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Port of Bilbao and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway Forge Collaboration Agreement

In a significant move to bolster international trade, the Port of Bilbao and the ports of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway have signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC). This agreement aims to enhance mutual cooperation, develop trade relations, and share expertise, particularly in sustainability, connectivity, and innovation.

The agreement was formalized by Andima Ormaetxe, Operations, Commercial, Logistics, and Strategy Director of the Port Authority of Bilbao, and Adam Tindall-Schlicht, Administrator of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. Other key representatives included Rebecca Yackley, Director of the Office of Trade & Economic Development, Danielle Pierson, International Trade Specialist, and Peter Hirthe, Regional Representative of the Great Lakes. Also present were Maria Cartier, Market Development Manager of the Port of Milwaukee, and Samuel Hankinson, Port Development Coordinator of the Port of Monroe.

During the meeting, Bilbao’s port community learned about the Great Lakes and its ports, focusing on the potential for international trade, especially with the central and east coast of the United States. In return, UniportBilbao, the cluster dedicated to promoting and enhancing the port’s competitiveness, showcased the Port of Bilbao’s multimodal services and its robust logistics and transport capabilities.

The delegation from the Great Lakes also enjoyed a guided tour of the Port of Bilbao, exploring its extensive facilities and operational capacity. This visit underscored the importance of firsthand knowledge exchange in fostering stronger trade ties.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway is a vital waterway stretching 3,700 kilometers between the United States and Canada, linking the Atlantic Ocean to the headwaters of the Great Lakes. This route is a cornerstone of North American trade, moving over 200 million tonnes of goods annually, including iron ore, coal, limestone, grain, steel products, heavy machinery, and various bulk materials.

In 2023, the Port of Bilbao traded nearly 90,000 tonnes of goods with the Great Lakes region. Key exports included iron and steel products, machinery, chemical products, wine, spirits, construction materials, and foodstuffs, demonstrating the port’s diverse handling capabilities.

This new agreement not only strengthens the existing trade relationship but also opens avenues for innovative and sustainable practices. By pooling resources and knowledge, both regions aim to enhance their logistical efficiency and economic competitiveness.

With this MoC, the Port of Bilbao and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway are set to embark on a journey of closer cooperation, driving forward shared goals in trade and innovation.

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