St Lawrence Seaway is an inland waterway system consisting of locks, river canals and shipping channels. It is part of both USA and Canada, and permits ocean-going (large-sized) ships to navigate from Atlantic Ocean to Great Lakes (as far as Lake Superior).
The St Lawrence River flows from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Lawrence Seaway extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, including the Welland Canal. This section consists of several river channels, locks and canals along the banks of the river. They were constructed to bypass the river's rapids and dams along the route.
Some the locks are managed by Canadian autorities ("Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corp") and some by the USA ("Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp"). The Seaway is advertized as part of "Highway H2O". The river section downstream of Montreal is fully Canadian and regulated by Transport Canada (Port of Quebec).
Great Lakes - St Lawrence Seaway shipping generates annually over USD 3,4 billion in revenue, with annual economic activity around USD 35 billion, cargo traffic approx 160 million tons, over 237,000 supported jobs.
- Inbound shipments, include mostly steel (approx 6% of the USA's total).
- Outbound shipments include grain (approx 7% of the total cargo and approx 4% of USA's overseas total grain shipments).
- Toll revenue from ocean-going ships is approx 30%.
- The main cargoes shipped through St Lawrence Seaway are US grain, liquid bulk, coal, cement and clinkers, steel slabs, stone, ores (mainly iron ore), concentrates, pig iron (crude iron).
- Largest US cargo ports on the Great Lakes Seaway are in Wisconsin (Green Bay, Milwaukee), Michigan (Detroit) and Ohio (Toledo, Ashtabula).
The Seaway locks match the Welland Canal's locks, permitting passages of ships with max LOA length 740 ft (230 m) and max beam (width) 78 ft (24 m). A Seaway locks expansion project is planned for 2030, to allow boxships (container carriers) to navigate to Great Lakes. The expanded Seaway's max air clearance / height is 150 ft (46 m) due to river bridge restrictions (Mackinac, Ambassador, Blue Water, Gordie Howe). The new max draft will be 36 ft (11 m), compared to the current 27 ft (8,2 m). Currently, Montreal port allows max drafts of 36 ft (11 m) in St Lawrence River's estuary.
"Cruise the Saint Lawrence" is a Canadian association representing to travel agents and cruise toursist the 9 river and ocean ports in the region.
- The list of ports includes Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres, Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, Sept-Îles, Gaspe, Havre-Saint-Pierre and Iles de la Madeleine (Magdalen Islands).
- During season 2017 were reported nearly 0,54 million passengers and crew visiting the 9 St Lawrence cruise ports. Of those, 387,678 were passengers and 151,362 were crew. In 2018, the region was operated by 26 cruise companies and 35 different ships.
In 2018-Q3 (March-September), shipping volumes on St Lawrence Seaway increased 4,1% (over 2017-Q3) driven by increased Canadian grain exports (11,6% increase, to total 5,1 million tons) and improved salt shipments (total 1,9 million tons). Waterway's overall cargo tonnage totaled 25,7 million tons. Overseas cargo traffic increased 81%. Highest volumes were reported at ports Thunder Bay Ontario (total 5,4 million cargo tons) and Hamilton Ontario (109% grain, 40% petroleum products, 38% finished steel, 25% metallurgical coal, 11% fertilizers).
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence is the outlet of North American Great Lakes via St Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean. The gulf is actually a semienclosed sea that covers an area of nearly 236,000 km2 (91,000 ml2). This unique waterway contains around 35,000 km3 (8,400 ml3) of water, resulting in an average depth of 148 m (486 ft).
Perce Rock ("Rocher Perce", on the above photo) is a huge rock formation (reddish-gold limestone and shale) located on the Gaspe Peninsula's tip. It is considered one of St Lawrence Gulf's (and Quebec's) natural icons and is a major tourist attraction in the region. The "Pierced Island" is linked to the mainland by a sandbar. The town of Perce is on Perce Bay. The famous reef is approx 800 m from the town's centre, where smaller-sized ships can be moored.
- St Lawrence Gulf borders to the north with Labrador Peninsula, to the east with Newfoundland Island, to the south with Nova Scotia Peninsula, and to the west with Gaspe Peninsula, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Largest islands in the Gulf are Anticosti, Prince Edward Island, Magdalen Islands (Quebec), Cape Breton Island, Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France).
- Besides St Lawrence River, major rivers that empty into the Gulf are Miramichi, Natashquan, Romaine, Restigouche, Margaree, and Humber,
- The Gulf's branches include the bays Chaleur, Fortune, Miramichi, St George's, also Bay of Islands and the Northumberland Strait.
- The list of national parks / Canadian Government-protected areas along the Gulf includes Forillon National Park (Gaspe Peninsula), Prince Edward Island National Park, Kouchibouguac National Park (New Brunswick), Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Gros Morne National Park (Newfoundland) National Park Reserve (Cote-Nord, Quebec).
St Lawrence River was first sailed by an European in 1534 - the French explorer Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) who claimed current-day Canada's territory for France. He named it "The Country of Canadas", after the indigenous word for "settlement" / "village". At just about the same time, Basques started whale-hunting and trade with modern-day Quebec and the rest of the Atlantic provinces.
St Lawrence Seaway cruise terminal
Next photo shows the map of St Lawrence Seaway, with the location of all its ports and locks in USA and Canada.
Port St Lawrence Seaway cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from St Lawrence Seaway, Canada. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
The St Lawrence Seaway cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near St Lawrence Seaway, Canada.
If you lose the St Lawrence Seaway location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
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