Canadian shipping industry welcomes government plan to build new icebreakers

August 2, 2019 – The Canadian shipping industry welcomes today’s federal government announcement to launch a competitive process to build six new icebreakers to operate in the St. Lawrence, Atlantic Canada and the Arctic.

“These new icebreakers will help ensure the long-term success of Canadian industries and communities who rely on marine shipping all year round to deliver goods to markets at home and around the world,” says Bruce Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, which represents ship operators, ports and marine transportation customers that operate in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence, east coast and Arctic.

“Canadian Coast Guard icebreaking services are essential to ensuring that the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence navigation system remains a reliable trade gateway.  We will continue to work with the government to ensure that adequate icebreaking assets are also available in the Great Lakes, as well as for the St. Lawrence River and the East and Arctic coasts.”

Overall, ships transport more than 230 million metric tons of goods worth over $100 billion on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River waterway, generating more than $60 billion in economic activity and supporting 329,000 jobs in Canada and the U.S.

That economic contribution is only set to increase as ports and their customers invest in increasing the capacity of the waterway.

“Shipbuilding is a long process,” says Burrows. “We are pleased that the government is committing to building new icebreakers now to be prepared for the realities of climate change, and cargo growth that is already happening.”

Several of the Chamber’s members also operate in the Arctic, where marine shipping is often the only way to supply communities and economic development projects with supplies.

Canada’s Arctic is home to more than 100,000 Canadians. Most Canadians living along the Arctic depend on marine shipping (the Sealift) to deliver every day necessities to their communities, from food and fuel to vehicles and construction material. Major purchases such as lumber to renovate one’s house, a new vehicle for the family, or an ATM banking machine for a village, all depend on when the Sealift can deliver them. Arctic resource projects also depend on marine shipping to deliver equipment, fuel and supplies as well as to carry their product to market.

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system’s significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.


Media Contact

Julia Fields
Chamber of Marine Commerce