Transport Canada announces a modernized agreement with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

News release

March 22, 2024                    St. Catharines, Ontario                    Transport Canada

The St. Lawrence Seaway is a critically important trade corridor for key bulk commodities used across Canada and the United States. Nearly 38 million tonnes of cargo moved through the Seaway in 2023. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting this binational waterway’s long-term economic growth and sustainability and reinforcing Canada’s reputation as a reliable and strong trading partner.

Today, the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, and Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, announced that they signed an agreement for the Corporation—a not-for-profit organization—to continue managing, maintaining, and operating the Seaway, which it has done since 1998.

This stronger, more modern agreement is one that is in the best interest of Canadians. It includes:

  • Continued maintenance of a safe, secure, and efficient transportation channel to foster bilateral cooperation, long-term economic development and support fluid and resilient supply chains
  • Enhanced governance mechanisms to ensure the Seaway provides the best value for Canadians and continues to deliver as a transportation corridor of strategic importance
  • Modernized measures to strengthen relationships with Indigenous Peoples and local communities and improve climate change responsiveness and accountability

Under this new agreement, the Government of Canada and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation will continue working together to ensure the Seaway remains a reliable and efficient transportation corridor for domestic and international shipping.

Continuing to invest in a safe, secure, and efficient Seaway will support Canada’s economic health and security and help maintain fluid and resilient global and North American supply chains.


“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the Seaway’s long-term economic growth and sustainability. We are working to make maritime trade as efficient and cost-effective as possible so people can get the goods they need, when they need them, at the best possible prices, and to support good, well-paying jobs in Canada.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

“We are thrilled to have a renewed Management Operations and Maintenance Agreement with the Government of Canada. This long-term contract brings stability and predictability for the Corporation and customers alike. It allows the SLSMC to continue its mission of maintaining a safe, secure, reliable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective system.”

Terence Bowles
President and CEO
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

Quick facts

  • The signing of this agreement follows the St. Lawrence Seaway Review, which was launched by Transport Canada in 2017, to ensure the Seaway continues to be strategically positioned as a critical transportation corridor for North America. As part of this review, Transport Canada engaged Canadians, shippers, carriers, industry associations, provinces, municipalities, and Indigenous communities to examine challenges and opportunities for increased economic and commercial development, the waterway’s competitiveness, sustainability, and the Seaway’s governance structure. This feedback has helped build a stronger, more modern agreement—one that both parties can be proud of and one that is in the best interest of Canadians.

  • The St. Lawrence Seaway is a cost-effective and efficient transporter of key bulk commodities, like grain, iron ore, petroleum products, stone, aggregates, and coal. In 2022, 4,008 cargo vessels transited the Seaway carrying 36.3 million tonnes of cargo valued at $16.7 billion.

  • The St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 and consists of 15 locks and connecting canals or channels extending from Montreal to Lake Erie, and more than 100 ports and commercial docks link to more than 40 provincial or interstate highways and to 30 railway lines.

  • The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system extends 3,700 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean through the Great Lakes. The Seaway provides a vital link to several Canadian ports, including the Port of Montréal, the Port of Hamilton, and the Port of Thunder Bay.

  • Transport Canada published a What We Heard Report summarizing the findings of the Seaway Review.

Associated links


Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary 
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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