Canadian marine group touts environmental benefits of shipping goods by sea

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Amid international debate on climate change, Canada’s Ottawa, Ontario-based Chamber of Marine Commerce is urging stakeholders and governments to carefully weigh the environmental advantages of shipping vs. over-the-road transport methods.

The alert surfaces as Ontario finalizes details of a new system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and as federal government negotiators plan to meet in Paris for December’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting.

Stephen Brooks, Chamber of Marine Commerce President, said previous Canadian and U.S. regulations resulting from global environmental initiatives may not have properly distinguished between domestic and global shipping.

“Unlike the global shipping fleet, most domestic shipping competes directly with road and rail,” Brooks said. “The more we unnecessarily burden this short-sea shipping with extra costs, the greater likelihood this freight moves to less environmentally-friendly modes. We also need to think about the negative impact of thousands, even millions of more heavy trucks on our overburdened highways and in neighborhoods where our families live, work and play.”

Of all transport modes, ships have the lowest carbon footprint per ton-kilometer. A recent study showed that rail cars and trucks emit 19 percent and 533 percent more greenhouse gas emissions per cargo ton-kilometer, respectively, if these modes carry equal cargo loads the same distance as the maritime fleet.
“Canadian ship owners are investing over $2 billion in new Great Lakes ships and technologies that significantly further reduce fuel consumption, greenhouse gases and air emissions,"
Allister Paterson, president of Canada Steamship Lines, said.

Great Lakes-Seaway shipping supports 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in business revenues in Canada and the U.S.; contributes to North American manufacturing, mining, energy and agricultural-sector competitiveness; and provides efficient, sustainable and safe waterborne transportation vital to the success of North America’s agricultural and industrial heartland.

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Chamber of Marine Commerce

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