CORNWALL – The Montreal to Lake Ontario section of the St. Lawrence Seaway will close its navigation season on December 31.
A release issued November 4 by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, which manages Canadian operations on the waterway, announced the closure dates for the different segments of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.
“While preserving the navigation season is very important, we are also mindful that unanticipated environmental conditions may occur during the closing period,” the corporation said. Inclement weather may change the schedule for the Montreal-Lake Ontario, and Welland Canal sections.
The Montreal-Lake Ontario section, which includes Lake St. Lawrence and the Iroquois Locks, will close at the end of day December 31. The Welland Canal will close at noon January 7, 2023. The Sault St. Marie Locks and Canal will close to navigation on January 15, 2023.
The scheduled closure this year falls in line with recent closures in the past decade. In 2017 the shipping closure was extended due to extreme cold weather issues. Ice build up in the US-based Snell Lock caused a backlog of ships making their final transits through the system.
As of the latest traffic update from the SLSMC, vessel transit traffic through to September 30 is up three per cent from 2021. Overall tonnage is down by 5.6 per cent over that same timeframe. There are double-digit declines in Grain (15 per cent), Iron Ore (11 per cent), Coal (15 per cent), and General Cargo shipments (15.9 per cent). Dry bulk shipments have increased 5.5 per cent and Liquid Bulk shipments are up by 15.6 per cent.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader