DETROIT Michigan’s exports destined for markets in Europe may soon traverse the 2,291-mile-long system of locks and canals of a privatized St. Lawrence Seaway, if the Canadian government has its way.

Over the objections of the United States, with which it shares the seaway, Canada is moving ahead with plans to turn over operations to a newly created nonprofit company. According to a report in the Washington Post, the Canadians see the move as a tool to increase efficiency and streamline operations.

Reporter Anne Swardson says that private management of the seaway is just the latest in a decade-long Canadian effort to downsize the national government: "Canada’s government has sold off the national airline, the national oil company, and the national railroad; provincial governments have put liquor authorities, mining firms, and electric utilities on the auction block."