As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, the St. Lawrence Seaway is an essential gateway that moves cargo between North America and international markets. Seaway commerce sustains an estimated 150,000 jobs, $4.3 billion in personal income, and $3.4 billion in business revenues each year for the Great Lakes and Seaway regional economy.
To help drive this message home, DOT's Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) sponsored a poster contest at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena, New York, during National Transportation Week. Seaway fans will know that Massena is home to the SLSDC headquarters, which I had the opportunity to visit last year.
Students were asked to design posters on the theme: “Why is the St. Lawrence Seaway Important?” Over 60 entries were judged by Seaway employees, and three winners were declared, each of whom received a $100 savings bond.
Congratulations to this year's winners Allainya Dumas, Logan Renee Deshaies, and Payne Benedict!
Through this contest, we hope students have learned about--and shared with the rest of us--the vital importance of the Seaway for our maritime industry and our nation's economy.
In fact, the St. Lawrence Seaway recently reported a strong start to the 2011 shipping season. Initial indicators show signs of a continued rebound over last season with significant increases in grain, steel slabs, and general cargo during 2011's first two months of navigation.
I am optimistic that this robust start will mean continued increases in shipments in the months ahead, and the Seaway will have another safe and successful navigation year.
I'm excited to see students get energized and involved in an issue that affects not only their community, but the entire nation. Congratulations to all of the students who participated in this contest.