No Immediate Seaway Effects.
Opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway this spring will not have any noticeable effect on the Sault, according to local businessmen and industrial representatives.
For example, to fill orders in foreign markets Roddis Lumber Company ships by rial during freeze-up to Montreal or to St. John's Nfld., and from there by water to England, Ireland, and France.
When the lakes are open Roddis uses CPR boats and expects to continue doing so unless substantial savings can be realized through use of ocean-going vessels.
At present the St. Mary's river is only 24 feet deep as compared with the 27-foot depth of Seaway, the depth required for the bigger ships.
Abitibi shipments to the States its only foreign market, are mainly to the central area and are carried by rail.
Official opinion at the Great Lakes Power Company is that the Seaway will benefit Canada as a whole, and the Sault only as part of that entirety Shipment of wheat would be part of the over-all benefit, as would be iron ore from Labrador brought with greater ease to furnaces bordering the lakes.
Dominion Bridge doesn't expect to be affected one way or the other since everything produced in the Sault is sold in Ontario.
A big question is whether cheaper imports will balance possible loss of business resulting for competition from foreign countries.
DO YOU THINK?
No prospect of decreased price is seen in relation to foreign cars. The Toronto distributor for Volkswagen, for instance, might effect a saving by having a cargo brought straight from Germany without unloading at St. John's Newfoundland, as previously.
Some of this saving will be eaten up by tolls going through the Seaway. At any rate, no reduction of retail price of the car is seen.
The same applies for British, French or Italian cars.
Harbor Master Frank Parr said that as far as speculation goes concerning the future, the average man's opinion would be just as good as an educated guess. "It would still be just a guess."he said.
Mention has been made of the Sault serving as a port for Northern Ontario, especially when this part of the province becomes linked by road with the Porcupine and Chapleau areas.
The only evidence of any preparation along this line was the recent proposal for a deep water harbor at Leight's Bay. This port however, would likely be used mostly by Algoma Steel Corporation and the government wants that company to share in the $3,000,000 cost of construction
A CPR spokesman said major users of a deep-water port in the proposed location would likely be ASC and Mannesmann Tube Company. To his knowledge, no other harbor facilities were being considered.
The CPR has a working agreement with four ocean-going Cunard vessels from Liverpool. They are not likely to get up this far until the proposed deepening of the St. Mary's River to 27 feet in 1961. Even then there may be no reason for them to come this far and no facilities if there were a reason.
Docking facilities, water depth population concentration and industry are the principal elements in a city becoming a port of call for the big ships.
At present it is stated that only Milwaukee and Chicago of all cities on the inland lakes have all these requirements.
Little danger is expected that large foreign ships will take over business on the Great Lakes.
The cost of operating the big boats is more than $1,000 per day. This can only be balanced by straight hauling jobs with a full cargo of cargo to be unloaded at one stop. They could not afford piece meal loading and unloading from stop to start as carried on by the smaller lake vessels
Capt Manzzutti of Yankcanuck Steamship Lines believes that there will be no sudden impact on the Sault with the opening of the Seaway. Any influence it does have, he thinks will be gradual and a result of other inter-acting factors.