the study was released by the Governments of the two countries that share the same economic benefit from the location – the United States and Canada on November 26, 2007.
The study managed to identify 4 main results that need to be taken into account by both the U.S and Canada governments in improving the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway for future beneficial. The 4 major findings are :

1. It is anticipated based on the observation that the system used by Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway has a great potential to ease traffic blocked on the road, at border crossings as well as rail transportation networks within the Great Lakes Basin and St. Lawrence River region.

2. It is identified that in order for the GLSLS system to be highly integrated with the road as well as transportation systems, the U.S and Canada governments should consider giving a stronger focus on the shortsea shipping. This will at the same time offering shippers with a reliable and efficient ways to deliver their products.

3. The research team have also successfully identified that in order to ensure a continuous reliability and efficiency of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway
system, there is an urgent call for both governments to maintain a good operating condition on the current GLSLS system infrastructure.

4. The governments of both countries are also recommended by the team of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study to reduce any negative ecological impacts, especially the one caused by the commercial navigation as much as possible. This should be done in order to ensure the long-term health and success of the GLSLS system.
One of the things that need to be minimized by both governments is through the reduction in the usage of new fuels and maximized the use of any environmental-friendly tools.