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Leveraging an international trade economy

The Buffalo Niagara region was built upon its proximity to the water and its location as a hub of international trade.

Our economy thrived on international industries that required a strategic connection to the Midwest and Pacific Ocean.

Last week, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership had the privilege of hosting our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, and Congressman Brian Higgins for a Roundtable Discussion about the Western New York Trade and Logistics industry.

The event featured a special guest presentation by the administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and former Congresswoman, Betty Sutton.

The roundtable discussion served as an opportunity to discuss strategic partnerships among stakeholders along what is now being termed as a single, international shipping thoroughfare: the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway water system.

Freighter aground in St. Lawrence Seaway

Freighter aground in St. Lawrence Seaway; Credit Flickr/CoastGuardNews

Ironically, the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway has been cited by many as a primary factor in our region’s economic demise, as it led to the Erie Canal becoming obsolete as a shipping route.

This event offered the opportunity for Buffalo Niagara and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation to re-evaluate our relationship, potentially as future partners in building a stronger transcontinental shipping industry.

Sutton’s insight allowed us to think outside the box on how we can leverage our collective Great Lakes System.

Locally, much attention has been given to the emerging International Trade Gateway initiative. The initiative aims to establish the Buffalo Niagara region as an inland port for east coast ports that are projecting significant over-capacities as they handle larger ocean vessels arriving from overseas.

The window is open for Buffalo to re-emerge as a major center of commerce.

Establishing our region as a unique, international location with first-class water, rail and roadway infrastructure will be critical to expanding our role as a hub on the Great Lakes System.

To learn more about the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Logistics and Transportation Council initiatives, please contact me.

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