As part of its ongoing company-wide commitment to environmentally responsible and sustainable practices, Agrium Advanced Technologies (AAT) has increased shipping ESN controlled-release fertilizer via barges on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Illinois Rivers. AAT has made this move in an effort to increase its sustainable efforts.

The move to barge transportation, which will supplement other traditional shipping methods, has significant environmental and economic benefits over other transportation modes. "Shipping ESN by barge can reduce greenhouse emissions by more than 80 percent compared to truck and rail transportation, according to comparative research from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)," said Andrew Mittag, President, Agrium Advanced Technologies.

"Using the various rivers as practical shipping channels enables us to drastically reduce our carbon footprint, curtail noise and air pollution and decrease truck and rail traffic, particularly in urbanized areas. It also has the potential to significantly reduce fuel consumption in the distribution channel as ESN is delivered to our customers."

Studies by the EPA Emission Control Laboratory show that U.S. inland barge transportation produces substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions when measured against truck and rail transportation: 86 percent less hydrocarbons than trucks and 80 percent less than rail, 89 percent less carbon monoxide than trucks and 69 percent less than rail, and 95 percent less nitrous oxides than trucks and 71 percent less than rail. In fact, shipping one barge of ESN removes in excess of 58 trucks from the road.

Barge transportation also generates considerable fuel savings, according to a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The study determined that one gallon of fuel would move one ton of cargo 500 miles by barge, compared to 60 miles by truck and 200 miles by rail.

"The resulting reduction in fuel consumption, combined with the opportunity to protect, sustain and improve our environmental impact, is prompting the transition," Mittag said. "Barge shipping is an effective, cost-efficient shipping option, either to a final delivery point or to a transfer point in conjunction with rail or truck," Mittag added.

"We believe it's the most environmentally responsible way to deliver our product, and using natural resources to conserve fuel consumption and reduce pollution, reflects our dedication to broader, company-wide sustainability initiatives.

AAT is currently reviewing the viability of the Arkansas and Tennessee Rivers as well.