Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Draft Strategy for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime Transportation System

January 29, 2016

Via E-Mail: mpiskur@cglslgo.org
Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers
29 North Wacker Drive
Suite 2700
Chicago, IL 60606

Dear Mr. Piskur:

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) is the largest labor/management coalition ever assembled to promote shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Our 86 members represent every facet of waterborne commerce on America’s Fourth Sea Coast.

We want to thank the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers for recognizing the value of waterborne commerce on the Lakes and Seaway and drafting a Strategy for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime Transportation System (Strategy). The document reflects both their deep appreciation for Lakes/Seaway shipping and their desire that it continue to grow and we pledge our support for achieving that goal.

Lake Carriers’ Association has submitted extensive comments on the Strategy. We endorse that submission, but wish to go on record supporting the key provisions of the Strategy, namely:

 Construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and accelerated maintenance and modernization of the current Poe and MacArthur locks.

 Adequate dredging of ports and waterways and an analysis of providing two additional feet of navigational depth in the St. Marys River.

 Bolstering both U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreaking resources. On the U.S. side that means at a minimum building another heavy icebreaker and accelerating the modernization of the 140-foot-long icebreaking tugs that have been in service for nearly four decades. We further recommend that the U.S. Coast Guard perform the modernization of the 140s yet to undergo service life extension at Great Lakes shipyards to minimize the time the vessels will be out of commission.

The Strategy ushers in an exciting, new era on the Fourth Sea Coast. Never before have the Governors and Premiers taken such interest in the Great Lakes/Seaway System. We look forward to working with them to grow the system and spread the economic and environmental benefits of Lakes/Seaway shipping to an even wider audience.

Very respectfully,

Thomas Curelli
President

Brian D. Krus
1st Vice President-Positions & Resolutions

James H.I. Weakley
2nd Vice President-Membership

John D. Baker
3rd Vice President-Government Relations