Shipping and Logistics

Great Lakes Shipping Season Officially Opens

Written by Sandy Williams

The Great Lakes shipping season officially began yesterday with passage of the upbound freighter H. Lee White through the Soo Locks .

“Right on time, at one minute past midnight, the lower gates of the Poe Lock opened and the H. Lee White made its way into the lock, officially opening the 2020 navigation season at the Soo Locks in Sault Saint Marie, Mich. The 704-foot-long vessel is headed to Superior, Wis.,” said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, in a Facebook post.


During the winter, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performed critical repairs and maintenance on the Poe and MacArthur locks. Work on the MacArthur will continue through mid-April.

The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway has been delayed to April 1 in order to release high waters from Lake Ontario to control shoreline flooding.

This year maritime traffic and operations are facing new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Since February, a tremendous team focus has gone into getting the fleet outfitted and sailing safely with healthy crews,” said Jim Weakley, president of the Lakes Carriers’ Association. “This has been a truly concerted effort by the sailors, the vessel operators, U.S. Coast Guard, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, public health officials, the Great Lakes dock and port operators, and service providers that keep our fleet sailing. Our first priority is the men and women sailing the vessels. Our efforts are focused on preparedness, prevention, and response to ensure their safety from the impacts of COVID-19. We’ve tried to anticipate as many contingencies as possible and prescribe the actions to counter them. This is a community effort and the partnerships we have forged are strong. The best plans are comprehensive and nimble.”

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