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New Greener Ships for the Great Lakes

Shipowners are investing more than $4 billion to bring a new generation of super efficient, environmentally-friendly vessels to the Great Lakes-Seaway System.

These first-class vessels, which include both ocean-going and domestic ships, 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.

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 227,000 direct and indirect jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Between 2012-2015, Montreal-based Canada Steamship Lines added four new self-unloading and two gearless 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.
  • Between 2013 and 2018, St. Catharines-based Algoma Central is adding eight new vessels — two of which are owned by the Canadian Wheat Board — to its fleet.  These Equinox-class vessels will release 45 percent less emissions than existing motor vessels, and feature numerous other systems to reduce a vessel’s environmental footprint. This investment is in addition to the M/V Algoma Mariner, which was christened in Port Colborne, Ontario in 2011 — heralding in a new era of state-of-the-art Canadian-flagged vessels dedicated to domestic trading in the Great Lakes-Seaway.  
  • In 2015-2016, Montreal-based Fednav Limited, added 12 new energy-efficient vessels to its fleet and has nine more on order, all which will connect the Great Lakes-Seaway region’s ports with overseas markets and facilitate international trade. The ocean-going ships will be up to 28 percent more fuel efficient than their predecessors and will reduce air emissions by the same percentage. These new vessels make up part of Fednav’s 40-vessel fleet of lakers.