American Great Lakes Ports Association has collaborated with the Lake Carriers’ Association, Fednav, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation to launch a new bi-national public affairs programme called the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership.

This new initiative aims to bring leading US and Canadian maritime organisations together to improve public understanding of the benefits of commercial shipping in the Great Lakes Seaway region of North America.

For this purpose, the organisation will manage an education-focused communications programme and sponsor research to underline the positive attributes of marine transportation.

"This new initiative…serves as a platform to discuss the economic, environmental and safety benefits of this shared waterway."

In addition, it will work closely with media, policy-makers, community groups, allied industries, environmental stakeholders, and the general public to achieve this goal.

Interlake Steamship Company president and the new programme board of directors chairman Mark W Barker said: "We are pleased to launch this new initiative that looks at the big-picture perspective of the Great Lakes Seaway System and serves as a platform to discuss the economic, environmental and safety benefits of this shared waterway for national, bi-national and international trade.

"While the programme does not have an advocacy agenda, we anticipate the programme will engage our stakeholders by providing them with industry news, results of reports and studies, and opportunities for them to understand, in a very real way, the impact Great Lakes Seaway shipping has on the economies of both the US and Canada."

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Meanwhile, the American Great Lakes Ports Association has also launched a new website for the official launch of the programme.

The website primarily features sections dedicated to the scheme’s three key messages of economy, environment, and safety, and also provides facts about the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces.