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GLIN==> Transportation report undermines Great Lakes expansion plans
- Subject: GLIN==> Transportation report undermines Great Lakes expansion plans
- From: Jennifer Nalbone <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 16:52:18 -0400
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-Name: GLIN-Announce
September 10, 2003
Transportation report undermines
Great Lakes navigation expansion plans
Dr. Evelyn Thomchick, Pennsylvania Transportation Institute,
Dr. Gary Gittings, Pennsylvania Transportation Institute,
Stephanie Weiss, Save the River, 315-686-2010
Jennifer Nalbone, Great Lakes United, 716-886-0142
A new study by the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute challenges the
official claims that expanding the Great Lakes navigation system and St.
Lawrence Seaway will rejuvenate the regional economy. The report
questions U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ assertions that navigation system
expansion will ever attract large-volume container service.
The report, “Analysis of the Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence River Navigation
System’s Role in U.S. Ocean Container Trade,” says building bigger locks,
deepening shipping channels, and extending the Great Lakes navigation
season is unlikely to divert container ship traffic from East coast ports
in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Québec.
“Container cargo is generally high value cargo and time sensitive,” says
Dr. Evelyn Thomchick, lead author of the report, and Associate Professor
of Supply Chain Management at Penn State University and PTI. “The longer
transit times to navigate the system make the waters unattractive to
shippers of containerized cargo, even with an expansion of the Great
Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.”
Commissioned by Great Lakes United and Save the River, the report is the
first independent examination of the most recent studies by the Corps on
how to increase commercial navigation on the Great Lakes. The Corps and
shipping interests claim that enlarging the Great Lakes navigation system
and St. Lawrence Seaway would rescue struggling economies in the western
portion of the Great Lakes basin by diverting container traffic from East
Coast ports in the United States and Canada. Shipping interests
have argued for decades that allowing larger ocean-going ships access to
the basin will reverse a 20-year trend of declining traffic.
A broad coalition of groups have argued that the environmental and
economic costs of expansion would far outweigh any benefits that a few
more ocean-going ships could bring.
PTI examined the role of the Great Lakes navigation system in 1979.
With manufacturers now widely relying on approaches such as
“just-in-time” production process to reduce overall costs, PTI found that
the reasons expansion was not justified in 1979 are even more true today.
The 2003 study says:
Corps has not demonstrated that an expanded navigation system would
divert container traffic from East Coast ports or other existing
long transit times and the associated added costs and uncertainties of
the Great Lakes navigation system are likely to discourage containership
Corps has not demonstrated that existing transportation networks
providing container movement to the Great Lakes region are capacity
Corps’ lack of cost estimates for expansion makes a comprehensive and
accurate cost-benefit analysis impossible.
The PTI study also says that performing accurate analyses now could end
the need for any future expansion studies.
“In today’s global market place, a host of factors beyond the size of
channels and locks determine whether ocean-going ships would be attracted
to Great Lakes ports, “ explains Dr. Thomchick. “Because of the
long transit times and the circuitous routes, we question whether ocean
container shipping companies would be able to develop profitable trade
routes at rates that would result in substantial transportation cost
savings to their customers.”
“The fact is Great Lakes cities are located thousands of miles inland and
hundreds of feet above sea level. Trying to make them competitive with
ocean ports for international cargo has never made much sense,” said
Jennifer Nalbone, Habitat and Biodiversity Coordinator from Great Lakes
Stephanie Weiss, executive director of Save the River said, “Expansion
would bring destruction to the St. Lawrence River, which has already
suffered more than its share from navigation projects. The idea of that
destruction coming without the economic benefits promised by the Corps
makes expansion even more wrong-headed as a future direction for the
lakes and river.”
The PTI report is being released just as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
begins the next phase of examining the Great Lakes navigation system and
St. Lawrence Seaway.
Great Lakes United and Save the River state that the Corps’ upcoming
study should finally lay to rest navigation system expansion plans and
resolve ongoing problems caused by Great Lakes navigation practices, such
as introductions of invasive species from ocean-going ships’
ballast-water dumping, and lowered water levels and habitat damage caused
by channel dredging.
A copy of the executive summary and full report can be downloaded at:
Established in 1982, Great Lakes United is an international coalition of over 150 environmental and conservation organizations, unions, academia and businesses in the U.S., Canada, First Nations and tribes. GLU is dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin. The GLU coalition was founded after groups from around the eight Great Lakes states and two provinces came together to work on historic proposals to expand the navigation system. More on Great Lakes United is available at: www.glu.org
Save The River was founded in 1978 to preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the Thousand Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education and research. STR currently represents over one thousand property owners, business people, scientists, and families from more than thirty different communities along the St. Lawrence River. STR has been a leader against winter navigation and navigation expansion for twenty years. More information about Save The River is available at www.savetheriver.org.
The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute is an interdisciplinary research and outreach unit of The Pennsylvania State Universities College of Engineering. PTI’s goals are to conduct innovative and objective transportation research, to disseminate research results, to promote continuing education for transportation professionals, and to provide significant educational and research opportunities for Penn State students. The institute’s energies are directed toward solving problems in four major areas of transportation research: transportation operations; new materials, construction and pavement engineering; transportation structures; and vehicle systems and safety. A previous study conducted by the PTI in 1979 evaluated a plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make improvements to the Seaway and provided an evaluation of the role of the GLNS in certain aspects of the U.S. economy, as well as the international trade environment at the time.
Habitat and Biodiversity Coordinator
Great Lakes United
1300 Elmwood Avenue
Cassety Hall- Buffalo State College
Buffalo, NY 14222
ph: (716) 886-0142 fax:-0303