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(Hong Kong, April 27, 2006) – The Great Lakes Seaway System delegation arrived in Hong Kong for several days on the final stop of their week-long trade mission to China.  Led by Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation President and CEO Richard Corfe and U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Administrator Albert Jacquez, the 20- member trade mission delegation is comprised of Canadian and U.S. port directors, terminal operators, logistics representatives, and marketing trade specialists.  They are in China to brief senior Chinese maritime executives about the many business opportunities available for shipping cargoes throughout the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.

Today they are meeting with representatives from Invest Hong Kong, Hutchinson Port Holdings, and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association.  Discussions are focusing on bulk and container cargo shipments to North America and the potential for increased shipments through the Seaway on smaller vessels.  The delegation is also touring the Port of Hong Kong.

The delegation will also spend a day in Shenzhen, meeting with the Yantian Port Group and touring the port facilities there.   They will lead a seminar and networking session with carriers, shippers, Yantian port officials, and terminal operators.

China has become one of the world’s largest economies and has been increasing its foreign trade exponentially since 1998.  The transportation demands created by Chinese economic growth have caused unprecedented delays at the primary Canadian and U.S. coastal ports.  Consequently, these delays have forced shippers and brokers to explore alternative transportation routes to facilitate Chinese waterborne trade.  This has resulted in an increase in goods destined for the North American heartland to be shipped via alternative Canadian and U.S. ports like Philadelphia and Halifax.

"A primary purpose for this trade mission to China is to create awareness of the Great Lakes Seaway System as an alternative route and to highlight its ability to provide capacity to this growing market”, said SLSDC Administrator Jacquez.  Mr. Jacquez said he believes Chinese maritime experts who have played such an important role in helping move their nation into the highest rung of economic powers in a relatively short time will recognize the potential for a win-win trade route for all parties.

SLSMC President Corfe added, “The trade mission to China allows us to promote the Seaway System’s outstanding record of safety, efficiency, and reliability as well as our most recent operational and technical enhancements to an audience of potential customers throughout the Chinese maritime community.”

The meetings with shipping industry leaders in Hong Kong are viewed as particularly critical for Seaway System stakeholders striving to establish key business relationships necessary for success in this strategic trading center.