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.