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$6.9 billion upgrade of Great Lakes shipping is underway

$6.9 billion upgrade of Great Lakes shipping is underway

Port of Duluth alone is spending $86 million on docks, terminal and redevelopment.

There's been a lot of bad news about problems with the shipping infrastructure breakdown in the U.S. Railroads. Roads. Bridges. Locks and dams. Seems like are all in bad shape somewhere.

But here is some good news: About $6.9 billion is being spent on the Great Lakes shipping system.

 According to an industry survey, the money is being spent on ships, ports and terminals and waterway infrastructure in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence waterway.

CSL Group's new Trillium Class vessel Thunder Bay, pictured here in Port Colborne, Ontario, regularly travels through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Great Lakes ports. Photo: Thies Bognor., CSL Group.

Of that total, $4.7 billion has been invested in the navigation system from 2009-2013 and another $2.2 billion is committed to improvements from 2014-2018. Two-thirds of the capital was invested by private companies with 33% coming from government funding, reports the Chamber of Marine Commerce

American, Canadian and international ship owners are spending $4 billion on the biggest renewal of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence fleets in 30 years, according to the CMC. The U.S. and Canadian federal governments have dedicated close to $1 billion to modernize the Seaway's lock infrastructure and technology over the 10-year period — the Seaway's most significant transformation in five decades.  And Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ports and terminals are also collectively investing more than $1.7 billion on expanding their docks, equipment, facilities and intermodal connections.

"At the Port of Duluth-Superior alone, we've seen upwards of $40 million of work undertaken by terminals in recent years and another $30 million of infrastructure investment on the horizon for 2015-16," says Vanta code, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "The Port Authority is launching its own redevelopment venture this spring with a $16 million Dock C&D Intermodal Project. Growing freight demands will continue to seek outlets; these investments point to a robust future for our Great Lakes-Seaway system as it should be first on the list for open, available capacity."

John Buboltz, vice president of Merchandising and Transportation, Cargill Inc., welcomes the improvements.

"The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence shipping system is a critical component of our broader transportation infrastructure in North America. We need to recognize that future growth in the agriculture and food economy sector depends on efficient shipping systems," he says.

Source: CMC

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