DULUTH, MN– The Duluth port sees all sorts of ships passing in and out of the harbor.
Often times, these ships are carrying massive, industrial loads of equipment or commodities; things you’d expect to leave a measurable trail of waste.
The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is aiming to ensure the harbor stays green.
The Port Authority runs and operates the number one tonnage port on the Great Lakes, with a clear mission in mind. “Bring economic development to the region, business to the ports, and to advocate for maritime and transportation interests,” says Director of Government & Environmental Affairs with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Jeff Stollenwerk.
Nearly 35-million tons of cargo comes through the port each year. With so much marine traffic, comes a lot of waste and energy use, an issue not ignored by the Port Authority.
This year, the agency earned top marks when it comes to keeping the ports green. Stollenwerk says, “Green Marine is a voluntary environmental certification program […] it’s designed to help us investigate and evaluate our environmental performance in a number of criteria.”
Criteria that include air emissions, community impacts, dry bulk handling and storage, environmental leadership, spill prevention, underwater noise, and waste management.
Of the 42 North American port authorities that participated in the Green Marine evaluation, Duluth’s ranked among the 5 nationally and top 10 overall.
Stollenwerk says, “everything we do as a community has the potential to impact our waters. And you know, the marine industry is right here on the water. We take that position very seriously and Green Marine is a great tool to evaluate our environmental performance.”
Along the way, adopting sustainable practices and technologies. “Those are discussions that end up resulting in equipment upgrades or different practices that will reduce our impact on the environment.”
On land, air, and sea. “Some of the key categories that we look at are greenhouse gas emissions […] dry cargo handling.”
The port, striving to promote green practices throughout the community. Stollenwerk says, “I would encourage people to visit the Green Marine website and look at the various criteria that we review, and see if that might apply in their industry.”
The Duluth Seaway Port Authority has participated in Green Marine since the initiative started over a decade ago.
They say the program continues to challenge them to push the business in a sustainable direction.