Vancouver, May 12, 2017 – The Canadian government’s decision to implement a moratorium on crude oil shipment to and from ports in Northern British Columbia sends a dangerous economic signal while not addressing risk appropriately.
The Chamber of Shipping strongly advocates for the vigorous protection of our pristine coastlines, and we have been proud to lend our voice to the chorus of support for initiatives like the government’s Oceans Protection Plan (OPP). Our members have eagerly participated in a range of programs designed to advance safe shipping practices and reduce our ecological impact.
However, we do not support the moratorium announced today. Firstly, it contradicts a crucial pillar of the federal government’s stated approach to environmental protection: evidence-based decision making. It also flies in the face of the OPP, which commits to focusing resources on determining and addressing real safety and environmental risks identified through scientific research.
Secondly, the moratorium sends a very harmful signal to the international investment community. Canada is now the first and only country in the world to legislatively ban the trade of multiple commodities. The establishment of this moratorium may have unintended consequences from coast to coast and set a precedent that could ultimately impact Canadian jobs and the economy.
“At a time when the U.S. is focused on its global competitiveness, this unnecessarily extreme approach tells our current and potential trading partners that Canada is closed for business,” says Robert Lewis-Manning, President of the Chamber of Shipping.
Lastly, we are disappointed that the federal government ignored our recommendations for a comprehensive marine spatial planning approach that would bring together multiple users of the ocean – including First Nations, government, industry, conservation advocates, and recreational users – to address concerns. This pragmatic approach would have encouraged collaborative problem-solving, as well as clarity and consensus around policy development.
In British Columbia and across Canada, our continued prosperity and high standard of living depend on our ability to deliver resources in a responsible and competitive manner. Canada remains a strong trading nation, with one in five Canadian jobs and more than 60 per cent of our gross domestic product directly linked to exports. In order to preserve our competitiveness worldwide, it is critical that the Canadian government supports our national supply chain.
Since 1923, the Chamber of Shipping has been the representative voice of the marine industry on Canada’s west coast. The importance of that voice is arguably more important today than ever before as North America’s trade with Asia undergoes unrelenting growth and Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway plays a vital role in facilitating trade efficiency for the benefit of the entire nation.
Chamber of Shipping
Good morning Mr. Chair and members of the Committee. I am pleased to join you for a brief discussion this morning about the key role that the Oceans Act and Marine Protected Areas play in the management and protection of Canada’s coastal environment and how our industry integrates into this management approach to support both protection and trade.
Overall, I hope that you will appreciate that there is an increasing need for coastal management that is transparent, predictable, and adaptable. While significant progress is being made by all stakeholders involved in coastal protection, there are several aspects where modest investments in resources and changes in approach would yield significant benefits. To be sure, effective coastal management that will generate results requires an integrated approach, bringing together the range of relevant stakeholders to collaborate and develop practical and actionable plans. To this end, we are pleased to see recent investments in oceans science and the various commitments under the Oceans Protection Plan.
My comments of course are provided from the perspective of commercial marine transportation and international trade more generally. The Chamber of Shipping represents the interests of ship owners, agents, and service providers responsible for over 60 per cent of Canadian international trade by ship. This includes everything from people in ferries and cruise ships, to bulk commodities such as grain that is exported to Asia. Protection of our coastal environment goes hand-in-hand with being able to build trust with Canadians and our customers. Furthermore, the ability to protect our coastal environment smartly will also ensure the continued competitiveness of our trading gateways at a time when competitive pressures are increasing.
I have personally been involved with conservation initiatives on all three of Canada’s coasts and the Great Lakes. I also have experience in both planning and managing various aspects of risk on our coasts, and in enforcing Canada’s pollution regulations more broadly in a previous role in the government.
With a current focus on Western Canada, we are actively involved in several key conservation initiatives, both under the Oceans Act but also under legislation and programing coordinated by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Parks Canada. Each process is unique, having different biodiversity challenges, conservation objectives, and engaged and affected stakeholders. Our sector is also now represented on the National Species at Risk Advisory Committee for the first time ever.
