At a side event to COP28 currently underway in Dubai, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), Oceanex and QSL today announced their collaboration to create the first domestic green shipping corridor between Quebec and Newfoundland.
This corridor will make it possible to green one of Eastern Canada’s busiest shipping routes, used daily between the Port of Montreal and the Port of St. John’s, and served by Oceanex and QSL. This initiative is part of their respective efforts to propel the energy transition and play a leading role in decarbonizing the shipping industry.
The green shipping corridor project aimed to eliminate carbon emissions on a shipping route between two ports—between Montreal and Newfoundland—will consolidate the sustainable future of one of Eastern Canada’s most important shipping routes, which carries close to 500,000 tonnes of cargo (containerized and non-containerized) per year. This essential shipping route for the supply of food products accounts for about 100 operations per year, and has a trade balance of about 85% in exports to St. John’s and 15% in imports.
While shippers utilizing this route already reduce the emissions for freight transportation to Newfoundland by over 80% when compared to an alternate route consisting of road transport, the partners are looking to go beyond that.
As part of this cooperative venture between the Port of Montreal, Oceanex and QSL, the partners will work on implementing and using alternative fuels and direct electrification technologies, as they strengthen information sharing and data transparency, and jointly make representations to government bodies. According to analyses, the carbon footprint of freight transport between the Port of Montreal and the Port of St. John’s could be reduced by 27,000 tonnes of diesel and 87,000 tonnes of GHG emissions per year.
A global movement
Given that the transportation sector is the second largest source of GHG emissions in Canada, this project is part of a collective effort by shipping industry stakeholders to accelerate the energy transition.
For example, the Port of Montreal has announced its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2035, and is increasing its initiatives to achieve this. QSL, in its first ESG report published last September, has made a commitment to accelerate decarbonization by collaborating with stakeholders to identify and implement effective greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction actions. Oceanex has developed both fleet and land-based plans which measure environmental performance enabling the development of a roadmap toward minimizing its environmental footprint. Oceanex is committed to the reduction of green house gas emissions and is continually seeking opportunities to meet its goals of carbon neutral shipping.
On an international scale, this initiative is in line with the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the AIVP 2030 Agenda. Domestically, it follows on from the Clydebank Declaration ratified at COP26. Through this framework, Canada supports the establishment of zero-emission shipping lanes between two or more ports. The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act clearly sets out the Government of Canada’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and obliges Canadian ports to submit a reduction plan.
“We are united in our determination to shape a sustainable shipping future, to achieve our ambitious targets and to positively impact on our environment and our industry,” said Geneviève Deschamps, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Montreal.
“At QSL, we want to become a North American sustainability leader within our industry. Today’s announcement alongside our longtime partners Oceanex and the Port of Montreal is a new step to formalize that vision,” said Robert Bellisle, President and CEO at QSL.
Oceanex Executive Vice President, Matthew Hynes stated “Oceanex is proud to participate in this joint initiative and is committed to collaborating with our partners to spearhead the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on the vital transportation corridor between Montreal and St. John’s. This commitment underscores our dedication to support greener practices in the maritime sector, reaffirming Oceanex’s role as a responsible leader in the transportation industry.”
(Photos of QSL terminal at Port of Montreal and Oceanex vessel departing St. John’s harbour)