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Officials navigating ways to spread sea trade from St. Lawrence to western NY

Chris Caya

Buffalo's status as the "Queen City" of the Great Lakes started slipping with the St. Lawrence Seaway's opening in 1954. But after a recent meeting downtown with Seaway Administrator Betty Sutton, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state is resetting the relationship.

"We are going to be working very closely with the administrator, capitalizing on her connections, to bring opportunities for new shipping, new container opportunities for businesses here, to bring in imports, but most importantly to create an opportunity to export to other countries from products that are made here in western New York and the state of New York," Hochul said

The Seaway's Sutton says instead of a Rust Belt the region's really an "opportunity belt." She says waterborne commerce has several advantages often overlooked.

"We need to look at this afresh. And see what the possibilities are, capitalizing on the merits of Buffalo and this area and how we can utilize this waterway," Sutton said.   

The Buffalo-Niagara Partnership's Dottie Gallagher-Cohen says the Seaway Corporation has a lot to offer businesses including funding, data, and connections to help economic development.  

"It's an exciting, exciting opportunity for us to explore."