In focus

Slow progress continues for Great Lakes/Seaway shipping

Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway shipping recorded improvements in October with U.S. grain and project cargo shipments helping to lift tonnage volumes in a turbulent season.

A total of 27.7 million metric tons of cargo moved through the St. Lawrence Seaway (April 1 to October 31), down 7.9 percent from 2019.

Year-to-date U.S. grain shipments via the Seaway totaled 1.3 million metric tons, up 10.7 percent. The recent boost comes from Midwest grain exports heading to global destinations such as the United Kingdom, Israel and Portugal.

Canadian grain shipments are up 21 percent from this time last year as ships began exporting the fall harvest. Other cargo segments such as iron ore (-16 percent), dry bulk (-15 percent) and liquid bulk (-32 percent) remain down due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic.

“In a difficult year like 2020, it’s wonderful to see Canadian grain in high demand around the world,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway has been a critical export gateway for prairie grain throughout the year, and Ontario soybean shipments are now well underway. We expect the Ontario soybean harvest to reach record yields by the end of the season. More than 35 percent has been harvested already.”

Project cargo shipments this season, such as wind turbine components, also continue to hold strong, up 71 percent.

In early November, the Port of Cleveland received the first shipment of Mass timber for the INTRO construction project through the port’s vessel partner Spliethoff Group. Mass timber, manufactured in Austria, is solid, engineered wood, such as cross-laminated timber and glue-laminated timber, primarily used for loadbearing structures.

The material is new to construction projects in Cleveland, the state of Ohio and most of the United States, and once the INTRO project is complete in early 2022, it will be the tallest Mass timber building in the country.

Also in November, the Port of Toronto saw the arrival of Waterfront Toronto’s new port lands bridge. This delivery demonstrates the port’s role in an important supply chain, according to Geoffrey Wilson, CEO of PortsToronto.

The bridge was brought into port by McKeil Marine via the Lois M and Glovertown Spirit. The bridge is the first of four new bridges that will connect the new Villiers Island to Toronto and the revitalized Port Lands.

The remaining bridge loads are expected to be completed during the 2021 shipping season.

“In November and December, manufacturers stockpile inventory for the winter months, municipalities stock up on road salt ahead of the snowy weather and grain exports are pushed out before the season closes,” said bruce burrows, President and CEO of the chamber of Marine commerce. “This year has certainly been challenging for many of us, including ports and ship operators, but we’re optimistic we’ll continue seeing improvements as we enter these final weeks.” ▢


Michelle Cortright


Michelle Cortright is Publisher of Great Lakes/Seaway Review and Harbor House Publishers. She purchased the business from her father, diversifying the company into custom publications for chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. It has and continues to assist in regional business growth by creating business magazines, visitor guides and aiding clies with image development.
As Publisher, Cortright oversees every aspect of product creation, which encompasses the editorial and business sides of our print, digital and mobile publications. She meets with clients, which we consider true partners, spearheads business development and is always looking ahead for “the next thing.”
There is often laughter coming from Cortright’s office as she interacts with partners from throughout the Midwest. She is fully entrenched in her labor of love, a company we now celebrate for 50 years of making a difference and supporting families.
She is the mother of an adult son, who is now a business owner in the same town, and is married to Rod Cortright, who pretends to be retired but remains involved as our corporate pilot and jack-of-all-trades.

Tina Felton

Executive Vice President

“For over 20 years, I have had the privilege of being a member of the talented team which produces Great Lakes/Seaway Review. Of utmost importance to me are the people and relationships that I have developed with our stakeholders, advertisers, subscribers and business associates in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry.
“Growing up in the Great Lakes area, I have always been intrigued by the water and the role it plays commercially, economically and in the quality of life it provides me personally as an avid boater on Lake Michigan. May the legacy of this 50th anniversary edition of Great Lakes/Seaway Review be a catalyst for the next 50 years of inspiration, innovation, advocacy and the development of relationships for advancing the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system.”

Janenne Pung


Janenne Irene Pung has been Editor of Great Lakes/Seaway Review for 16 years. During her time with the magazine, she has represented the company at binational meetings, more fully activated the Editorial Advisory Board, developed new departments and evolved editorial styles.
Prior to joining Harbor House Publishers, Pung worked in mainstream media as a reporter and editor. She then moved into risk communications for the nuclear industry, documenting (visually and in writing) and communicating the process of decommissioning a plant and returning the lakeside property to a natural state.
In addition to being a professional, Pung is a wife and mother. She teaches life skills at a woman’s transition home and is a member of the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit. In both roles, she helps people work through trauma.

Andrea Lee

Associate Editor

“As a writer for Great Lakes/Seaway Review and Great Laker magazines, part of my job is to tell the stories behind the mighty vessels that sail the Great Lakes—the men and women who crew them, the cargoes they carry, the ports they call on. It feels strangely personal now to see them out on the Lakes. A point of light on the horizon sends me running for my Ship Finder app to discover who she is and where she’s headed. My experience here has given me a much greater understanding of the Great Lakes/Seaway system and a profound appreciation for the people who make it work.”

Cris Shankleton

Creative Director

“For years, Great Lakes/Seaway Review was the monster project in our office that I didn’t have to tackle. When becoming Creative Director, I was nervous about the daunting task of designing the magazine. Since then, the team has worked hard to modernize our look and make the magazine as beautiful as it is informative.”

