The Great Lakes region has long been a center of commercial marine activity in the U.S. Recently, the marine industry and the Great Lakes have taken its relationship to another level. 

Betty Sutton, administrator, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (SLSDC), has been traveling extensively throughout in the region since her appointment in 2013. “I come away with the sense that there is a new energy in the region, a new period of revitalization underway, and a renewed focus — a ‘second look’ at the maritime world of transportation,” she said in the SLSDC’s fall newsletter. 

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that cargo shipments of more than 24 million metric tons moved through the system from March 28 through Sept. 30 — an increase of nearly 5% over the same period in 2013. U.S. grain cargo movements remained strong, posting a 14.6% increase over the same period last year.

In other Great Lakes region news, the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. (SLSMC) and Unifor, the labor organization which represents the Canadian SLSMC’s 460 unionized workers, reached an agreement to refer some important issues to binding arbitration. The agreement suspends the right to strike or lockout, meaning that shippers don’t have to worry about a work stoppage until at least March 2018. — K. Hocke