OTTAWA, March 18, 2014 /CNW/ - With the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence
Seaway facing the thickest and broadest ice cover in years, the Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA) is extremely concerned that Canada's ice-breakers will not be
able to create and maintain the routes needed to move key cargo to
Canadian and American industries. The Canadian Coast Guard is doing
its utmost to work with resources across a large geographical area
subject to heavy ice, but this situation is rippling into Canada's
transportation and economic system.
Concerns over ice conditions and the ability of the Canadian Coast Guard
to provide sufficient ice-breaking has delayed the opening of the St.
Lawrence Seaway past opening dates achieved in recent years. Despite
Canadian government efforts to encourage the movement of Canadian
grain, it will remain stored in ports such as Thunder Bay until ice
breakers open ports and support ship movements. Not only are Canadian
grain movements threatened by insufficient ice-breaking, so too are
other industries with already low stocks of commodities such as iron
ore, construction materials, salt and petroleum products which are
moved by ships.
CSA and its members have advised the Canadian Coast Guard of the need to
employ three ice-breakers to support the opening of the Great Lakes-
Seaway system. Disappointingly, the Canadian Coast Guard's effort to
commit the necessary resources appears to be late as it manages
challenging winter conditions in many regions.
The Canadian Coast Guard's fleet of ice-breaking ships is aging and too
few in numbers to support the economic and environmental benefits of
short-sea-shipping in Canada. The CSA calls on the Canadian Coast Guard
to fulfill its support to maritime commerce immediately by deploying
three additional ice-breaking assets to support shipping throughout the
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway system while also meeting obligations
to support navigation in the St. Lawrence River and Maritimes.
Furthermore, CSA encourages the Government of Canada to find a
longer-term solution to augment assets.
SOURCE: Canadian Shipowners Association
For further information:
Robert Lewis-Manning, President, Canadian Shipowners Association, 613-232-3539