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North America: Tracking the Great Lakes with Blue Accounting

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CPCS supports the Blue Accounting initiative to track performance of binational maritime system.


Blue Accounting was a data-driven initiative put together by local governors to provide cutting-edge information services about the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Maritime system.

The movement aimed to gather data on three broad objectives:

  • Increase maritime trade and traffic
  • Reduce the environmental impact of the region’s transportation network 
  • Support the region’s industrial core 

With these goals in mind, the local governors enlisted CPCS as well as other firms to come up with indicators to track their progress. 


“We played a supporting role on this project,” says Eric Oberhart, transportation expert at CPCS. “Our job was to think of ways to measure economic and environmental impact of maritime shipping in the maritime system.”

CPCS assisted the Blue Accounting Maritime Work Group with the selection and creation of five indicators to measure the great lakes’ performance:

  • Tonnage and value carried on vessels to evaluate economic health
  • Container traffic to value tonnage and predict future growth
  • Cruise tourism to measure tourism market
  • Lock performance (i.e. delays) to track trade efficiency
  • Metrics to assess environmental impacts on air, water, land and communities

Our experts explained how to collect, use, measure and analyze each indicator. They also discussed their limitations and how to improve them.   


The CPCS team presented their findings to governors and premiers of the Great Lakes and St-Lawrence River Maritime System.