Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Shipping Called Vital to Infrastructure

In a speech in Toronto, Canada, new Chamber of Marine Commerce President Bruce Burrows called the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway a vital engine of sustainable growth that would benefit from increased infrastructure spending in Canada and the U.S.

“I believe this sector has enormous untapped potential that can be unleashed to create more marine traffic at lower cost. I’m convinced that inland and coastal shipping in Canada and the U.S. has tremendous capacity to grow. And current economic and political conditions are conducive to seeing this goal realized,” said Burrows at the Chamber’s annual luncheon. “Shipping is efficient, safe and sustainable. Shipping is vital to growth, trade and new jobs.”

Burrows, who took up his new post in December, pointed to promises from incoming President Donald Trump, and the plans by the government of Prime Minister Trudeau, to invest heavily in infrastructure spending.

“New infrastructure investment will generate increased volumes of materials being shipped on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and our coasts. Investments in icebreaking resources, waterways, locks and portside infrastructure, and more efficient delivery of marine navigational services would unleash the full sustainable potential of shipping.”

Burrows noted that all signs indicate reduced red tape and business fees under President Trump and that he hoped the U.S. administration would work closely with the Canadian government to address the “hodgepodge of regulations that currently govern the bi-national waters that we work within.”

He also emphasized that marine shipping’s green advantage bodes well in today’s environmentally- and climate-conscious world. “With our fuel-efficient ships, we have a lower carbon footprint than road or rail. And we enjoy low congestion relative to other major trade corridors. Marine shipping is an attractive alternative for governments committed to a sustainable transportation future, with the capacity to do even more to accelerate both economic and environmental progress.”

CMC Chair Wayne Smith also addressed the audience, noting that the Chamber’s recently completed merger with the Canadian Shipowners Association was perfectly timed.

Smith explained: “In the current climate of increasing transportation regulation and cost, it is clear that we need to better coordinate and strengthen our industry advocacy efforts and to build new partnerships while strengthening existing relationships among North American business, government and marine industry stakeholders.”

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