The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced the opening of the Seaway’s 55th navigation season with the transit of Canada Steamship Lines’ newly built Baie St. Paul through the St. Lambert Lock. Marking the first of a series of new vessels being constructed specifically for use in the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Baie St. Paul ushers in a new era in domestic shipping.
“Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) ranks prominently among a number of Canadian shipowners who are committing hundreds of millions of dollars to build new vessels, testifying to the confidence these firms have in the future of the Great Lakes-Seaway System,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the SLSMC. “The new vessels coming into service will bolster marine transportation’s competitive edge as the most energy efficient means of moving cargo.”
“The Baie St. Paul is the first of CSL’s Trillium Class of vessels, which sets new standards in operational and energy efficiency, reliability and environmental protection,” said CSL’s President Louis Martel. “The Baie St. Paul is 15% more fuel efficient than CSL's previous class of ships – vessels that were already among the most efficient in the Lakes – and will save approximately 750 tons of fuel per year, amounting to a yearly carbon emission reduction of 2,400 tons.”
Companies seeking to bolster their supply chain’s sustainability are taking note that ships have a very small carbon footprint. The SLSMC’s Bowles said: “A peer-reviewed study, released in February of 2013, confirms that marine generates the least greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of any transportation mode. The new vessels can move a ton of cargo very efficiently, and when compared to the state-of-the-art equipment in alternate modes, generate 38% less GHG emissions than rail and 88% less GHG emissions than trucks.”
In terms of the outlook for cargo volume on the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2013, the SLSMC’s Bowles noted that he continues to be upbeat. “Seaway tonnage is forecast to exceed a total of 40 million tons for the year,” Bowles said.
Craig Middlebrook, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, stated, “The resurgence of manufacturing in North America is fueling demand for both traditional and new Seaway cargoes, having positive implications for Great Lakes shipping. Just as the private sector is investing in new vessels and new engines, public sector investments in lock rehabilitation, port infrastructure, and new navigation technologies are laying the foundation for sustained future growth.”