Study shows Canada is positioned at the forefront of maritime decarbonization

Canada could reap numerous benefits from infrastructure investments that would enable the adoption of low- and zero-emission marine fuels, according to a new study by global sustainable development consultancy Arup, conducted in partnership with Lloyd’s Register (LR) Maritime Decarbonization Hub.

Canada is targeting net-zero emissions by 2050 and is developing a national action plan, the 2030 Emission Reduction Plan, to align emissions reductions in the marine sector with that goal. In addition, the government is taking direct action to reduce emissions from its own ships and has developed the Canadian Green Shipping Corridors Framework to support these commitments.

In addition, Canada has also co-sponsored a proposal at the International Maritime Organization aimed at raising the ambition of greenhouse gas reduction strategies to align them with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The study The Canadian Green Shipping Corridor Assessment was commissioned by Oceans North, a charity that supports marine conservation and climate protection in partnership with indigenous and coastal communities, and the Vancouver Maritime Center for Climate.

The study produced examples of illustrative fuel production pathways for three Canadian ports: Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Halifax. The study examined the potential development of the use of low- and zero-emission fuels in different scenarios to estimate the size, type and cost of the infrastructure required.

Because British Columbia has one of the world’s least carbon-intensive grids, there is a significant opportunity to produce low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels.

The study concludes that a 200,000 tonne-per-year green methanol plant in the Port of Vancouver has the capacity to meet 2040 energy needs. It also finds that an ammonia plant using carbon capture and storage could meet the energy needs of the Port of Prince Rupert in 2040.

In Nova Scotia, significant offshore wind power capacity is expected to make the province a major exporter of low- and zero-emission fuels. The study concludes that a capital investment of up to $500 million could allow the Port of Halifax to act as a central hub for the support and distribution of sustainable ammonia-based fuel from large manufacturing facilities elsewhere in Nova Scotia.

In addition, investing in sustainable infrastructure offers significant economic benefits. This includes minimizing the risk of climate change in Canada’s energy and transport sectors, as well as creating future-proof jobs and enabling economic growth. In addition, it would create opportunities to decarbonize road transport, rail, shipping, aviation and other fuel-using sectors by identifying demand aggregation opportunities and unlocking economies of scale.

“Canada has the renewable energy mindset, talent and landscape to build a coalition that demonstrates zero-emission shipping. “We must now unite stakeholders across the port supply chain with green shipping corridors – as catalysts to address challenges and develop resilient infrastructure designs that optimize the co-benefits of Canada’s unique geology.” Ginger Garte, environmental and sustainability director for the Americas at Lloyd’s Register, said.

“Green Shipping Corridors are an important step towards decarbonizing the maritime sector and this report shows that Canada could be a leader in this area. It is up to partners along the port supply chain, as well as governments, to seize this opportunity and ensure that the fuels of the future meet the highest global emission reduction standards.” Brent Dancey, Director of Marine Climate Action, Oceans North, said.

“As the gateway to the Pacific Northwest and home to Canada’s largest port, BC is ideally positioned to lead the decarbonization of shipping by providing future fuels and the technology needed to take green shipping corridors from concept to reality. “This study is an important first step in understanding the key barriers and opportunities associated with corridor implementation and identifying opportunities for success,” said Elisabeth Charmley, Managing Director of VMCC.

At least four green shipping corridors involving Canadian ports have been announced and there is an opportunity to build on these early advances and establish Canada as a shipping leader
decarbonization.

Namely, the Port of Antwerp and the Port of Montreal are working together to create a transatlantic green shipping corridor, and the Halifax Port Authority and Hamburg Port Authority have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the development of a green corridor. The Pacific Northwest to Alaska Green Corridor Project is studying the feasibility of a green corridor connecting Alaska, British Columbia and Washington. In addition, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is studying the potential for a green shipping corridor on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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