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Cloud of uncertainty for Canadian marine shipping lifted


IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        Contact: Julia Fields 


 Ottawa, Canada The Chamber of Marine Commerce welcomed today’s decision by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to pursue a uniform, national ballast water standard.

The shipping industry has been requesting that New York reconsider its more stringent regulations and work with other stakeholders towards implementing a harmonized and science-based standard for ballast water treatment system requirements.  Scientists, marine shipping companies and the Canadian government had warned that the NYDEC’s ballast water regulations, which were intended to address the potential introduction of invasive species to New York waters, were unworkable due to a lack of technology.

In a press release today, NYDEC Commissioner Joe Martens recognized that shipping and maritime activity is critical to New York state and international commerce.  He said: “A technically feasible national standard which recognizes the critical economic role played by our waterways is the only viable way to address the spread of destructive aquatic invaders through ballast water.”

Chamber of Marine Commerce president, Raymond Johnston stated, “We applaud New York’s decision to pursue a uniform, national ballast water standard. However, we are we hopeful that all levels of government in the U.S. will agree on a technically feasible standard that is consistent with incoming Canadian and international standards set out by the International Maritime Organization.”

Johnston said: “During the past year, the federal government, in particular MP Pierre Poilievre has been meeting with NY state officials to express the concerns of the Canadian marine shipping industry about the potentially devastating economic consequences of New York’s regulations. Their advocacy efforts have been indispensable.”

New York’s regulations, if not ultimately aligned with federal and international ballast water standards, could have effectively stopped all inter-provincial, inter-state, and international traffic through the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes and would also affect all cargo moving in and out of the Port of New York and New Jersey. A recent study by transportation consultants Martin Associates, estimated that the regulations could have resulted in the potential loss of 55,000 jobs and $8.5 billion in economic activity in Canada.


In December 2008, the NYDEC issued regulations governing the discharge of ballast water from commercial vessels operating in New York’s jurisdiction. Under those rules, by August 1, 2013, all vessels operating in New York waters would be required to install environmental technology that could clean or treat ballast water to meet a water quality standard 100 times stronger than incoming standards established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Any vessels constructed after January 1, 2013 would be required to install environmental technology that can treat ballast water to a level 1000 times more stringent than the IMO.

Current Ballast Water Regulations

Today, vessels entering the Great Lakes region undergo the most stringent ballast management and inspection regulations in the world. All vessels entering the Great Lakes from abroad are required to exchange (pump out) their ballast water while still at sea and flush any empty tanks with ocean water. This two-pronged procedure helps to physically remove organisms from ballast tanks.

To ensure compliance, the U.S. and Canadian governments stop, board, inspect, and test every foreign ship entering the Great Lakes in Montreal – the gateway to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Since these protections were put in place in 2006, there have been no new discoveries of aquatic nuisance species in the Great Lakes.

For interviews, please contact Julia Fields at 613-294-8515.




About the Chamber of Marine Commerce (

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is a bi-national marine transportation industry association with a membership of approximately one hundred and fifty companies comprised of industrial cargo shippers (i.e. grain, steel, iron ore, coal, cement, gypsum, aggregate, salt, sugar) ship owners, ports, terminals and elevators, Seaway corporations, as well as logistics and marine-related companies. 

The marine industry is vital to our prosperity by enabling efficient trade within North America and around the world. As the safest, most efficient and environmentally smart method of carrying bulk freight, the increased use of marine transportation alleviates highway congestion, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and is a vital catalyst to overall economic prosperity.


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Marine Delivers is a bi-national, industry collaboration that aims to demonstrate the positive economic and environmental benefits, safety, energy efficiency, and sustainability of the shipping industry throughout the Great Lakes-Seaway System. The Marine Delivers initiative is administered by the American Great Lakes Ports Association in the United States, and the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Canada. 

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is a bi-national association that represents diverse marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as Canadian domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system's significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

Media Contact:
Jason Card
Chamber of Marine Commerce
(613) 447 5401