Seaway opens for 2020 season

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation CEO Terence Bowles. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SAINT-LAMBERT, Que. – The St. Lawrence Seaway has opened for the 2020 season.

The Canada Steamship Lines freighter, Baie St. Paul, went through the St. Lambert Lock at Montreal this morning (April 1).

Seaway CEO Terrence Bowles says we are living in “exceptional times” with COVID-19 pandemic but, as part of the supply chain, they will “strive to do our part during this difficult period.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is working with various federal agencies including the Public Health Agency of Canada to make sure safety measures are in place surrounding the coronavirus.

After years of a surge in shipments, the seaway is coming off a difficult 2019, dealing with high water levels in the Great Lakes region.

It moved 38.3 million metric tons of cargo in 2019 – a roughly 6 per cent drop compared to the previous year. The biggest loses were seen in transportation of steel slabs and general cargo.

The number of ships was also down to 4,136 transits – 253 fewer than the previous year.

Revenue was also down about five per cent last year compared to 2018.