WWF Canada Blog:
Fresh Water

News, views and analysis from our team as we work to create solutions to conservation challenges facing our planet.


Touring the latest and greenest in cargo ships with CSL

By Jessica Fisher, Manager of Strategic Partnerships, WWF-Canada 

I must admit that prior to joining WWF-Canada, I didn’t give much thought to how the goods we rely on get to us. So my work with one of our corporate partners, Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), has taught me a lot about the economic and environmental impacts of the transportation industry.  Last week I had the privilege of touring CSL’s newest state-of-the-art vessel in the Port of Montreal, the Baie St. Paul. One of seven new Trillium Class vessels in CSL’s fleet, the ship is a behemoth – at 700 feet long, it is the length of two football fields!

WWF team on CSL ship

© Bob Rangeley, WWF-Canada 2013

I learned from CSL’s crew that the ship is the most technologically advanced and environmentally-friendly self-unloading vessel on the Great Lakes today. Compared to conventional ‘lakers’, these vessels use less fuel, release significantly fewer emissions, minimize cargo residue and provide overall operational efficiency. My colleagues and I were treated to a tour of the ‘guts’ of the ship; the engine room with its towering propulsion system, onboard sewage treatment facility, and more gears, buttons and levers than a jumbo jet! Seeing CSL’s trademark self-unloading system was also an eye-opener.

Jess on CSL ship

Me, on the ship. © Bob Rangeley, WWF-Canada 2013

The launch of the Baie St. Paul represents a landmark achievement for CSL and is a clear example of leadership in environmental responsibility. The company’s investment in this first-grade technology shows that they are willing to do what it takes to reduce the footprint of shipping on our waters.  It also sets a new standard for bulk cargo shipping in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway. I learned recently that international and domestic shipowners have spent over $1 billion on 32 new environmentally-friendly ships designed to trade on the Great Lakes, with new domestic Canadian-flagged bulk carriers starting to trade in 2013. This scale of renewal hasn’t been seen in 30 years.

Here’s wishing the Baie St. Paul a successful, low-impact maiden voyage!