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Maritime Shipping; Relatively Green, And Getting Greener

April 24, 2013

Earth Day has been an American institution since its founding in 1970. Each year, we recognize the many efforts made across the nation to reduce our carbon footprint and move toward a greener economy.

This year, with our economy growing and shipments of everything from raw materials to parts and equipment to finished products increasing, I’d like to call attention to recent improvements in the shipping industry.

TOTE Shipholdings

Photo credit General Dynamics NASSCO and TOTE, Inc

For example, TOTE Shipholdings, a subsidiary of TOTE, Inc., a marine transportation company, is planning to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered container ships to operate between Jacksonville, FL, and San Juan, PR. With cleaner-burning LNG, we can significantly decrease emissions on our waterways.

According to TOTE, the 764-foot vessels will be the largest ships in the world primarily powered by LNG. In addition, the company is also planning to convert two existing diesel-electric powered vessels to liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion.

Announcements like these are a proud moment for me because it demonstrates that the maritime industry is not only setting the bar high for greener transportation, but also taking the Obama Administration’s commitment to a clean energy economy seriously.

Foss hybrid tug in Long Beach – The vessels that travel along our waterways are a critical piece of the national transportation network. And although marine vessels emit fewer emissions than their counterparts on road and rail, we’re happy to see that shipbuilders are not resting when it comes to reducing emissions and oil consumption.FOSS Hybrid Tug

The President has taken unprecedented action in aggressively working to reduce emissions and protect our environment. He set a national goal to cut America’s energy imports by one-third by 2025, and he proposed we meet this objective, in part, by reducing our transportation system’s enormous demand for oil.

As a world leader in freight transportation, the U.S. maritime shipping industry can play a decisive role in helping meet this goal. DOT’s Maritime Administration and its partners have pioneered work on liquid natural gas and other clean, renewable fuel sources that are making shipping a greener industry.

The construction and modification of these four LNG vessels is a prime example of industry leaders at work, joining DOT in helping America meet this important goal.

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