March 8, 2024 | Circular No. 11639

Dear Member,

The Federation participated in the Customer Relations Meeting hosted by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) on March 7th.  Below are the key highlights from their presentation.  Please click here to access their complete presentation.

Areas of concern identified by customers:

  • Conditions of structures and timeliness of repairs: SLSMC acknowledged the delays, emphasizing that some repairs cannot be expedited overnight.
  • Traffic management and handling of delays: SLSMC is actively addressing these concerns, navigating a dynamic environment and prioritizing vessel passages for the benefit of the entire system.
  • DIS (Draft Information System) testing and auditing: Customers found the testing and auditing procedures unclear for this system, which offers certain qualified vessels additional draft allowance.
  • Ship self-inspections: Customers misunderstood “self-inspections”, believing it implied ships could bypass Seaway inspections altogether. SLSMC clarified that only predetermined ships are eligible for self-inspections, which supplement rather than replace standard inspections.
  • Suggestions from customers were:
    • Extend the navigation season
    • Provide more accurate wind information
    • Post live updates about delays and breakdowns on the Seaway’s website (a commitment SLSMC has undertaken)
    • Relocate VSS panels to be raised and positioned farther away on the lock.
  • Next Steps: Another survey is scheduled for October 2024.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind members of the opening date of the Seaway’s navigation season:

  • Montreal / Lake Ontario (MLO): March 22, 2024 at 08h00 (D.S.T. – Daylight Saving Time)
  • Welland Canal: March 22, 2024 at 08h00 (D.S.T. – Daylight Saving Time)

Please click here for Notice No. 1 from SLSMC regarding the opening of the navigation season and the maximum allowable drafts.


Cédric Baumelle
Director, Marine Operations