Hwy H2O Signs Agreement with Seaports of Niedersachsen

By Christi Kleiner  |  Ports & Terminals
In an effort to build international trade on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, Highway H2O (Hwy H2O) has entered into an agreement with the Seaports of Niedersachsen (SoN). During a delegation trip through Niedersachsen and Bremen in September, Hwy H2O signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with SoN, which is the marketing association that represents eight German ports. Hwy H20 first signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with SoN in 2006. Over the last 17 years, the two regions have established a successful transatlantic trade relationship. This updated agreement continues the marketing alliance between the two groups to foster collaborative opportunities between the German region and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.

The agreement was signed by Rebecca Yackley, director of the Office of Trade & Economic Development with the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation on behalf of Hwy H2O and Felix Jahn, managing director of SoN. Yackley hopes this relationship will further increase trade on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System. “In signing this agreement, we look forward to continued collaboration and growing communication not only between the two regions, but also beyond—always with the end goal of raising awareness and increasing trade,” Yackley said.

Leaders hope this marketing agreement will benefit the German region and the Seaway System by leading to an increase in tonnage and vessel calls, as well as the development of emerging cargo sectors. As part of the memorandum, SoN and Hwy H2O will remain committed to environmental initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the maritime industry. “With the designation of the Seaway as a Green Shipping Corridor, we can attract social responsibility-minded companies by offering the most environmentally friendly way to get their products to the heartland of North America, which is an increasingly important feature for international companies,” Yackley added.

In addition to the agreement with SoN, Hwy H20 also has a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Ligurian Ports in Genoa, Italy, and the Port of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Yackley said they plan to renew the Ports of Genoa agreement in March 2024, when Hwy H20 travels to Genoa, Italy to participate in the Cruise Week Europe trade show.

Yackley said route planners don’t consider the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System because they aren’t aware of its capabilities and features. She added that international companies do not realize that they can reach the heartland of America through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.

Hwy H20 hopes to renew a similar agreement with Amsterdam in September 2024 and establish a new Memorandum of Cooperation with the Port of Bilbao, Spain, in May 2024 ahead of Breakbulk Europe. “Our goal is to increase utilization of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System. By establishing these relationships, we grow awareness of our ports and their capabilities, and drive more opportunities to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System,” Yackley added.

Highlights from the Memorandum of Cooperation

  • Joint Marketing and Promotion: SoN and Hwy H2O will establish marketing and promotional initiatives to raise awareness about trade opportunities between the two regions. This could be through joint advertising campaigns, participation in international trade shows and events, or through an online platform that will highlight the ports and their capabilities.
  • Exchange of Data, Information and Best Practices: Both marketing groups will share relevant information such as data on markets, shipping trends, cargo volumes, port capacities, operational efficiency and other topics. The regions hope to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions regarding future maritime operations.
  • Training and Skilled Development Programs: Hwy H2O and SoN agree to create plans to improve training and skilled development programs for workers. These plans could include exchange programs where port personnel from one region are sent to the other for training and skill development opportunities.
  • Collaborative Research and Development: Groups agree to collaborate on joint studies on port efficiency, digitization, automation, environmental impact reduction and other topics to benefit operations.
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