The Government of Québec has launched the first Maritime Strategy in Québec’s history and unveiled a 2015-2020 Action Plan. Included in the Action Plan are measures that contribute to the fight against climate change, which in turn includes encouraging the use of alternative energy sources in maritime transport, with specific mention of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
“I am announcing today a series of measures that will enable us to benefit fully and sustainably from our maritime potential and make Québec a special gateway for major markets in northeastern North America. We have been working for several months on the strategy, which has been eagerly-awaited, first by a number of partners and investors that we met during missions abroad but also by Québec businesses and many Québecers who live in the regions where spinoff will be especially apparent. It is a project that will mobilize Québec as a whole and that will have extensive economic, social and environmental benefits,” Québec Premier Philippe Couillard noted at the launch.
Priority 3, which focuses on addressing climate change, aims to replace modes of maritime transport that emit more green house gases (GHG). Item 2.2.5 explains: “GHG emissions attributable to maritime transport will soon be reduced following the adoption by the federal government of new maximum sulphur contents for the production, importing and sale of marine fuel used by ships on Québec’s navigable waterways. The regulation imposes the replacement of heavy fuel oil by marine diesel oil, LNG or other cleaner energy sources.”
The strategy acknowledges the Société des traversiers du Québec for its decision to adopt LNG for three vessels, explaining this measure will reduce GHGs by 20% compared to the vessels they will replace.
The strategy also calls for increased use of short sea shipping, proposes new intermodal solutions and bolsters the competitiveness of Québec’s maritime sector, adding further to the likely demand for LNG as a marine fuel. The use of LNG for cargo handling equipment is also encouraged.
“The Maritime Strategy is at one and the same time ambitious and realistic. It seeks to foster sustainable growth in Québec’s maritime economy and encourage the creation of stimulating jobs in all regions of Québec. By 2030, we estimate at 30 000 the number of direct jobs created in all regions. Tourism, fishing, logistics, research and maritime transport are some of the sectors that will benefit from the positive impact on employment,” Minister for Transport and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy Jean D’Amour said.
In a separate press release, Québec’s largest natural gas distribution company Gaz Metro has welcomed the Action Plan. “Gaz Métro applauds Québec’s first-ever maritime strategy, which includes fostering the use of natural gas as fuel—a key driver of Québec’s sustainable economic development,” said Stéphanie Trudeau, Vice President, Strategy, Communication and Sustainability at Gaz Métro. “Natural gas is a concrete solution for fighting climate change and allows local shipowners to comply with the increasingly stringent standards regarding polluting emissions on North America’s waterways.”
The initial action plan under the Maritime Strategy hinges on a financial framework of more than $1.5 billion unveiled in March 2015.
The unabridged version of the Maritime Strategy is available at strategiemaritime.gouv.qc.ca in the “Publications” section.
(Source: Government of Québec)