The first-ever regional strategy to jumpstart the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence maritime transportation system, which aims to double maritime trade, shrink the environmental footprint of the region’s transportation network, and support the region’s industrial core, has been released, according to the Government of Ontario.
The ten-year implementation of the strategy, which will help grow the region’s maritime sector, is estimated at USD 3.8 billion based on preliminary analysis.
“Improving maritime transportation is critical to our economies — in order to remain competitive in today’s global markets, we need to improve and expand the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence maritime transportation system,” said Ontario Premier and Co-Chair of the Regional Maritime Entity Kathleen Wynne.
The strategy includes a blend of policies, programs and projects to rejuvenate the regional maritime system.
In order to advance implementation of the recommendations over the longer term, the authorities plan to undertake a number of actions, among which are clearing the system’s dredging backlog to ensure transit for fully loaded vessels and dredging the system’s critical chokepoint, the St. Marys River, to its authorized depth of 27 feet, as well as expediting the movement of goods and people across the U.S.-Canada border by streamlining the customs clearance process for cruise passengers and maritime cargo.
“These investments will make it easier, faster, and cheaper to move iron ore and other goods from here to other U.S. and overseas markets,” said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. Minnesota is Co-Chair of the Governors’ and Premiers’ Regional Maritime Entity.