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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Port of Muskegon Receives First Seaway Pacesetter Award

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Washington, D.C. (June 26, 2019) – Port of Muskegon accepted their first Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. In conjunction with Port Milwaukee visiting the Port of Muskegon, Rebecca Yackley, International Trade Specialist at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), presented the award to Chuck Canestraight, President of Port City Marine Services, a Sand Products Corporation company based in Michigan focused on marine transportation. Canestraight received the award on behalf of West Michigan Dock and Market Corporation.

Over 25 years ago, the Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award was created as a way to help raise awareness to the importance of shipping. The Pacesetter award recognizes U.S. ports in the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence Seaway that see an annual increase in international cargo. Muskegon is one of eight ports honored with the award for 2018. 

This occasion marks the first time that Port of Muskegon has earned the Pacesetter award. Yackley applauded both Canestraight and Cindy Larsen, President of Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, saying, “Earning the Pacesetter Award does not happen by luck – it is achieved because of the hard work, dedication, and vision of the committed team of professionals here at the Port of Muskegon, its committed customers throughout the Western Michigan area and beyond, and the support of the local community.”

There has been a growing interest in cruising on the Great Lakes. Many ports are seeing exponential increases in port calls by cruise ships. In addition to outstanding an outstanding increase in international cargo, 2019 marks the fourth year that Muskegon has been a port of call for Great Lakes cruise ships.

Michigan has more ports than any other state in the region, which is indicative of the critical role

that shipping plays in the state’s economy. Great Lakes Seaway shipping is critical to the state’s mining, manufacturing, and energy sectors. Iron ore, limestone, cement, steel, and raw materials such as sand, gravel and salt all move through Michigan’s ports.

In the state of Michigan, Great Lakes Seaway shipping supports nearly 26,000 jobs and generates $3.1 billion in economic activity. The estimated economic impact of the Port of Muskegon alone is about $300 million annually.

In 2018, the Port of Muskegon handled over 17 thousand metric tons of international freight through the St. Lawrence Seaway System. New to the Port of Muskegon, shipments of bulk magnetite are credited largely for the amount of international freight handled at the Port of Muskegon. Magnetite is a very dense high purity iron ore used in high quality steel making and as a dense aggregate for the medical and energy industry.

“The Pacesetter award honors growth in international shipments, which has been vital to our growth and success” said Canestraight. “It’s critical to note that the growth of the Port of Muskegon ripples an effect of economic prosperity for the entire state of Michigan.”

About the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership
The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership is a coalition of leading US and Canadian maritime organizations working to enhance public understanding of the benefits of commercial shipping in the Great Lakes Seaway region of North America. The organization manages an education-focused communications program, sponsors research and works closely with media, policy makers, community groups, allied industries, environmental stakeholders and the general public to highlight the positive attributes of marine transportation.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System is a marine highway that extends 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Approximately 143.5 million metric tons of cargo is moved across the System on an annual basis, supporting more than 237,868 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity.

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From left to right: Cindy Larsen, Chuck Canestraight, Rebecca Yackley