Jen Shock

Production Manager

“Growing up, the Great Lakes were a place to swim and watch sunsets. After helping produce the magazine, I’ve learned that they are home to an entire network of companies which provide materials that support my everyday life. Each time I send the magazine to press and help prepare the digital edition, I feel a deep sense of accomplishment.”

Leif Hanson

Technology Director

“I’m the guy behind the scenes coding, creating the website and, most recently, designing the magazine’s online archive. I make shipping more visible for our subscribers and advertisers, as well as track global use of our digital products. It’s always a challenge to bring new technologies into a historic industry that’s still known for blue-collar production, but it’s a challenge I enjoy.”

Candi Wynn

Account Executive

“For several years I worked with a Mackinac Island, Michigan-based company and had the pleasure of photographing and taking videos of vessels passing through the Straits of Mackinac, especially the Round Island passage. My love and admiration for them was formed—and continues to grow. I now have the pleasure of working in the maritime industry and understand how important and vital these vessels are to our region and the economy. My goal is to work with our partners in the industry to help us all reach our collective best in the years ahead.”

Bill Wellman

Senior Account Manager

Great Lakes/Seaway Review knits together every aspect of the Great Lakes commercial maritime industry from deckhands to CEOs to ports.”

Jim Fish

Senior Account Manager

“I’ve known the magazine since Volume 1, first as a consultant in St. Paul working with Great Lakes clients and later as the Great Lakes Commission Executive Director, partnering with Jacques LesStrang. The last 30 years, I’ve worked on the inside.
“What makes Great Lakes/Seaway Review different is informed advocacy. Everything in the magazine is informed, factual and researched. We have spearheaded and partnered in research that led us to advocate for season extension, forgiveness of Seaway debt and removal of tolls, designation of the Fourth Seacoast, recognition and control of invasive species and many other issues benefitting the system today.
“Informed advocacy draws people to Great Lakes/Seaway Review for information and understanding—and it’s what makes it valuable to our advertisers and our readers.”

Kathy Booth

Account Manager

“I’ve been a part of the sales team with this magazine for more than 15 years and, in that time, I’ve learned so much about the importance of our Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. But nothing compares to the clients and the relationships we’ve built over the years. Their knowledge and compassion for the maritime industry is amazing. Truly, where would we be without them? Production efficiencies and technology continue to move the industry forward, but it doesn’t happen without all the people we call friends and family.”

Ellen Trimper

Account Manager

“Working on Great Lakes/Seaway Review has taken me from having a simple appreciation of the Great Lakes from a living/recreation standpoint to a deeper understanding of the system and all it encompasses.”

Rex Cassidy

Account Manager

“Any successful business relies on timely, accurate information to stay ahead in their industry. Great Lakes/Seaway Review magazine is a trusted source of news and analysis of information needed by all members of the maritime community.”

Pat Rumpler

Account Manager

“Historically, many of my family members have traveled the Great Lakes as ship captains, first mates and engineers. In fact, I had a family member perish when the Bradley went down in November 1958. As a child, my aunt would take me to the port in Rogers City to watch the ships load and unload their cargo. The mystique and beauty of the Great Lakes have been of particular interest to me.
“For the past 26 years, I have had the privilege of working with this talented team, which truly supports and advocates for the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system.”

Sheri Rhoads


“As an advocate for water, a member of Friends of the Boyne River, I appreciate what I learn from the magazine each time I proof its stories. The technology being developed to assure environmental sustainability shows how industry stake-holders live as environmentalists, too.”

Carol Ochs

Office Manager

“I have early childhood memories of my dad loading us in the car on a Sunday afternoon and driving up to the Soo to watch the boats go through the locks, eat ice cream and buy saltwater taffy. I still go several times during the season. I have always loved that you can talk to the sailors on the ships—asking them where they’ve been and what they’re hauling. It’s like the whole world is at your doorstep.”

Jacques LesStrang

Publisher Emeritus

“Lake ports can grow no faster than shipping will permit. Shipping cannot grow beyond the capabilities of the ports. Yet neither has come close to reaching their present potential and will not until the savings in time and in dollars is fully understood by those who make the decisions on how and when and where to move goods. To the ends of development and information, the Seaway Review dedicates itself.”

Dave Knight

Editor from 1985-2003

“Jacques LesStrang, founder of Great Lakes/Seaway Review, had many talents, or “skill sets,” as we say today. But one that served him particularly well throughout his career as a writer, editor, publisher, publicist, etc., was his knack for knowing a good story when he saw it. And the story he recognized in 1969—the 10th anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway—was as good as it gets. In fact, that story was so good it is still being told today, 50 years later.
“The publication created by LesStrang, or “J.L.” as his staff knew him, to mark the Seaway’s 10th anniversary was so well done, and so well received, that it grew legs, as it were, and took off running as a full-color, high-quality quarterly which became the most widely recognized chronicler of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system. Having Great Lakes/Seaway Review continue in that role today speaks volumes about the ongoing commitment of the current Publisher Michelle Cortright to Jacques LesStrang’s vision and high standards. Staying competitive in today’s information scrum is challeng-ing, to say the least, for print media. It requires dynamic, well-researched, topical content presented accurately and in a visually compelling format. In other words, it requires telling a good story. That was true in 1969, it is still true today and nobody tells it better than Great Lakes/Seaway Review.”