St. Lawrence Seaway had ‘excellent’ 2021 with revenue, cargo up

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation CEO Terence Bowles. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL, Ont. – The head of the St. Lawrence Seaway management group says 2021 was a “very excellent year” and the financial picture was “quite satisfying.”

CEO Terence Bowles addressed the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation yesterday morning (Monday) during its annual general meeting.

He says the seaway had another successful year with 38.2 million metric tons of cargo moving through the system – a 1.1 per cent increase from the previous year.

“In 2021, grain was the mainstay but droughts in Western Canada led to lower grain exports. The gap was filled by increased iron ore and steel shipments,” Bowles said.

SLSMC had $85.3 million in revenue, a 4.3 per cent increase from the previous year.

Adding in the $7.7 million in revenue from seaway lands, Bowles says the corporation was able to cover its manageable costs ($52.3 million) and put $39 million into asset renewal.

Overall revenue was close to $92 million.

The non-profit’s assets increased by 8.1 per cent to $275.3 million, mostly due to an increase in pension assets as investments recovered from the pandemic. Liabilities increased by $4.9 million due to work during the off-season not paid for by fiscal year end.

The bottom line after a federal government transfer of $59 million from the Capital Fund Trust left the SLSMC was an overall surplus of $15.7 million, compared to $7.2 million in the previous year. The SLSMC manages the seaway on behalf of the federal government.

While happy about the seaway’s position, Bowles says there are “still many unknowns” ahead with the economy and the “world situation,” such as the pandemic, global warming and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Bowles adds the seaway is trying to become a “truly green corridor” and has added more electronic vehicles to its fleet, cutting the corporation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 67 per cent compared to 2005 levels.

The SLSMC’s contract with the federal government expires in 2023 and Bowles says they are working on another long term agreement.