The preamble of the Oceans Act refers to Canada’s promotion of integrated management of oceans and marine resources. We believe that this intent is the right intent as integrated planning and management of our coastal waters should provide the best opportunity to protect and recover our pristine ecosystems while also managing sustainable human activities, including commercial marine transportation to meet Canada’s domestic and international trading needs.
The Oceans Act expands on this intent in Part II and establishes principles for developing and implementing Canada’s Oceans Management Strategy, including the principle of sustainable development, that is, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
It is from this departure point that there appears to be some vagueness as to how to respect the principle of sustainable management. From our perspective, there does not appear to be a clear process or legislative or regulatory tool that appropriately addresses integrated coastal planning and management in areas of high human activity.
The outcome of this gap is the increased potential to poorly understand environmental changes occurring in an ecosystem until such time as they reach a critical level and then, in response to such a predicament, implementing measures to address a threat that may lack substantive consideration and could have unintended consequences. Likewise, a lack of deliberate spatial planning means that a change in activity, including industrial activity, is largely not measured or understood holistically.
Interestingly, one of the best examples of integrated planning exists in many of Canada’s ports, where the pressures of sustainable development and stakeholder concerns associated with vessel operations has resulted in holistic approaches to examining risk, impact, and mitigating such impact in order to achieve safety, sustainability, and conservation objectives.
A lack of integrated planning and subsequent management of areas with high human activity could result in a missed opportunity to improve a specific regional ecosystem, provide predictability for regulated human activity, such as commercial marine transportation, and finding innovative strategies to manage such development in a sustainable manner.
For example, there are several aspects of risk planning that should be integrated. These include risk planning to determine coastal pilotage requirements, route planning that considers vessel maneuvering characteristics, and spill response and preparedness planning but to name a few.
We believe that the Oceans Protection Plan will include several new planning initiatives that will seek to better manage vessel movements, anchoring operations, and aspects of vessels operations where Indigenous and coastal communities have voiced concerns.
None of this would come as a surprise to federal officials. Indeed, they have been striving towards a more integrated approach to coastal management and efforts such as the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area attempt to leverage a more holistic approach. It is hoped that the Oceans Protection Plan will further integrate other existing and future coastal management strategies.
We suggest that some of the current challenges could be addressed relatively quickly and without significant debate.
First, amend Section 35 of the Oceans Act to include an additional reason for establishing a Marine Protected Area. Namely, for the conservation, protection, and sustainable development of coastal areas with high human activity, including marine transportation to support domestic and international trade. By including this, areas of high human activity could receive appropriate scientific examination and resources, including bench marking for cumulative impact, such that changes over time could be measured and also addressed through integrated and adaptive planning.
This integrated planning approach could also establish recognized marine trading corridors, concentrating integrated planning in marine corridors essential to Canada’s trading gateways. The current systems approach may or may not address such areas so it would be helpful to explicitly include such a reason in order to provide formal marine spatial planning for areas of high human activity.
Secondly, once an initial area has been identified as a candidate for a Marine Protected Area, designate it early and subsequently initiate integrated planning. Integrated planning should not happen in a vacuum that results in lengthy delays but rather be an iterative process where stakeholders are committed to common objectives. These objectives can be tailored to the specific area’s protection needs.
Thirdly, ensure that the right federal departments are integrated in the planning process from the beginning. Certain previous initiatives were less effective and failed to identify the potential stakeholder needs early, resulting in subsequent challenges when draft regulations were published. This is both inefficient and ineffective.
Fourthly, strongly consider several of the recommendations of the recent report by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development concerning federal protected areas and conservation objectives. For example, recommendation 35 of the Committees report refers to needed investments in infrastructure as it pertains to conservation. There are several aspects to sustainable use of our coastal waters that relate directly to infrastructure. This could include port reception facilities, data networks, vessel management systems, radar coverage, remote surveillance, acoustic measurement, and many other important technologies to mitigating risk to coastal waters.
Finally, I would like to emphasize that we need to carefully manage expectations and be mindful of the level of effort required to properly fulfil our international biodiversity targets and additional coastal protection measures. While there might be a propensity to progress all conservation initiatives simultaneously, there needs to be some degree of prioritization such that stakeholders can also be prepared adequately to engage with thoughtful evidence-based input.
