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:
- The smooth implementation of Verified Gross Mass requirements;
- A negotiated 2017 tariff with the Pacific Pilotage Authority;
- A federal government commitment to pursue greater transparency and reliability of rail transportation in the supply chain;
- Several of our policy objectives in the Oceans Protection Plan, including;
- A review of Pilotage Act;
- Formalized marine spatial planning;
- Recognition of a need for marine corridors;
- Improved marine domain awareness; and
- Fact and science based decision making.
- Minimizing the impact of a moratorium. It will be a land-based moratorium and not impact the Right of Innocent Passage.
- Increasing the awareness of Gateway fluidity issues.
- Extending access to anchorages at Constance Bank.
- Amendments to the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) Agreement.
While not an exhaustive list, we are expecting the following aspects to guide the Chamber’s advocacy efforts in 2017:
- Several legislative initiatives, including:
- Amendments to the Oceans Act, Navigation Protection Act, and the Canada Transportation Act;
- Replacement of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act with legislation covering a wider-scope of commodities;
- New legislation to implement a moratorium in Northern BC.
- The implementation of the Oceans Protection Plan following the 2017 Federal Budget in February.
- Consideration of port privatization.
- The commencement of reviewing the Pilotage Act.
- The development and management of increased anchorages in BC.
- The implementation of international conventions, including: the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments; and the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters.
- The 2017 Federal Budget which is expected to include investment in transportation infrastructure.
- The implementation of the PNCIMA and the desire to integrate the provincial Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) under PNCIMA.
- The increased involvement of First Nations in co-management.
- An anticipated Supreme Court challenge of Section 35 of the Charter with respect to federal jurisdiction of waters.
- The development and implementation of numerous marine protected areas.
- The potential for regulation of ship-generated underwater noise.
- The need to increase visibility and correct misinformation regarding commercial vessels.
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:
- Focusing on the needs of Principal members.
- Increasing our collaboration and advocacy with non-marine industry associations that represent industries that rely on marine transportation.
- Building political visibility federally and provincially (BC and more).
- Leveraging the influence of shippers when appropriate.
- Increasing our exposure/influence with mainstream and social media.
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!