Photo credit : Louis Rhéaume
Photo credit : Louis Rhéaume

The St. Lawrence Economic Development Council (SODES) is a non-profit organization that protects and promotes the economic interests of the St. Lawrence River. SODES represents the maritime community, which includes stakeholders from the private and public sectors whose activities affect the St. Lawrence economy directly or indirectly in every region of Québec. SODES seeks to be the marine sector’s voice vis-à-vis governments on matters related to the St. Lawrence economy and development, where cargo and passenger transportation, regional development and the environment are concerned.

History

SODES was founded in 1985 by Geographer Hugues Morissette to spearhead Québec maritime community development. SODES’s first president was Jacques Auger. Over the years, SODES has emerged as a leader in bringing together all economic stakeholders linked to the St. Lawrence River.

Mr. Morissette and SODES played a key role in developing the first Québec Marine Transportation Policy published in 2001. That same year, the Marine Industry Forum was created and met for the first time. This Forum brings together marine industry stakeholders and the Québec government and was created to ensure the effective, coordinated implementation of the initiatives proposed in the Québec Marine Transportation Policy. It has been co-chaired by the SODES Chairman of the Board and Québec Minister for Transport since its creation.

In 2005, the St. Lawrence awareness campaign, funded in part by the Quebec ministry of Transports and the marine industry, was launched. In 2007, SODES was involved in the creation of Green Marine, an environmental certification program developed by and for the marine industry. Initially focusing on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence region, Green Marine’s participants now span North America as a whole.

Another major SODES priority was coordinating the St. Lawrence – Great Lakes Trade Corridor study in 2008. This study highlighted the major trends in cargo transportation, diagnosed its bottlenecks and identified solutions.

In 2015, SODES celebrated its 30th anniversary. SODES continues to bring together and mobilize stakeholders from a wide range of sectors, who are concerned by and involved in the St. Lawrence’s economic development.

Mission

SODES’ mission is to « protect and promote the economic interests of the St. Lawrence maritime community from a sustainable development perspective. »

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