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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.


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A Depressed Loonie Brings More Affordable Seaway Toll Rates 

The decline in the value of the Canadian dollar in 2014 was greeted as a cut in Canadian toll rates by the ocean vessels using the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The only remaining tolls on the St. Lawrence Seaway are those charged by the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and all Seaway tolls are charged in Canadian dollars.  The SLSMC charges three types of tolls for ships transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway.   The three toll charges are based on: the gross registered tonnage of the transiting vessel, the type and tonnage of cargo being carried, and the number of locks the ship transits as it makes its way through the Welland Canal.

Since those toll charges are made in Canadian dollars and all ocean vessels make their charter contracts based on payments made in U.S. dollars, a reduction in the value of the Canadian dollar compared to the U.S. dollar has the net effect of a reduction in toll rates for an ocean vessel.

In 2014 the value of the Canadian dollar fell by nearly 12 percent compared to the U.S. dollar.  The volume of cargo moved through the St. Lawrence Seaway during 2014 increased by nearly 5 percent.  This, despite an increase in Canadian toll rates in Canadian dollars.

A steep drop in the price of oil over the last eight months has had a significant on the Canadian economy and the value of the Canadian dollar. Crude oil prices remain almost sixty percent lower than they were in June of 2014 and are likely to stay depressed for much of 2015.  If the value of the Canadian dollar remains low relative to the U.S. dollar, shippers can expect discounted St. Lawrence Seaway toll rates for the next navigation season.     


Leading Parties Frozen in Place as Canada's Election Heats Up

This winter's cold blast seems to have frozen support for Canada's two leading political parties in place as the ruling Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Liberal Party, led by firebrand Justin Trudeau, are virtually deadlocked with about a third of the Canadian electorate saying they plan to support each of those two parties.

The current official opposition party, the New Democratic Party sits in third place with 19 per cent support.

The Green Party and the Bloc Québécois follow with seven and five per cent support, respectively.

The Liberals and Conservatives have been locked in a dead heat since the beginning of January staying within just a point or two of each other in national opinion polling.

The left-wing New Democratic Party led by Thomas Mulclair has seen its support slip in recent weeks from 23 percent in January to 17 percent last week.

Canadian political pundits estimate that current national support levels would translate into Conservatives wining between 126 and 164 seats if the elections were held today, a number short of the below the target of 170 seats that could form a majority government. 

The Liberal Party could be expected to win between 107 and 145 seats, the New Democrats could win between 47 and 77 seats, with the Greens are on pace to capture two with the Bloc winning between one and eight seats.


Ice Cover Exceeds Last Year's Totals


This Week's Poll Question


Rare Lake Michigan Ice Caves