Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the St. Lawrence Seaway in Massena, New York

September 24, 2019.  Allister Paterson, Chair of the Chamber of Marine Commerce and Chief Commercial Officer of CSL Group, today spoke at a St. Lawrence Seaway 60th anniversary celebration hosted by the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and featuring guest of honor United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.  Here are Mr. Paterson’s remarks.

Thank you & Recognition of Distinguished Guests…

  • The company I work for — Canada Steamship Lines — owned the Simcoe. The first commercial vessel to transit St-Lambert Lock on April 25, 1959.
  • So, it is an incredible privilege to be here all these years later — to celebrate 60 years of Partnership and Prosperity with the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • We are incredibly fortunate to have this 2300-mile long marine highway that cuts right through the interior of our countries – connecting hundreds of cities to each other and to markets around the world.
  • Having the ability to move goods and people on inland rivers is the gold standard in places like Europe to relieve land congestion and reduce carbon emissions.  Being able to connect interior cities to the ocean is the envy of land-locked countries.
  • Our two maritime nations have a built-in advantage — one that we should be using even more to deliver economic and environmental progress.
  • As Chair of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, I can certainly attest to the value of the St. Lawrence Seaway to our 130 member organizations.
  • Many of our members are the customers that depend on marine transport. The ArcelorMittals, Cargills and LafargeHolcims.
  • They count on the safe, reliable and sustainable transport of their goods through the bi-national Seaway to be successful. And, ultimately, to be able to employ thousands of people in the United States.
  • Canadian shipowners also have a long-standing history with the bi-national St. Lawrence Seaway.  As I mentioned, we were here right from day one.
  • The private sector believes that this trade and transportation corridor has a strong future ahead and we are putting our money where our mouth is.
  • In the past 10 years, Canadian shipowners have invested more than $2 billion to build and refurbish more than 40 vessels in the domestic fleet. A further $2 billion is being spent by international and U.S. shipowners on their fleets.
  • Much of this investment has been focused on fleet renewal — creating world-class, environmentally protective and technologically advanced fleets for the region.
  • My own company has built six new vessels – but we are also modernizing our entire fleet with new technologies.  We are digitizing our fleets with smart technology, and just this month tested 50% biofuel on one of our ships.
  • We are future proofing our business, just like the ports and logistics companies operating throughout the region.
  • Innovation from all players is essential for this trade and transportation route to remain successful and relevant on a very competitive world stage.
  • That is why we welcome the investment by the Canadian and U.S. governments over the last decade to modernize the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway — critical national infrastructure for both nations. We urge this support to continue.
  • And that is why we are so pleased to be partners with the U.S. and Canadian Seaway management corporations — who continue to be technology pioneers and to work with us day-after-day to find new ways to make a ship’s journey safer, faster and smarter through the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • This partnership model — both between nations and between the private and public sectors — is incredibly rare in this world of ours.  It actually really works!
  • So, let’s keep going. We look forward to all of us building upon this bi-national success story for the next 60 years!