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Cornwall, Ontario (June 21, 2010) – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) reported that activity related to the steel industry remains buoyant, with shipments of iron ore and steel slabs showing continued strength. Cargo volumes on the Seaway remain almost 20% ahead of the pace set last year.

Total cargo shipments on the Seaway for the period of March 25 to May 31 amounted to 6,888,000 tonnes as compared to 5,840,000 tonnes for the same period last year. Marine carriers have transported 33,000 tonnes of steel slabs as of May 31. This figure stands in stark contrast to steel slab activity last year, in which no slabs were observed in transit.

“The steel industry continues to show positive signs of recovery, bringing about a direct impact on Seaway traffic volumes” said Bruce Hodgson, Director of Market Development for the SLSMC. “Iron ore volume is 105% above the same period last year, and our steel slab imports into Hamilton have rebounded.”

With trade as a share of GDP growing in prominence to account for nearly 30 percent of overall economic activity today, the Great Lakes states and provinces together account for nearly 39 percent of U.S.-Canadian trade with the world.

Michael Kennedy, Manager for Transportation and Outside Processing at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, also voiced a positive outlook. “In 2009, the global economic crisis had a severe impact on the steel industry. We are cautiously optimistic for continuing recovery in 2010. The increase in vessel traffic, most notably in the iron ore trade, is a reflection of the improved capacity utilization from all of the steel mills. While we see improved business conditions and know that that the economy is trending in the right direction, the industry has not yet returned to pre-recession production levels and we continue to experience pockets of volatility in the market."

The Seaway is responsible for approximately 75,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. and annually generates more than $4.3 billion in personal income, $3.4 billion in transportation-related business revenue, and $1.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes, according to the latest Seaway research. For more information on the St. Lawrence Seaway, please consult the website.