March 21 - The Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA) is extremely concerned that Canada's ice breaker fleet will not be able to create and maintain the routes needed to move key cargo to Canadian and American industries.

HLPFI reported on March 13 that the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway faced the thickest and broadest ice cover seen for 40 years. (

During the first week of March an area spanning 86,000 square miles of the Great Lakes was covered in ice - approximately 92 percent of its surface. And while the CSA accepts that the Canadian Coast Guard is doing its best to work with limited resources, the situation is affecting Canada's transportation and economic systems.

The Canadian Coast Guard's fleet of ice breaking ships is aging and too few in numbers to support the economic and environmental benefits of short-sea-shipping in Canada, says the CSA. It called on the Canadian Coast Guard to immediately fulfill its support to maritime commerce and asks the Government of Canada to find a longer term solution to augment assets.