Compared to other modes of transportation, Great Lakes-Seaway shipping produces the fewest amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of the combustion of carbon-based fuels in engines. It is one of several greenhouse gases whose concentrations have increased in the earth’s atmosphere. Moving the same cargo the same distance, rail transportation emits 19 percent more carbon dioxide than Great Lakes-Seaway shipping. Similarly, trucks emit 533 percent more carbon dioxide.
New ships being brought into service by several Great Lakes-Seaway vessel operators will help further reduce emissions. For example, Algoma Central Corporation’s new Equinox Class vessels will emit 45 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than the company’s existing ships. Fednav Limited’s new ships will emit 28 percent less than older ships in the company’s fleet.
Repowering existing ships also reduces emissions. For example, American Steamship Company has repowered two of its vessels with new generators which resulted in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, nitrous oxides and carbon monoxide. The Interlake Steamship Company recently completed the diesel repower of its last steamship – the M/V Herbert C. Jackson – in the final phase of a 10-year, $100 million modernization effort to create the most efficient, reliable and environmentally responsible fleet on the Great Lakes. The Jackson is Interlake’s fifth major overhaul and its fourth steam-to-diesel conversion since 2006, representing the company’s continuing commitment to shrink its environmental footprint by reducing emissions.