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New Greener Ships for the Great Lakes

Shipowners are investing more than $1 billion to bring a new generation of super efficient, environmentally-friendly vessels to the Great Lakes-Seaway System over the next three years.

These first-class vessels, which include both ocean-going and domestic ships, will have the latest engine technology and hull design to increase fuel efficiency and decrease air emissions; double hulls to prevent spills in the event of an accident and state-of-the-art cargo handling systems to minimize dust and cargo residue.

Once government standards are established and technology is available, many of these vessels will also accommodate engine-exhaust gas scrubbers to further reduce air emissions, and ballast water treatment systems to mitigate the risk of introducing invasive species.

This recapitalization is an important step towards sustaining and growing an industry that moves millions of tons of raw materials annually for manufacturers, construction companies, farmers, and cities, and which is responsible for more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

  • One of the first new ocean-going ships to sail into the Great Lakes, was the M/V Federal Yukina, which arrived at the Port of Hamilton for a welcome ceremony in June 2011.  Twelve per cent more efficient than its predecessors, it saves 770 metric tons of fuel a year and releases 2,500 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide. In 2012 and 2013, the M/V Federal Yukina’s two sister ships will also begin transporting cargo in the Great Lakes-Seaway. These vessels will connect the region’s ports with overseas markets and facilitate international trade
  • Then in August 2011, the M/V Algoma Mariner was christened in Port Colborne, Ontario — heralding in a new era of state-of-the-art Canadian-flagged vessels dedicated to domestic trading in the Great Lakes-Seaway.  The M/V Algoma Mariner, owned by St. Catharines-based Algoma Central Corporation, boasts numerous environmental, navigational and safety improvements along with high-tech operational facilities and modern-living quarters for the ship’s crew. In 2013 and 2014, Algoma Central will bring another eight new vessels — two of which are owned by the Canadian Wheat Board — to the fleet.  These Equinox-class vessels will release 40 per cent less emissions than existing motor vessels, and feature numerous other systems to reduce a vessel’s environmental footprint.
  • In 2012-2013, Montreal-based Canada Steamship Lines will add four more new self-unloading bulk carriers to the Canadian Great Lakes fleet.  These Trillium-class ships feature new engine technology and hull design to reduce fuel consumption and air emissions and the latest generation in self-unloading equipment to prevent cargo spills and reduce noise in ports, amongst other improvements.