North America

The St Lawrence



1200 Km

From early April to mid December
Countries crossed:

Canada, United States
Inland navigation authority:

International St Lawrence Board of control

200.000.000 t/year
Facts of importance:

The St. Lawrence River is the only pathway for ships to enter the Great Lakes. The seaway was officially opened in 1959.
The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control was established by the International Joint Commission (United States and Canada) in its 1952 order of approval. The Board’s main duty is to ensure that outflows from Lake Ontario meet the requirements of the IJC order; it also develops regulation plans and conducts special studies requested by the IJC.
The Seaway system serves 40% of US manufacturing, and half of the production of US soybeans and corn. In Canada, the Seaway accounts for 2/3 of the nation’s industrial output, and creates 1/3 of the country’s gross national product. Cargo carried on the Seaway includes grain from the US and Canadian prairies, exported to international markets via the Seaway (wheat, corn and soybeans, barley, oats, rye), iron ore shipped from mines in Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and Minnesota to production centers along the Great Lakes, coal from the Appalachians to Great Lakes ports for steel making, or electricity production and containers, steel and machinery.
Main challenges for the future:

  • -Water Levels Regulation : with a massive hydropower dam, water levels on the Upper St. Lawrence River are manually regulated.
  • -The system’s current water regulation plan has become outdated. It is unable to deal with future conditions and has hurt the region’s ecosystem. The International Joint Commission (IJC) is developing a potential new approach for managing water levels and flows in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system.
  • -Sustainable shipping on the River
  • -Waste management
carte North America

Volumes transported on the St Lawrence

Source « The Saint Lawrence Seaway Authority and Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation »