Ports Gearing up for Traffic After Reopening of Seaway
THOROLD, Ontario (AP) _ Ship owners, relieved at the resumption of traffic through the St. Lawrence Seaway, are now worrying about how long the weather will allow the canal to remain open past its regular mid-December closing date.
Pat Doherty, vice president and manager of N.M. Patterson and Sons in Thunder Bay, Ontario, said even with favorable weather his shipping company will not be able to recoup its losses from by the seaway’s three-week shutdown.
″We’d have to run well into January to do that and that’s impossible,″ he said.
″If the weather closes in on us, shipowners are facing considerable losses. We’ll just have to see what the weather holds,″ said Angus Laidlaw, spokesman for the Dominion Marine Association, Canada’s largest group of shipowners.
Traffic, which stopped in both directions when Lock No. 7 of the Welland Canal collapsed Oct. 14, resumed Thursday morning. The Furia was the first to go through the 80-by-730-foot lock. With a blast of its horn, it headed toward Lake Ontario bound for Egypt.
Two more ships passed through the repaired lock before movement was halted for about an hour to allow workers to trim some protruding steel rods from the lock wall.
″We’re going a little slower than normal, but that’s because of all the traffic,″ said Ron Darcy, a seaway spokesman.
Seaway officials have said they expect to clear the backlog through the canal, which connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, in about a week at a rate of 25 ships a day.
Eighty-five percent of the cargo on the 2,346-mile waterway, the world’s longest, is moved by Canadian shipping companies.
With the reopening, Great Lakes ports began preparing to receive ships.
In Milwaukee, where 45,000 tons of fortified grain are waiting to go to the Third World, port director Adm. Roy Hoffmann said he expects the first ships Tuesday.
″This will put us back in business,″ he said.