port of deluth

A ship at the Port of Duluth. Photo: The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership

U.S. and Canada Launch Green Shipping Corridor for Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway

Mike Schuler
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November 9, 2022

The United States and Canada have launched an initiative to establish a “green shipping corridor” for the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System.

Under the Initiative, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of State, and Transport Canada will work with state, provincial, local communities, private-sector and non-governmental leaders, and Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the United States to host consultations with ports and other stakeholders, with the goal of facilitating the establishment of a Great Lakes Green Shipping Corridor Network.

The green corridor was announced to coincide with the UN COP27 climate change conference taking place this week in Egypt and is one of several announced during the event.

Green corridors have been growing in popularity since last year’s COP26 conference in Glasgow. They are seen as a means to help the shipping industry decarbonize and involve setting up specific trade routes between major port hubs where zero-emission solutions are demonstrated and supported.

The are viewed viewed as a key means of spurring the early adoption of zero-emission fuels and technologies that will put the shipping sector on a pathway to align with the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

During last year’s COP26, a coalition of countries launched the Clydebank Declaration, agreeing to create zero emissions shipping routes to speed up the decarbonization of the global ocean shipping industry, which accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

The binational Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System is a unique commercial waterway reaching into the heartland of North America, extending more than 2,000 miles and containing more than 110 ports. More than 200 million tons of cargo travel on the waterway each year.

“Through the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System Green Shipping Corridor Network Initiative, Canada and the United States will work with industry to help facilitate the establishment of green corridors throughout the region, including by convening stakeholders and contributing to assessments and analyses relating to alternative fuels and power options within the system,” the U.S. and Canada said in a joint statement.

The Green Shipping Corridor Network Initiative builds on the work launched under the “Joint Statement by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada on the Nexus between Transportation and Climate Change,” issued February 25, 2021. 

“The governments view the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System Green Shipping Corridor Network Initiative as an important element in catalyzing development of the fuels and infrastructure needed to make the transition to low- and zero-emitting shipping, and, on both sides of the border, creating the jobs to make the fuel available and infrastructure development a reality.  In the future the Initiative may expand to support green shipping corridors on U.S. and Canadian routes along both countries’ coasts, leverage experience from similar initiatives in other regions, and supplement regional and global efforts already underway,” the countries said.

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