In order to improve fuel economy, reduce operating costs, and comply with emissions regulations, vessel operators in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime Transportation System (MTS) have been investing in new vessels, new engines, and emission treatment systems. Some examples of recent emissions-related investments from MTS vessel operators include:
- Canada Steamship Lines’ recently added six new Trillium class vessels to its Great Lakes fleet. These vessels have new hull designs intended to reduce fuel consumption, and new engine technology to reduce air emissions such as nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.
- Interlake Steamship Company has repowered its steamships with more efficient engines and installed freshwater scrubbers to remove sulfur and particulate matter from engine exhaust. Interlake also utilizes excess engine heat to generate steam, helping to reduce air emissions associated with heating boilers. Interlake has also ordered a new vessel which will be equipped with newer, more efficient engines.
- Algoma Central Corporation has added eight new Equinox class vessels to its domestic fleet, with an eighth scheduled for completion in 2019. In addition to being about 45% more fuel efficient than previous generations of vessels, these new vessels are outfitted with exhaust scrubbers that remove sulfur emissions.
- Groupe Desgagnés has invested $200 million (CAD) to build four new tanker vessels equipped with dual-fuel engines that can be powered by liquefied natural gas, marine diesel, or heavy fuel oils. The use of natural gas as a primary fuel source means that these new vessels will emit about 25% less carbon dioxide, 85% less nitrogen oxide, and nearly no sulphur oxide or particulate matter.
- American Steamship Company has installed scrubbers on at least two of its vessels.
In addition to these equipment investments, many Great Lakes vessel operators have chosen to purchase low-sulfur marine diesel fuel, which complies with regulations for the North American Emission Control Area established under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).