Canada’s shipowners set the nation’s election agenda

Canada’s federal election, to be held on October 19, is an important opportunity to boldly support the marine industry as a means to sustainable Canadian growth, says Robert Lewis-Manning, President of the Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA). During this election and post-election period, the CSA has urged political leaders to build upon Canadian domestic shipping for the Canadian economy and sustainable economic growth.

“The Canadian marine industry connects Canada’s economic capacity with the rest of the world,” says Lewis-Manning. “Not only does it generate $34 billion of revenue annually, but it also creates 98k jobs directly and indirectly for Canadians in the region of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence alone.”

The capacity and potential for using sustainable and safe marine transportation can be leveraged if federal parties consider the CSA’s 2015 Federal Election Platform, which includes the following:

• Investing in marine infrastructure such as ports and the St. Lawrence Seaway
• Addressing the urgent need to procure and/or charter ice breakers for the Canadian Coast Guard
• Promoting Canadian jobs and environmental protection by leveraging a robust Canadian shipping industry that employs Canadian expert seafarers
• Promoting economic growth through harmonized and streamlined regulations that promote an efficient supply chain. This includes immediately addressing the lack of harmonization of ballast water regulations between Canada and the United States.

“Canadian ships with highly skilled Canadian mariners have been safely carrying commodities for decades with minimal environmental impact in Canadian waters,” says Lewis-Manning. “Canadian companies are making significant investments in new vessels, technologies, and training. Our member companies are constantly striving to improve safety practices, reduce our environmental footprint, and support commerce.”

Canadian vessels trade with minimal impact on personnel and the environment. The rate of collision-related injuries for Great Lakes shipping is 17 times lower than the national rate for Canadian freight railways and 70 times lower than U.S. Class 1 freight railways.

As environmental stewardship and clean transportation is increasingly an economic and environmental imperative, the fact that a single Great Lakes bulk carrier can transport the same cargo volume as 963 trucks or 301 rail cars demonstrates how marine transportation is the most fuel efficient form of transportation. With the smallest carbon footprint, marine transportation emits 11.9 grams of carbon/metric ton/km while the footprint of rail is 14.2 grams and trucks is 75.5 grams. Moving to marine can reduce emissions while also taking trucks off heavily used roads, thereby yielding a significant positive social and environmental impact.

The Canadian Shipowners Association represents Canadian domestic vessels operating on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, the Canadian East Coast, and the Canadian Arctic. Over half of the commodities traded are between Canada and the United States. The annual economic benefit of domestic short sea shipping is approximately $34 billion, creating 227,000 jobs in Canada and the United States.

Reprinted from the Matitime Executive

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