Lakes Welcome Sutton Appointment as Seaway Administrator

Toledo, OH – The appointment of Betty Sutton as Administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation is being hailed by the Great Lakes maritime community as one of the most positive developments in recent years. Sutton, who represented Ohio’s 13th District in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2012, is well versed in the issues facing shipping on the Seaway and Great Lakes, and has time and again shown an unbending commitment to American labor and manufacturing.

“We could not be more pleased with Sutton’s appointment as Seaway Administrator,” said Donald N. Cree, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest labor/management coalition ever to promote waterborne commerce on the nation’s Fourth Sea Coast. “She was our Great Lakes Legislator of the Year in 2010,” noted Cree, who is also Great Lakes Special Assistant to the National President of American Maritime Officers. “She was the driving force behind the “Cash for Clunkers” program that helped jump start our auto industry and increase demand for steel made out of iron ore moved on the Great Lakes and Seaway.”

Sutton’s maritime portfolio is impressive. “She has been at the forefront of nearly every piece of legislation promoting shipping on the Lakes and Seaway,” said James H.I. Weakley, 1st Vice President of GLMTF and President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “She has supported legislation to increase Short Sea Shipping on the Lakes and Seaway, increased dredging, a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and adequate U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking resources.”

Prior to her legislative career, Sutton was a lawyer in Cleveland and worked closely with the International Longshoremen’s Association, the union that represents dock workers throughout the Great Lakes and Seaway. “With Sutton at the Seaway’s helm, we can be assured that the overriding goal of every action taken will be to create and sustain jobs for American workers and opportunities for American companies,” said John D. Baker, 2nd Vice President of GLMTF and President Emeritus of the ILA’s Great Lakes District Council. “The Seaway could not be in better hands.”

Baker stressed it is critically important that the nation fully utilize shipping on the Lakes and Seaway. “Studies have repeated demonstrated that waterborne commerce is the most cost-effective means of transportation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that Lakes/Seaway shipping annually save its customers $3.6 billion in transportation costs compared to the next least costly mode of transportation. Those savings will multiply when the dredging crisis is over and ships can again carry full loads.”

Fuller utilization of the Seaway in particular will be a boon for the environment. “Ships use less fuel and produce fewer emissions than trains and trucks,” said Tom Curelli, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF and Director of Operations for Fraser Shipyards, Inc. “The Seaway could handle more of our imports and exports that currently are produced in or bound for this region, but landed or loaded at East Coast ports. We look forward to working with Sutton and the Administration to bring more international cargos to the system.”

Founded in 1992, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force promotes domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes. With 86 members, it is the largest coalition to ever speak for the Great Lakes shipping community and draws its membership from both labor and management representing U.S.-flag vessel operators, shipboard and longshore unions, port authorities, cargo shippers, terminal operators, shipyards, dredgers and other Great Lakes interests. In addition to ending the dredging crisis, its goals include maximizing the Lakes overseas trade via the St. Lawrence Seaway; construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; maintaining adequate U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreaking forces, protecting the Jones Act and other U.S. maritime cabotage laws and regulations; and opposing exports and/or increased diversions of Great Lakes water.

For additional information contact Glen Nekvasil, Secretary, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (440-333-9996)