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Great Lakes Administrator Emphasizes Progress


As a featured speaker at the Maritime Trades Department (MTD) meeting on April 25 in Washington, D.C., Adam Tindall-Schlicht spoke on the importance of maintaining, upgrading and preserving the lakes and inland waterways that make up the U.S. side of the Great Lakes system.

Tindall-Schlicht serves as the eleventh Administrator of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS), an operating administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. As described by the Department of Transportation, “Administrator Tindall-Schlicht oversees the federal corporation responsible for the operation and maintenance of the U.S. portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway between Montréal and Lake Erie.” Prior to that, he served as the Director of the Port Milwaukee from 2018 to 2022.

Adam Tindall-Schlicht speaking on the state of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway. Mark Clements MTD Ex-Sec Treasurer (left) and David Heindel MTD President (right) listen.

He began by saying, “It is an honor to be with you today, with such a distinguished table representing our maritime industry community, and for the opportunity to express my gratitude for the leadership of this body. Both in my former role as Director of the Port of Milwaukee, and now as COA Administrator within the Biden-Harris administration, I’ve seen firsthand the dedication, the expertise and the invaluable partnerships that those at this table have helped form while we continue to contribute to the success and the shared endeavors of the maritime industry, and indeed within the Great Lakes region, of which I primarily serve.”

He then talked about the complexities involved in the operation of the locks system, before adding, “Central to these achievements is our unwavering commitment to our workforce. With 134 dedicated government employees of the Seaway – the majority of whom are skilled maritime trade professionals – we ensure reliable and efficient cargo movement. We bolster high-quality jobs, on both sides of the border. And indeed, the Great Lakes Seaway system, for almost 70 years, has stood as a testament to the collective efforts of these heroes of our maritime industry.”

Evoking the theme of a statement which would be adopted later in the day, he spoke about the next generation of mariners, saying, “As I look toward future generations of our industry, the GLS is very supportive of the recent executive order issued by President Biden related to expanding the use of registered apprenticeships in the maritime industry particularly, and we continue to examine how the GLS itself can best support new professional development initiatives for our unionized employees.”

He then highlighted a recent victory, pointing out, “To underscore the immense potential of waterways and of maritime activity, we are creating new economies, and certainly creating new opportunities for Great Lakes-based maritime workers. I also have to say that our collaboration with other government entities is working as well, including trusted bi-national partners, like again the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard, with whom we recently established a new cooperative vessel traffic service working group and agreement. The agreement exemplifies a commitment to enhancing workplace safety for our mariners lowering operating costs on board and on land, and achieving greater efficiencies in the movement of freight within the system.”

Later, he spoke about recent improvements made to the GLS: “Of course, we must acknowledge and highlight President Biden’s historic infrastructure bill, as these significant improvements continue to be allocated to port infrastructure development projects throughout the Great Lakes region that I oversee. Projects currently range from infrastructure improvements at port terminals, to renewable energy initiatives. All told, this work underscores the President’s commitment to fostering economic growth and sustainability, while creating new U.S. jobs again in the maritime sector.” He then listed the many recently completed or currently underway projects in the region.

“As I look around, at those of you in this room, I know that we share optimism. We share careful determination. And we carry a sense of purpose as we do this work together,” he concluded.

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