CLEVELAND – Jim Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA), the trade association representing U.S.-flag vessel operators on the Great Lakes, today testified before the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities at its hearing in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This appearance was in relation to the Committee’s study regarding a Canadian Transportation and Logistics Strategy (Trade Corridors). Weakley told the Committee that “the words ‘harmonization’ and ‘interoperability’ are frequently used when discussing Canada-U.S. trade. The only way to fully enable the incredible economic potential of trade and commerce between our two nations, particularly here in the Great Lakes region, is to ensure that decisions are made with these two key tenets in mind.”
To illustrate how interwoven the Great Lakes trade corridor is, Weakley noted that when a U.S.-flag laker transits the Detroit/St. Clair River system, it crosses the border between the two nations 17 times.
Cargo movement on the Lakes between the U.S. and Canada is significant. It can annually total more than 40 million tons. Total Great Lakes commerce can top 160 million tons.
Weakley told the Committee that in terms of capital investment, “a new transportation and logistics strategy should take into account critical capability needs such as enhanced and more reliable icebreaking services, and deploy strategic capital accordingly.” During the winter of 2017/2018, lack of adequate icebreaking recourses in both the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards resulted in LCA members having nearly 6.5 million tons of cargo delayed or cancelled.
“In terms of regulation, taking a bi-national approach to air emissions, ballast water, and protection of species at risk, through the lens of cross-border integration and harmonization, adds to our ability to generate economic development and good-paying jobs on both sides of the border.”
Weakley concluded his testimony by pledging to work with Canadian Parliamentarians and government officials to keep Great Lakes shipping a benefit to both nations.
About Lake Carriers’ Association
Lake Carriers’ Association (“LCA”) represents 13 American companies that operate 45 U.S.-flag vessels (“lakers”) on the Great Lakes and carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand and grain. Collectively, its members can transport more than 100 million tons of dry-bulk cargo per year and employ more than 1,600 men and women, all of whom are U.S. citizens or legally admitted aliens, and provide annual wages and benefits of approximately $125 million. In turn, the cargos its members carry create and sustain nearly 116,000 jobs in the eight Great Lakes states and generate more than $20 billion in economic activity, $8.3 billion in personal income, $16.4 billion in business revenue, $4.1 billion in local purchases and $3.7 billion in taxes. For more information contact Glen Nekvasil – 440-333-9996 / Nekvasil@lcaships.com.