Environmentally Smart Transportation – Inland and coastal shipping has tremendous opportunity to grow and support North America’s ambitions to deliver both economic and environmental progress. Ships are the most fuel-efficient way to move goods with the least amount of carbon emissions. Ports, terminals, the St. Lawrence Seaway and shipowners are working to further reduce the industry’s environmental footprint by investing billions of dollars in new ships and technologies and participating in improvement programs like Green Marine.

Increasing inland and coastal shipping is part of the solution for climate change.

Vessels are on average 7 times more fuel-efficient than trucks and 1.14 times more fuel-efficient than trains.  Rail and truck would emit 19% and 533% respectively more greenhouse gas emissions per cargo tonne/kilometre if these modes carried the same cargo the same distance as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway fleet.

Distance in kilometres one metric ton of cargo travels on 1 litre of fuel.

Ships are able to carry vast amounts of cargo in a single trip. Due to this carrying capacity, ships reduce road congestion and highway maintenance costs. It would take 7.1 million truck trips to carry the same amount of cargo that the Great Lakes-Seaway fleet does each year. That would increase existing truck traffic in the range of 35% to 100%, depending on the highway network. If Great Lakes-Seaway marine cargo shifted to trucks, it would lead to $4.6 billion in highway maintenance costs over 60 years.

Eco Ships

In the past 10 years, more than $4 billion has been spent to refurbish and build new domestic and ocean-going vessels for the region that have the latest engine technology and hull designs 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. Find out more >

Advancing Green Shipping

Marine shipping goes beyond its regulatory obligations to voluntarily improve all aspects of its footprint through the Green Marine environmental certification program. Ports, terminals, shipowners, Seaway corporations and shipyards undertake concrete and measurable actions to address 12 key environmental issues ranging from air emissions, waste management and ballast water to mammal protection and noise pollution. To receive their certification, participants must benchmark their annual environmental performance through the program’s exhaustive self-evaluation guides, have their results verified by an accredited external verifier and agree to publication of their individual results.  Find out more >

Tough Protections Against Invasive Species

The marine industry is committed to reducing, and eventually eliminating, the role it plays in the movement of aquatic nuisance species. Today, the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System has the most stringent ballast water management and inspection regulations in the world. Since the latest measures were introduced in 2006, no new aquatic nuisance species have been discovered in the Great Lakes due to shipping.  International regulations now require the installation of ballast water treatment technology aboard all ocean-going vessels. Find out more >