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(Cornwall, May 25, 2006) – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) reported today that estimated traffic volume as of the end of April was up by 30% on a year over year basis.  These strong gains testify to the economic viability of marine transportation, and the key role that the Seaway plays within the Canadian and U.S. economies.

Increases were recorded in steel, grain, iron ore and coal.  Vibrant activity in the steel sector accounted for much of the gain, as demand for iron ore and coal to fuel domestic steel production was complemented by substantial imports of steel products from overseas.  Grain movements also registered healthy gains, facilitated by the availability of vessels that had just completed upbound transits laden with cargoes destined for steel mills.

“We are definitely firing on all cylinders” exuded Aldert van Nieuwkoop, the SLSMC’s Director of Market Development.  “While we cannot take credit for the healthy state of the economy which is driving demand for our services, we are very pleased to note the readiness of our system, and our ability to accommodate this surge in cargo without any delays or bottlenecks.”

While the excellent start to the season provides reason to be optimistic that the year ahead will bear good results, the Seaway’s Hwy H2O campaign also provides grounds for optimism.  Returning from a recent trade mission to China, Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the SLSMC, observed that Chinese firms are looking for alternate routings into North America as they live with the impact of increasing congestion on their current ones.  “Our Chinese contacts are well versed in commerce, and shipments routed via the Suez Canal to Halifax are becoming a reality. It’s not a stretch to suggest that feeder vessels are being contemplated to bring cargoes further inland on the Seaway from various transhipment points, such as Halifax, Québec City, and Montreal.”

Today, the Seaway serves a vital role within the North American economy, serving as a conduit for over 43 million tonnes of cargo per year. It also provides significant environmental and social benefits as large volumes of bulk and general cargo are moved as close as possible to their final destination by water, reducing congestion and pollution along the way.  Over 250 million tonnes of cargo traverses Hwy H2O (the combined St. Lawrence Seaway / Great Lakes System) every year.  The Hwy H2O campaign represents the efforts of stakeholders to highlight the economic and environmental advantages of marine transportation on the Seaway / Great Lakes.  For more information, please consult or