In a similar light, Canada’s supply chain is facing increasing competition from the United States and we must be focused on developing sophisticated solutions to sustainability challenges rather than simply imposing constraints to trade. We believe that with solid integrated marine spatial planning and clear objectives, Canada can continue to sustainably grow its international trade and protect our coastal ecosystem.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today.
Samuel D. Rauch III
Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Subject: Petition Under the Administrative Procedure Act Requesting that NMFS Establish a Whale Protection Zone to Support Recovery of Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales
Dear Mr. Rauch;
The Chamber of Shipping appreciates the opportunity to comment on the “Petition to Establish a Whale Protection Zone for the Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Distinct Population Segment Under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.” We have two significant concerns that we believe have not been adequately supported in the petition. The first is the potential negative impacts on the safety of large commercial vessels, and the second is the lack of supporting documentation to support the petition. Overall, this petition does not include sufficient information to analyze and evaluate the risk to safety of navigation for vessel traffic of all sizes.
The Chamber of Shipping represents that majority of vessel owners, operators, agents, terminals and shippers involved in marine transportation in British Columbia and strongly supports binational efforts to recover Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). The international and Canadian domestic marine industry has been an active participant and contributor to research and development associated with the recovery of SRKW and more broadly involved in research and policy development nationally in Canada and internationally through the International Maritime Organization. This includes participation regionally in the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program and Green Marine. Through these initiatives, the marine industry and other concerned stakeholders have gained significant knowledge regarding the sources and level of ship-generated noise and also examined potential approaches to mitigate the effects of acoustic disturbance.
The petition requests the establishment of a whale protection zone that extends three-quarters of a mile offshore of San Juan Island from Mitchell Point in the north to Cattle Point in the south, and a one quarter-mile wide buffer adjacent to the whale protection zone. The petitioners also propose that, within the whale protection zone, NMFS prohibit all motorized vessels, with specific exceptions such as government enforcement vessels and vessels responding to safety and environmental emergencies, and vessels transiting to and from areas of San Juan Island accessible only through the whale protection zone. The petitioners propose that these exempt vessels be required to adhere to a “no-wake” speed limit, both to significantly reduce the amount of noise and disturbance that these vessels could introduce, and to minimize the likelihood of striking a whale in the whale protection zone.
The petition’s proposal for a whale protection zone currently encroaches on an internationally approved and recognized vessel traffic separation scheme. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) establishes how and when a traffic separation scheme may be established and it is intended to contribute to the overall safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment. As parties to SOLAS, both the United States and Canada were instrumental at developing the associated traffic separation scheme and jointly managing vessel traffic services and mandatory pilotage for large commercial vessels. This safety framework has served both of our nations well and ensured appropriate environmental protection for our binational waters.
The encroachment of the proposed whale protection zone into the traffic separation scheme could have adverse consequences for the safety of large commercial vessel that transit these waters as it would both constrain the amount of sea room for vessels to manoeuvre and potentially limit their speed to below practical and safe limits. Vessels must maintain an appropriate speed in order to have the ability to safely manoeuvre. A minimum safe speed is based on many variable factors that could include the vessel size, loading arrangement, rudder and propulsion type, and environmental conditions such as wind and current.
Additionally, the only vessels able to use the “inshore zone” between the northbound lane of the traffic separation scheme and the shore are vessels less than 20 metres, sailing vessels and fishing vessels. If these vessels were prohibited from the “inshore zone” by the proposed whale protection zone, the risk of them moving into the waters of the traffic separation scheme, and the attendant increased risk of collision with commercial ships, would be significant. Furthermore, the design of the associated traffic separation scheme for vessels transiting through Haro Strait reflects a number of key factors, including the navigational dangers, typical traffic patterns, and radar and communication coverage. The development and implementation of this traffic separation scheme was complex and reflected all of these elements, and was the product of considerable effort by the United States, Canada, and the International Maritime Organization.
