November 28, 2022
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The U.S. Maritime Administration – known as MARAD – recently launched a 16-month study exploring low carbon options for shipping on the Great Lakes.

[Above photo by Michigan DOT]

The study, led by the International Council on Clean Transportation in partnership with the American Bureau of Shipping and the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers will assess the suitability of alternative fuels and power options for Great Lakes shipping.

Photo via the Michigan DOT

The bi-national Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System is one of the largest commercial waterways in the country and is essential to strengthening the economy, supply chain, and the creation of jobs. It extends more than 2,000 miles and contains more than 110 ports, Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips in a statement.

Over the next year and half, those researchers will assess alternative fuels and power options in the region and will develop a detailed profile of Great Lakes fleets, ports, and fueling infrastructure.  The project will also summarize relevant domestic and international environmental regulations that will influence the uptake of these technologies.

MARAD’s study mirrors similar efforts conducted in various parts of the country by state departments of transportation.

For example, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities and the Southeast Conference are currently collaborating on a low emission ferry project begun in May.

Photo by the Alaska DOT&PF

Alternative fuel powered, low emission, and electric ferries could be a game-changer for Alaska’s Marine Highway System, the agency said, as it starts replacing aging ferry vessels in upcoming years.

Fuel-efficient ferries could increase the range and capacity of the fleet, potentially increasing service to communities and reducing AMHS operating costs, noted Alaska DOT&PF Commissioner Ryan Anderson in a statement at the time.

“Revitalizing the Alaska Marine Highway System is so important to us,” he said. “Pushing forward to see if alternative fuels, low emissions, or electric ferries, could make our vessels more efficient, could potentially allow us to add service to our coastal communities.”

editor@aashto.org

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