This revolutionizes the method for locking vessels through the Seaway and is the most important technological advance since the Seaway’s opening in 1959.
Increased safety, lower costs, reduced transit times
'This new technology is a significant modernization of the St. Lawrence Seaway’s infrastructure, and will enhance workplace safety, lower operating costs for carriers and decrease vessel transit times through the locks,' US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.
The Seaway’s hands-free mooring technology project is the first use of this technology for an inland waterway, and the SLSDC has prepared its workforce with the skills necessary to implement the new system.
The system uses vacuum pads, each providing up to 20 tons of holding force. The vacuum pads are mounted on vertical rails inside the lock chamber wall to secure the ship during the lockage process as it is raised or lowered while keeping it a fixed distance from the lock wall. The last step in the lockage operation consists of releasing the vacuum and retracting the pads so that the vessel can sail safely out of the lock.