While we do not support this petition, we are encouraged by many recent initiatives that are underway in Canada to address the recovery of SRKW and would encourage federal, state, provincial, and Indigenous governments to engage and support these initiatives. These include:
Additionally, we are aware that the Canadian federal government is currently developing a strategy to address the main anthropogenic threats facing SRKW under the National Oceans Protection Plan and is actively engaging leaders in the United States in the development of its plan.
Our members’ vessels are a key element of the North American supply chain, providing safe and efficient marine transportation services to and from ports in both the United States and Canada. While transiting our binational waters, they employ best practices to avoid physically disturbing marine mammals and are now considering mitigation measures to reduce underwater noise. This important effort requires broad support of governments and stakeholders, robust science, and coordinated binational action that will provide meaningful protection measures for SRKW and respect critical trade between our two nations. We would discourage approval of this petition until such time as a more coordinated, binational, and science-based approach can be implemented.
Thank you in advance for considering this recommendation and I would welcome the opportunity to provide additional information should you or your staff have any questions.
Ms. Katherine Bamford
Director, Trade Development
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
100 The Pointe, 999 Canada Place
Vancouver, BC V6C 3T4
Dear Ms. Bamford,
Re: VFPA Priority Gateway Infrastructure Projects
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the 13 priority gateway infrastructure projects outlined in the letter and information package distributed on March 8th. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority continues to play a key role in identifying critical infrastructure projects that aim to improve the movement of goods to and from the port and securing much needed federal and provincial funding to implement these projects.
While we are pleased that the Port is reaching out to its customers and is responding positively to previous recommendations, it remains difficult to differentiate the benefit of specific projects when the overall context and existing supply chain constraints are not fully apparent in the documentation. Furthermore, there appears to be a lack of focus on specific aspects of marine transportation, including capacity for cruise and breakbulk.
The Chamber of Shipping represents ocean carriers that provide the marine transportation component in the trade corridor and from a port infrastructure perspective, our principal members are most interested in projects that will facilitate the safe and efficient movement of vessels calling at the Port of Vancouver. Ocean carriers select ports of call on the basis of a port’s productivity and cost competitiveness, therefore terminal and in-land fluidity are key elements to an attractive gateway. Canadian importers and exporters are dependent on reliable trade corridors to ensure that freight and demurrage costs are minimized.
The projects identified in the Priority Gateway Infrastructure Projects Information Package are relevant but are not of “direct benefit” to our members. Any cost recovery towards pre-funding of the infrastructure projects to be approved requires a comprehensive review and discussion with those that receive the “direct benefit” to the improvements, i.e. the beneficial cargo owner. As per the User Fee Act a “direct benefit means a benefit to the client paying the user fee with that benefit being either unique to that client or distinct from and greater than benefits that could also accrue to any other person or business as a result of that user fee being paid.”
Any associated costs to pre-funding land infrastructure, should not be borne by the international ocean carriers as it will put the Port of Vancouver at a competitive disadvantage to other ports. As noted in our concerns following the implementation of the Gateway Infrastructure Fee (GIF) and more recently on the Container Examination Facility consultation, VFPA should have a mechanism to recover fees directly from shippers of containerized goods.
In the current Fee Document the GIF for non-containerized cargo is “payable by the owner of the cargo” as intended, whereas the GIF for containerized cargo is applied to the carrier, rather than the owner of the cargo. This creates an inequitable distribution of fees where only the foreign owned container carriers are held liable for the Canadian shippers’ share of the infrastructure developments.
From an infrastructure perspective, the Chamber of Shipping would like to encourage a discussion on the application of infrastructure funds to improve the safe and efficient movement of vessels within the Port, and more immediate needs include:
Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on our industry’s infrastructure requirements and we look forward to discussing our project proposals with you in the near future.
While 2016 was a very busy and challenging year for marine transportation worldwide, it was particulary active for the Chamber of Shipping as we adapted to working with a new federal government, continued to support industry through a challenging commercial period, formalized policy positions and advocacy strategies, and transitioned new leadership and staff.
