SEAWAY CORPORATIONS LEAD BINATIONAL TRADE MISSION TO BRAZIL
(St. Catharines, Ontario, October 15, 2007) — A delegation representing the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System left for Brazil today to begin a week-long trade mission. Seaway Corporation leaders, Collister Johnson Jr., Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, are leading the delegation of marine transportation executives to promote the inland waterway system to key Brazilian industries.
Brazil currently ranks as the third largest foreign trading partner for the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, accounting for approximately one million tons of cargo annually. The purpose of the week-long trade mission to Latin America’s largest economy is to raise the profile of the System and to increase U.S. and Canadian maritime commerce with Brazil. The trade mission will include meetings and discussions with Brazilian industry and government officials in and around two of the nation’s largest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Also on the schedule are tours of the Port of Santos (São Paulo) and the Port of Itaguai (Rio de Janeiro).
Seaway officials are focusing their business development efforts on the mining, agricultural and manufacturing industries, natural trading areas given Brazil’s growing prominence in these areas. The country is a world leader in iron ore, nickel, aluminum, manganese, tin, and kaolin production, as well as forestry products such as logs, paper and pulp.
"Brazil has earned a reputation worldwide for its ores, forestry products, and alternate energy fuels like ethanol and biofuels," said Collister Johnson, Jr., SLSDC Administrator. "We are confident that U.S. and Canadian manufactured mining and farming equipment sales, as well as petroleum industry hardware deals can continue to grow as we seek closer partnerships benefiting all of our countries."
North American interest in ethanol and biofuel production has made Brazil a timely choice for a Seaway trade mission visit. Their ethanol is based not on corn but sugar cane, and their position as the world’s top soy bean exporter makes them a growing power in the biofuels industry. Significant potential exists for movements of new cargoes into the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.
Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, noted the importance of educating Brazilian shipping interests on the System’s position as a reliable and cost competitive route into the heartland of North America.
"The Seaway has the potential to almost double present cargo volumes within our existing locks and channels. Given the expansion of world wide trade volumes and the resulting congestion that is occurring on land based arteries, this will be a key message during our meetings with Brazilian cargo owners", stated Mr. Corfe.
The trade missions facilitate face-to-face contact with senior maritime industry leaders and decision-makers to promote greater use of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System. In addition to the Administrator of the U.S. Seaway Corporation and the President and CEO of the Canadian Seaway Corporation, the 20-member delegation is comprised of some of the System’s largest port and terminal operators, ship owners and operators, and maritime trade specialists.