Prepared by: MariNova Consulting Ltd.
September 21, 2015
This research on short sea shipping explores global trends and assesses the responsiveness and fluidity of the Canadian transportation system through a review of emerging best practices in Europe, the United States, and Australia. Short sea shipping is studied in the context of a broader multi-modal transportation system, looking specifically at Halifax-Hamilton and Hamilton-Montreal services from marketing, technical, economic, and policy perspectives. The report considers the concept of operating a short sea feeder service between Halifax and Hamilton under four scenarios. It also examines the potential of a Montreal-Hamilton feeder service and finds that such a service can only be competitive with rail transportation under the most favourable un-encumbered conditions. The study assesses the feasibility of extending the Seaway season, and concludes that an additional four weeks can be added for a resultant 10½ month season. The report highlights an ongoing issue for Canadian operators with respect to “cabotage,” related to the Coasting Trade Act. Finally, the research confirms that short sea shipping could play a role in alleviating congestion along the Highway 20/40 and 401 corridors, the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and the Greater Toronto Area, and the authors recommend a few priority actions for consideration.