Do the Great Lakes Hold the Key to Relieving Supply Chain Strain?

Short-sea shipping offers a potential relief valve to congestion and greener option for many goods 

For Immediate Release

June 29, 2022

CHICAGO, IL – In a presentation to the Great Lakes Economic Forum in Chicago this week, HOPA Ports highlighted the increasing viability of short sea shipping to move goods between some of the bi-national Great Lakes region’s most populous and congested centres.

Preliminary research conducted by Fluid Intelligence, a data analysis partnership of HOPA Ports and the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics, is beginning to uncover candidate routes and commodities where short-sea shipping can supplement long-distance and cross-border truck routes.

‘Short sea shipping’ refers to city-to-city shipments using the Great Lakes as a marine-highway alternative to road-based transportation. The marine option has a number of advantages, including a significantly lower carbon footprint, along with the ability to bypass congested highways.

Fluid Intelligence’s preliminary results show that half a million tonnes of goods are currently making greater-than-100km trips every week between key origins and destinations in Southern Ontario and the US Midwest, representing approximately 2.5 million heavy truck trips per year. Short sea shipping could accommodate some of that traffic on a greener, less congested water route.  “Short sea shipping on the Great Lakes is one of those ideas that’s been simmering for a long time, but recently, the stars are starting to align,” explained Larissa Fenn, HOPA’s Director of Public Affairs. “Population growth and highway congestion, driver shortages and fuel costs are all part of the equation making marine a more appealing alternative to road transportation. And of course, organizations are looking to lessen the carbon footprint of their supply chain. Short sea shipping helps tackle all of those problems.”

One marine vessel can carry the same amount of cargo as 963 transport trucks, and in moving the same amount of cargo, trucks emit 558% more CO2  per metric tonne/km.

The forthcoming study, Foundational Study on Cross-Border Short Sea Shipping Opportunities, will provide indications of the commodities that present the greatest opportunities. Primary plastics, newsprint and other types of paper, metal products and tires are just a few of the commodities occupying tens of thousands of trucks on the region’s highways each week. The Great Lakes Economic Forum presented an opportunity for HOPA Ports to engage Great Lakes leaders about the potentially expanding role for short sea shipping. “Our intention is to generate renewed interest and discussion about an idea whose time has come,” said Fenn. The final Fluid Intelligence report is expected to be released this fall.      

About Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority:
As an integrated port network, the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) offers port and marine assets in Hamilton, Oshawa and Niagara. An efficient, multimodal network on the Great Lakes, it supports Ontario industries and facilitates trade. By investing in high-quality infrastructure and prioritizing sustainability, HOPA helps build prosperous working waterfronts in Ontario communities. Overseeing more than 1,000 acres and more than 140 tenant companies, 40,000 Ontario jobs are connected to the cargo that passes through HOPA’s integrated ports.


For more information, please contact:

Larissa Fenn
Director Public Affairs & Corporate Secretary
[email protected] |

Larissa Fenn

Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Larissa Fenn is Vice President, Corporate Affairs at HOPA Ports, leading a team responsible for communications and government relations, sustainability reporting, corporate governance and corporate culture.

Previous positions included communications and public policy roles at the Canadian Bankers Association, Credit Valley Conservation Authority, and the Regional Municipality of Halton.

Larissa holds a B.A.(Hons) in Political Science from Queen’s University. She holds the APR designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society, and completed the Senior Public Sector Leaders program at the University of Western Ontario, Ivey School of Business. Larissa has served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Royal Botanical Gardens, and as a member of the Policy Council of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Fitzgerald

Vice President, Strategic Development

Bill assumed the role of Vice President, Strategic Development in 2024, after having served as HOPA’s Vice President, Operations since 2008.

Bill joined the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority in July 1995 as Project Engineer. He previously worked with the Regional Municipality of Ottawa’s Transportation Department, as well as for the Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Waterloo.

Bill received a Bachelor of Applied Science, civil engineering / water resources, in 1995 from the University of Waterloo and registered with the Professional Engineers of Ontario in 1997.

Jeremy Dunn

Vice President, Operations

Jeremy assumed the role of Vice President, Operations in 2024 after having served as HOPA’s Commercial Vice President since 2019. Prior to joining HOPA, Jeremy served in successive leadership roles at The Miller Group, one of Canada’s leading transportation construction and infrastructure maintenance companies. Jeremy has managed multiple business groups in the heavy construction, asphalt paving and aggregates sectors driving results through business restructuring, service improvement and strategic growth. In his most recent role, Jeremy served as General Manager of Miller Maintenance, responsible for managing and growing Miller’s highway maintenance business in Ontario.

Previous to The Miller Group, Jeremy held the position of Director of Operations for the Dunn Group of Companies.

Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) through Queen’s University. He also holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management.

Janet Knight

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer for the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority since 2008, Janet joined the HPA in 1998 as Accounting Supervisor and subsequently served as Controller.

Prior to joining the HPA, Janet held the position of Financial Analyst with St. Joseph’s Hospital, as well as various positions, including Marketing Communications/Research Lead with Zeneca Agro. Janet graduated from McMaster University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Commerce. She attained the professional designation of Certified Management Accountant in 1992.

Ian Hamilton

President & CEO

Ian Hamilton is President & CEO of HOPA Ports (Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority). He assumed this role in 2017, after serving as the Port Authority’s Vice President of Business Development and Real Estate since 2008. Ian has been instrumental in developing working waterfronts in Hamilton, Oshawa, and Niagara by attracting new business and private investment, and creating an integrated marine network across Southern Ontario.

Ian possesses more than 25 years of experience in international transportation and logistics in Europe and North America, and has held progressively senior positions in the liner shipping industry, including Transatlantic Trade Director (Europe) for CP Ships and Business Development Manager for Hapag-Lloyd. Ian is Chairperson of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, and holds positions on various other boards, including: the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the Hamilton Club, and Brigs Youth Sail Training.

Ian holds an MBA from Aston University (UK) and a BSc in business administration and economics from the College of Charleston, South Carolina.