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Great Lakes-Seaway News' purpose is to provide news, critical information updates, and thoughtful commentary to those who care about the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System specifically, and the maritime industry in general. It is important that Great Lakes-Seaway News also become a forum and online meeting place so that ideas can be presented, issues can be debated and relationships can be made to advance the seaway system’s interests for now and for the future.

Therefore, Great Lakes Seaway News will serve as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System's newspaper, its online bulletin board, its meeting place for innovation and discussion, and its clubhouse for the development of plans and activities which will serve those who participate in the online marketplace of ideas.

Great Lakes-Seaway News is an independent publication and as such, is not affiliated in any way with the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or any other agencies of the governments of the United States of America or Canada. 

Great Lakes-Seaway News is a publication of PRI Strategy Management, Inc.  All rights reserved.



Canada-US Ballast Water Battle Heats Up

New United States ballast water management regulations discriminate against Canadian shipowners using the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, say Canadian maritime industry activists and members of the Canadian Parliament who are reaching out to the Obama administration seeking regulatory relief.

Canadian Member of Parliament Gord Brown (C-Leeds Grenville, ON), the co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Inter-parliamentary Group, has been generating support from some of his counterparts in the U.S. Congress for changes to the restrictions recently put in place by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Eleven Members of Congress recently signed a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concerns that the new ballast water regulations "may have a negative impact on the Great Lakes economy."

The letter also says ballast water regulatoins should "treat U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes fleets fairly" and be "practical and technologically feasible."

At the heart of the issue is an exemption offered by the EPA to vessels built before 2009 which only operate west of Anticosti Island, near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. The exemption effectively exempts the US-flag fleet while applying the new rules to much of the Canadian fleet and other foreign vessels.

"The Canadian fleet is the one that is going to be most affected," says Brown.

For its part, the government of Canada is said to be considering stricter ballast water regulations that would apply to all vessels, including the US-flag fleet, as a last resort.  


Cleveland-Europe Express Celebration Recognizes Contributions of Seaway Stalwart Arnie de la Porte

Yesterday, just above the clouds that rolled in to blanket the Port of Cleveland, one could almost see the smiling visage of Arnie de la Porte looking down at the Netherlands-based Spliethoff Group's Fortunagracht; the steel shipping containers on her deck, and many of his family, friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in the rich maritime history of the Port of Cleveland and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry.

Direct, regular, container ship service between his adopted home of Cleveland and his former home in Europe was more than a dream for de la Porte--it was a passion.  For the trained mariner who served as honorary consul for the Government of the Netherlands based in Northeast Ohio, regular container ship service between Cleveland and Northern Europe was no pipe dream; just a good idea whose time had come.  

As a representative of the Dutch government and one of the founding members of the Great Lakes-Seaway Coalition, a Great Lakes-Seaway maritime industry advocacy group, de la Porte poked, prodded, confronted and cajoled his shipping industry colleagues and government officials on both sides of the Atlantic to explore the possibilities of regular container shipping between the Great Lakes and Europe.  

Among the nice touches at yesterday's celebration of the beginning of exactly the type of service that de la Porte envisioned, Mayor Frank Jackson and officials at the Port of Cleveland recognized de la Porte, who passed away suddenly last year, by announcing that Erieside Avenue, the main route that runs east to west from the port’s gate to the water’s edge, would be renamed Arnie de la Porte Way.

A replica of the street sign was handed to one of Arnie's son, Peter de la Porte, yesterday's event at the Port of Cleveland.

Accepting the honor on behalf of his father and representing the family Peter de la Porte said, “I wish my father was here. He would have been so excited.”

Great Lakes-Seaway News firmly believes Arnie de la Porte was there yesterday, and yes, he was very excited.


Cleveland-Europe Express Service Begins

The Cleveland-Europe Express is the only direct, regularly-scheduled vessel service that will move containerized and non-containerized cargo between the Great Lakes and Europe, through the Ports of Cleveland, OH and Antwerp, Belgium. The Spliethoff Group, the operator of the new service and now the largest shipowner regularly using the St. Lawrence Seaway, has immediate connections from the Port of Antwerp to Russia, Finland, Spain, UK, and the Baltic States.


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Fortunagracht Set to Arrive in Cleveland to Begin New Service

It is somehow fitting that the first ship to arrive in the Great Lakes representing the Spliethoff Group's new Cleveland-Europe Express (CEEway) liner service bears the name Fortunagracht.  A loose translation of the ship's name can be derived by considering the term "fortuna" which can be translated as "fortune" in a number of languages, and the Dutch word "gracht" which means canal.

After all, the 12,500 deadweight-ton vessel is making its way through the St. Lawrence Seaway's Welland Canal as of this writing on its way to Cleveland to see if the St. Lawrence Seaway is the "canal of fortune" that the ship's name suggests.

The ship's owners, the Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Spliethoff Group, certainly hopes so.  The current voyage of the Fortunagracht marks an important step in the history of the company, the Port of Cleveland, and the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The Spliethoff Group is the largest shipowner in the Netherlands with more than 100 ships in its fleet.  The regular service they now provide to and and from Cleveland and their base in Europe will make the Spliethoff Group now the biggest shipowner regularly using the St. Lawrence Seaway. 

Neither the number of ships in the Spliethoff fleet, nor the reach of the company's freight network are the most important part of the new CEEway service.  By far the most important aspect of the story is the fact that the Port of Cleveland will serve as the focal point for container traffic traveling directly between Europe and the Great Lakes.

For its entire history, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System has been a dry-bulk cargo system.  Built to move grain from the prairie and plains to the eastern parts of North America and move raw materials from the East Coast to the steel factories and manufacturing plants in the Great Lakes region, the Great Lakes-Seaway System has been almost totally by-passed by the shipping industry's movement toward containerized cargo.  While container traffic is measured by the millions of TEUs at the biggest coastal ports; container traffic moved by ship by all the ports of the St. Lawrence Seaway System combined are measured only in the dozens most years.

The Port of Cleveland and the Spliethoff Group aim to change all that.  Starting slowly, with a single monthly sailing and adding more as demand dictates, the CEEway's regular sailings may serve as a dependable, low-cost alternative to the multiple handlings, delays and high costs associated with railing shipping containers hundreds of miles overland between America's industrial and agricultural heartland and East Coast ports.

David Gutheil, who serves as the Port of Cleveland's Vice President for Maritime and Logistics told Great Lakes Seaway News earlier today, "This new service is a key part of our strategy to diversify the Port and increase the service options available to our customers.  We our hopeful that our customers will understand and appreciate the many advantages of a direct container service to Europe."  

The new service appears to be off to a promising start.  Already containers are popping up on Cleveland's docks being readied for shipment to Europe. A report published in this morning's edition of Cleveland's The Plain Dealer describes the diverse export cargo arriving at the port to include:  a school bus, road-building equipment, containerized car and machine parts, chemicals, hydraulic pumps and hoses, nuts, bolts and fasteners.

The Port of Cleveland plans a ceremony next Tuesday to commemorate the beginning of the new service.  Great Lakes Seaway News wishes all associated with this exciting new venture good luck and godspeed.  We hope you will find the St. Lawrence Seaway System to be a "Canal of Fortune."