September 30 - The Canadian province of Québec and the US state of Indiana have launched a new partnership to increase their collaboration on Great Lakes/St. Lawrence System shipping and the region's maritime economic development.

Québec and Indiana have identified short-sea shipping as a factor of regional economic development that would benefit from greater regional collaboration, and are launching a joint initiative to study opportunities for enhancing shipping routes between the two jurisdictions.

Short-sea shipping is especially important because it facilitates the delivery of supplies along trade routes that have rail and highway capacity constraints and infrastructure challenges, said Ports of Indiana.

Indiana currently handles nearly 30 million tonnes of cargo per year on short-sea shipping movements across the Great Lakes, predominantly consisting of iron ore for the steel mills located in northwest Indiana, added the port authority.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor also shares a strong business partnership with the Québec-based shipping line Fednav, which provides regular ocean service to the Port of Indiana and is the parent company of the port's general cargo terminal operator, Federal Marine Terminals.

"The province of Québec and the state of Indiana are connected by more than just water," said Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann. "We share strong manufacturing sectors, robust multimodal transportation systems, and a heavy reliance on Great Lakes shipping." 

Québec and Indiana will work together to increase this bilateral and multilateral collaboration on short-sea shipping, and will invite other partners from the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence economic region to join them.

Areas of collaboration could include industry workshops, exchange of best practices, applied research based on the needs of the shipping industry, as well as joint studies involving collaboration between industry, government and academic institutions.