Are Busy Fitting Out Canal Boats
Erie Boatmen Are Fitting Out about
400 of Them at New York
Some four hundred canal boats are fitting out in New York and getting ready for the opening of the Erie Canal, which is now scheduled for April 25. About one-third of these have already secured charters for freight from there to Buffalo, and some of them are loaded and ready to start up the river with the first tow that leaves to open the great state waterway for the season.
The outlook for eastbound freights is better than usual, according to canalmen and their New York agents. Only about 30 boats wintered in Buffalo, and these are already grain-laden and waiting for a chance to start eastward. When the canal opens, it is prophesied, the demand for canal carriers will run eastbound freights up to a higher figure than has been recorded in many years, because of the scarcity of boats at the Buffalo end.
There is plenty of grain there to move and, because of the high rates the railroads are now holding, thee will be an unusual demand for canal charters. For this reason the captains who wintered in New York are anxious to race westward as soon as the way is open.
The same thing is said to be true of lumber freights and rates from Tonawanda eastward. Most of the lumber canal carrying fleet wintered in the east, and the Tonawanda lumber dealers are hunting for tonnage to carry early shipments to the seaboard market, offering better rates than canal men have been able to get in years.