Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Great Lakes

The shipping news

Despite problems, a revival in shipping on the Great Lakes is expected

Feb 2nd 2013 |From the print edition

WHEN spring arrives and the frozen shores of the Great Lakes are long thawed, the St Lawrence Seaway, North America’s liquid superhighway, should witness the greatest renewal of its shipping fleet in 30 years. Craig Middlebrook, the deputy administrator of the St Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (which operates and maintains the American portion of seaway) reckons about 30 new ships are being built to ply its waters.

One of the latest to be launched was the Federal Satsuki commissioned by the Fednav Group, based in Montreal. She set sail from Cleveland in December. Part of the reason for this fleet renewal is the removal of duty on Canadian flagships built abroad in places like China and Japan. Another is that currency fluctuations have made it cheaper to acquire new vessels.

Yet as Rod Jones, the CEO of CSL Group, a shipping firm, says, “we have been waiting for a buying opportunity.” And the reason that many other companies feel the same way is that there is a widely held view that the Great Lakes region is poised for long-term economic growth. The shipping companies want to be ready for it. [More...]