Early in the year, the federal government tabled the Canada Transportation Act Review Report, and later announced its strategic plan for the Future of Transportation in Canada (Transportation 2030) and the broad programming initiatives of the Oceans Protection Plan. Both Pacific Northwest LNG and Trans Mountain Expansion projects received federal approval this year, providing a degree of optimism for new investments into the local economy and marine industry in general.
While some outcomes in 2016 were tangible, some were less tangible and designed to prepare for and influence significant changes anticipated in 2017. These outcomes included increasing the awareness of our industry to elected and non-elected officials in the federal government. The Chamber aggressively increased its federal advocacy and is now the most active advocate for ship owners, operators, and agents in Canada. The impact of the federal advocacy included:
While not an exhaustive list, we are expecting the following aspects to guide the Chamber’s advocacy efforts in 2017:
The scope and complexity of challenges facing the industry is clearly significant and growing. While we must strive to reduce costs and increase efficiencies within the supply chain, vessel operators will likely face additional complexities from growth in certain commodity markets that will demand innovative solutions. It is inevitable that marine transportation will have increased visibility with the public, coastal communities, and the government in 2017 and that such visibility should be leveraged to explain how increasing trade benefits Canadians.
We intend to face these challenges by:
We would like to thank the Chamber’s membership for its active involvement in 2016. The best outcomes typically emerge when the membership is engaged in identifying the need and is involved in developing a strategy to improve any given situation. We hope that you will be even more engaged next year. From the entire team at the Chamber, we wish you a Happy & Prosperous New Year!
Vancouver – The United Nation’s International Maritime Organization celebrates World Maritime Day today with a theme to remind us that “Shipping is Indispensable to the World.”
Canada is a nation that is largely dependent on ships to move goods to and from coastal communities and international markets. An estimated 80 per cent of global trade by volume and 70 per cent by value are carried by sea and handled by ports worldwide.
Recognizing concerns voiced on the cumulative impact of shipping, we encourage the federal government to foster the collaboration on marine spatial planning that currently includes communities, Indigenous People and stakeholders, including the Chamber of Shipping. An integrated coastal strategy that is developed through meaningful dialogue and actions will protect our vital ecosystems and provide Canadians with greater certainty on the sustainability of their communities.
"Canada has an opportunity to get it right and develop a global model for sustainable marine transportation that supports trade in its strategy for coastal waters," states Robert Lewis-Manning, the President of the Chamber of Shipping.
The Chamber of Shipping is asking the federal government to:
On April 27, 2017 the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau began consulting Canadians, stakeholders, and provinces and territories, and Indigenous groups to hear their views and discuss ideas for a long-term agenda for transportation in Canada.
The Minister focused on five themes:
View our response to the Minister on the Future of Canada's Transportation System.
The Federal Government has issued a draft Action Plan for consultation as part of this species’ recovery strategy, as required by the Species at Risk Act (SARA). These species were listed as Threatened and Endangered in 2003 and have not seen any noticeable positive change since then. Consequently, there is significant pressure on the Government to implement measures quickly. In fact, the government has already received over 9,000 submissions during this consultation, many of which identify shipping as a major contributor to underwater noise, and are demanding that the government implement a “moratorium” and stop any growth in marine transportation activity that might add to the noise profile until such time as the cumulative impact is understood. SARA is a powerful law and there are regulatory options in this law that could have a significant impact the marine industry.
For more information read our submission to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Canada is well-positioned to increase trade in North America and globally which will build prosperity for Canadians and businesses across Canada. Such trade will positively leverage numerous industries, including agriculture, wood products, manufacturing, tourism, natural resources, and renewable and non-renewable energy.
Promoting a safe, efficient, and competitive transportation framework is essential to Canada’s prosperity and competitiveness in a global marketplace. This must be achieved in a sustainable manner that respects the importance of the marine eco-system and its value to Canadians.
A safe, efficient and competitive marine transportation framework should include:
The Chamber of Shipping represents the interests of transportation carriers, agents, shippers and service providers responsible for over 60% of Canadian international and domestic trade. Our members are supportive of transportation excellence which includes a competitive and sustainable transportation system that protects the marine ecosystem.