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Develop an information guide on maritime transport

Context and project description

Of all the means of shipping merchandise, maritime transport is one of the most environmentally friendly: great energy efficiency, low greenhouse gas emissions, minimal land use, and reduced social disruptions (noise, accidents, smog etc.). Even oil spills are less severe in number and in volume with transport by boat than with land-based modes, as can be read in the <media 763 - - "TEXTE, Sustainable Navigation Strategy for the St. Lawrence, SND_longue_e.pdf, 4.5 MB">first Sustainable Navigation Strategy for the St. Lawrence</media> (p. 86, paragraph 2 and Table 19).

This is what the St. Lawrence Action Plan contends through the Navigation Coordination Committee information guide for the general public that will be published in 2016. However, the document will not be limited to the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of maritime transport. It will also deal with numerous challenges facing it: atmospheric emissions and oil spills of course, invasive alien species (sometimes transported in the ballast water of ships), management of wastewater, impact on river banks by waves created by ships, harmonization of the multiple uses of the St. Lawrence and many others. There is also a socioeconomic component, as well as information on the main environmental and governmental actors that have an interest in maritime transport, in addition to initiatives taken by the maritime industry to reduce its impact on the environment.


The document “Navigation on the St. Lawrence: Echo of the Past, Path to the Future” (PDF) discusses various aspects of recreational boating and commercial shipping. It highlights the St. Lawrence River’s biodiversity and its sustainable recreational and economic uses. For example, it explains the lock operations and the important role played by the Canadian Coast Guard in ensuring safety.

Participating departments

Government of Canada

  • Transport Canada
  • Environment and Climate change Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Canadian Coast Guard
  • Laurentian Pilotage Authority

Government of Quebec

  • Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l'Électrification des transports 
  • Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
  • Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs 
  • Ministère du Tourisme