Marine Shipping Plays Vital Role in Canada

The Port of Thunder Bay had a fantastic September - with more cargo volume since September 1997
The Port of Thunder Bay
Federal Columbia in the Port of Thunder Bay. Shot April 29 2017 - Note the snow on the ground following a late season storm.
Federal Columbia in the Port of Thunder Bay. Shot April 29 2017.

VANCOUVER – TRANSPORTATION  A new study commissioned by Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping (Clear Seas), and conducted by the Council of Canadian Academies, concludes that marine shipping is of great value to Canadians in all regions.

“Marine shipping plays a vital role in Canada and touches the lives of all Canadians.  Although it is often ‘out of sight’ and therefore ‘out of mind’ for many, the total value of the shipping industry deserves to be recognized. I’m proud this is the first study of its kind to do so,” said Mary Brooks, Chair of the Expert Panel on the Social and Economic Value of Commercial Marine Shipping.

The Port of Thunder Bay is seeing over the past several years increased tonnage and increased numbers of ships coming into the port.

No Canadian Untouched by Marine Shipping

The study, The Value of Commercial Marine Shipping to Canada, demonstrates that no Canadians’ life is untouched by marine shipping.  Whether you are buying imported consumer goods, working in an auto plant in Ontario, or live in the Arctic, marine shipping has imparted value to your wellbeing.

“When examining the contentious issues that surround marine shipping today it is easy to overlook the aspects of our day-to-day lives that depend on it,” said Peter Ellis, Executive Director of Clear Seas. “It is my hope that when Canadians reflect on marine shipping that they do so in an informed way and by weighing both the risks and benefits.”

“This study helps contextualize how marine shipping influences everything from the choices that Canadian consumers make through to how prairie farmers get their goods to market,” added Ellis. “Broadly, it challenges us to consider how marine shipping is indispensable to our lives and the country’s prosperity.”

Among the report’s key findings:

  • The national impact of marine shipping is equal to approximately 1.8% of the Canadian economy, or about $30 billion – which is roughly the equivalent of New Brunswick’s economy
  • Nationally, marine shipping transports about 20% of Canadian exports and imports by dollar value
  • By carrying more than $200 billion of goods to and from global markets annually marine shipping is essential to international trade

The full report can be found at:

About Clear Seas: Clear Seas provides impartial information on marine shipping in Canada to policy makers and the public. Our mandate is to initiate and interpret research, analyze policies, identify best practices, share information and facilitate dialogue.

We collaborate with Indigenous groups, stakeholders and experts to identify knowledge gaps, share results of existing studies, and facilitate new research to ensure decision makers have access to accurate, up-to-date information.

Clear Seas received seed funding in 2015 through equal contributions of $3.7 million from the Government of Canada (Transport Canada), the Government of Alberta (Alberta Energy) and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Our funders saw the need for an independent organization that would be a source of objective information on issues related to marine shipping in Canada.

As an independent research centre, Clear Seas operates at arm’s length from our funders. Our research agenda is defined internally in response to current issues, reviewed by our research advisory committee, and approved by our board of directors.

Our board of directors is composed of scientists, community leaders, engineers and industry executives with decades of experience investigating human, environmental and economic issues related to our oceans, coastlines and waterways.

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