The St. Lawrence Seaway has reopened with the first ship of the 2000 season passing through this week, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.
said. "We're up and running," corporation spokeswoman Sylvie Moncion said
. Low water levels in the Great Lakes Basin have shippers concerned about potential problems later that could force ships to lighten loads.
"Even though there are low water levels on the Great Lakes this
year, this will not likely affect Seaway commerce until late in the summer, if at all," said corporation president Guy Veronneau
. The corporation said the 1999 navigation season was average. Overall cargo through the Montreal/Lake Ontario
and Welland Canal sections reached 47,840 million metric tons or 3.2 million tons less than in 1998.
"Steel movement on the Seaway was average in 1999, after a record year in 1998, and iron ore was down. There were overall increases in grain and coal movements," a statement said.
The corporation spent C$27 million on its winter maintenance program for the Seaway, which opened in 1959 and provides uninterrupted navigation nine months of the year from Thunder Bay, Ontario
, and Duluth, Minnesota
, to the Gulf of St. Lawrence