CMC calls for green corridor in the Great Lakes­–St. Lawrence region

Canada’s Chamber of Commerce (CMC), representing over 100 Canadian & U.S. ports, shipowners, and other marine transportation companies operating in the Great Lakes-St., has unveiled its 2023 wish list to legislators and policymakers targeting the creation of a “green corridor” in the Great Lakes­–St. Lawrence region.

Illustration, Image credit: Provided by Lower Lakes Towing. Chamber of Commerce

The idea of a “green corridor” involves collaborating with various players in the supply chain, including ports, cargo shippers, and ship operators, to speed up the process of achieving zero emissions.

However, for Canada and the U.S. to equally benefit from this initiative, there must be parity in policy and investment, CMC said. While the U.S. has recently announced a $370 billion Inflation Reduction Act aimed at investing in green technologies and enhancing infrastructure, there is currently no equivalent effort in Canada, the organization explained. The call comes ahead of the anticipated release of the Government of Canada’s budget that should help with job creation, increasing trade, and meeting net zero carbon emissions targets.

Creating a green corridor requires government and industry partnerships to ensure that the appropriate regulatory and investment conditions are in place to promote the adoption of greener shipping approaches.

With this goal in mind, the CMC is aiming for significant progress this year in the development of a “Made in Canada” approach to regulations and funding programs designed to decrease carbon emissions from short-sea shipping vessels used in trading patterns along the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence coastal and arctic regions.

The non-profit organisation is seeking partnerships between governments and industries to ensure the right regulatory and investment environments are in place to enable the adoption of greener approaches to shipping.

“In a world focused on improving environmental sustainability, strengthening supply chains, and maintaining economic momentum, marine delivers.  With continued partnership from Federal and provincial governments, we can achieve tremendous progress safeguarding our environment, protecting our economy, and meeting the needs of businesses and consumers throughout North America,” said Bruce R. Burrows, President and CEO, Chamber of Marine Commerce.

The Government of Ontario has committed to developing a Marine Transportation Strategy with the aim of creating jobs, increasing trade, and reducing congestion. The strategy is being formalized through consultation with industry and port communities, and it needs to be completed and enacted to realize its potential benefits. The CMC is urging the provincial government to complete the strategy by the end of 2023 and is willing to collaborate to achieve this goal.

 The Federal Government is assessing the recommendations of the Supply Chain Task Force and CMC is especially supportive of the following recommendations:

  • Establish a Supply Chain Office to unify the federal government’s responsibility/authority over transportation supply chain management across federal departments;
  • Immediately address Canada’s significant transportation supply chain labour shortage; and 
  • Develop, implement and regularly renew a long-term, future-proof (30- to 50-year) transportation supply chain strategy.

CMC recommended actions to improve the domestic supply chain, including managing water levels to ensure safe navigation on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, reforming pilotage to account for current technology and increase efficiency, and increasing public investment in port and waterway infrastructure. The CMC also seeks partnership with the U.S. government to achieve the goals of funding for port infrastructure development and encourages the Canadian government to keep pace with policy and investment.