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Earlier than expected, K+S produced the first tonnes of marketable potash in its new Bethune potash mine in Saskatchewan last weekend.  K+S intends to produce 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes of potash in the Bethune mine this year. The annual production capacity of 2 million tonnes is expected to be reached by the end of 2017. The first potash transport from Bethune to the new harbor terminal at Vancouver should leave during August. From there the potash will be shipped to clients around the world.


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The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, introduced amendments to the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act under Bill C-55 yesterday. These amendments provide the Department with the ability to create an Interim Protection Marine Protected Area and essentially "freeze the footprint" of current activities and prohibit any new activities.  The Bill proposes to add new enforcement powers to direct a ship to any place in Canadian waters or within the EEZ and detain a ship if they suspect an offence may be committed.  The proposed amendments are a signficant concern to our industry. 

Friday, 16 June 2017 13:52

Global Talent Stream details released

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The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a fast-track stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), was launched on June 12, establishing a two-week standard for the processing of work permit applications for highly skilled occupations. The two categories of the GTS target high-growth companies, and workers in identified in-demand occupations pimarily in the tech sector.  Two new work permit exemptions are also in effect as of June 12. Workers in occupations classified as skill type 0 or skill level A in the NOC may enter Canada for one 15-day stay in a six-month period, or one 30-day stay in a 12-month period, and may work without a work permit. Researchers undertaking projects in Canada may stay for 120 days in a 12-month period, without requiring a work permit, as long as they are working on a research project at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has started an investigation following the threat of a "dirty bomb" in a container on board the Maersk Memphis that arrived in South Carolina from New Year on June 14th.  The Port of Charleston's Wando terminal received two calls at 8pm on Wednesday notifying them of a possible dirty bomb containing radioactive material on board the Maersk Memphis.  Authorities evacuated the terminal and scanned four containers on the ship and cleared them, reopening the terminal around 3:30 am on Thursday.  The FBI is involved as it is a crime to make a false threat against a US-flagged ship.

Friday, 16 June 2017 13:32

USCG approves 4th BWMS



The US Coast Guard Marine Safety Center has issued its fourth Ballast Water Management System Type Approval Certificate to Sunrui Marine Environment Engineering Co., Ltd. after a detailed review of the type approval application determined the system met the requirements of 46 CFR 162.060.  The Sunrui BalClor system incorporates a three step process consisting of filtering and electrolysis during uptake and neutralization at discharge. This approval covers fourteen models with maximum treatment rated capacities between 170m3/h and 8500m3/h.

Just this past week four more States became Party to the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, designed to counter the threat to marine ecosystems by potentially invasive species transported in ships' ballast water. The Bahamas deposited its instrument of accession on Thursday (8 June), following accession by Singapore (8 June), ratification by Australia (7 June) and accession by United Arab Emirates (6 June). Saudi Arabia became a Party in April. This brings the number of States party to the BWM Convention to 59, representing 65.18 % of the world's merchant fleet tonnage. The Convention enters into force on 8 September 2017 and will require ships to manage their ballast water, which can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and organisms, which are then carried across the globe.

Friday, 16 June 2017 12:39

US Regulatory Reviews

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Both the US Coast Guard and the Department of Transport have initiated regulatory reviews of existing policies, guidance and regulations to identify non-statutory requirements and impediments to infrastructure projects that should be removed or revised.  The reviews are in response to President Trump's Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.  

Friday, 16 June 2017 12:31

Day of the Seafarer - June 25

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With less than ten days to go until Day of the Seafarer on June 25th, IMO is encouraging everyone to join the campaign and show that #SeafarersMatter. Under this year's theme, Seafarers Matter, the campaign is focussed on engaging people responsible for the world’s ports and seafarer centres to demonstrate how much seafarers matter to them by featuring great initiatives that support and promote seafarer welfare.  In addition, IMO has launched a new Day of the Seafarer quiz, testing your knowledge of ports, maritime affairs and IMO instruments. As in previous years, the Day of the Seafarer campaign is centered on social media, so join the movement and show your support online using the hashtag #SeafarersMatter.

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Large shipping losses have declined by 50% over the past decade, but a “perfect storm” of regulation, cost savings and cybersecurity looms, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s (AGCS) fifth annual Safety and Shipping Review 2017.  In 2016, there were 85 total losses reported worldwide, down 16% compared to 2015, the report noted. Preliminary figures also show that last year set safety records with the lowest number of losses in the past decade. The number of shipping incidents also declined year-over-year by 4%, largely driven by new safety enhancing technology and a more robust safety culture in shipping. More than a quarter of shipping losses in 2016 (23) occurred in the South China, Indochina, Indonesia and Philippines region – the top hotspot for the last decade.

Despite the encouraging figures, Allianz believes that the shipping and insurance industries must still be prepared for factors such as tighter regulations, cost-cutting measures, and the overreliance on technology.  Environmental scrutiny is increasing with record fines for vessel pollution. New ballast water management rules that come into force in 2017 are welcomed, but the cost of complying could have a significant impact on already-stressed ship operators. Political risk is increasing, with activity in hotspots such as Yemen and the South China Sea having the potential to affect vessel routes, and the threat of offshore cyberattacks on vessels is still a potential concern. 


The Paris MoU's Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 carried out from 1 September to 30 November 2016 has shown positive results on certificates attesting medical fitness (98.2%), the verification of records of the inspections of the accommodation (98%), food and catering (97.4%), and existence of a safety committee (99.1%).  The aim of the CIC was to verify that the minimum standards for working and living conditions have been implemented on board.  Most of the 3674 ships inspected during the CIC were general cargo/multi-purpose ships, 1062 (28.9%) inspections and bulk carriers with 789 (21.5%) inspections. The  campaign resulted in 42 detentions (1.1%) directly linked to the MLC, 2006 non-compliance on Seafarers Employment Agreements (6.5%) and the availability of the onboard complaint procedure (5%).

Friday, 09 June 2017 11:43

Seaport Alliance increasing capacity

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The Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma has just approved a $52 million purchase of four cranes, adding to four that were previously approved, plus an additional $2.9 million in improvements to Terminal 18, the West Hylebos Log Yard and Pierce County Terminal.  A $250 million construction project is alredy underway to reconstruct and align Pier 4 to Pier 3 to create a contiguous berth that will support two 18,000 TEU vessels to be worked simultaneously.  The investment is to prepare for an anticipated surge in business as larger vessels come on line and the Alliance intends to secure the cargo market recaptured from Canadian west coast ports that benefited from the 2015 US west coast labour disruption.  

Friday, 09 June 2017 11:15

Carriers suspend services to Qatar

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Evergreen, Maersk and OOCL have suspended shipping services to Qatar as a result of trade pressure on the state after Arab states severed diplomatic ties this week.  Several Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, cut ties with the Gulf state on Monday over what they say is Qatar's support for terrorism, an accusation Qatar vehemently denies.

In line with news reports over the past 24 hours, it is confirmed that no Qatar-flagged vessel or vessel coming from or going to Qatar, irrespective of the flag or owner’s nationality, will be allowed access to Saudi ports or any Abu Dhabi Petroleum port.  Navigation from Qatar to the ports and waters of Bahrain, and vice versa, is likewise suspended.  

ICS has been informed that the Suez Canal Authority confirms that Egypt is bound by the Constantinople agreement which names Suez Canal as an international waterway to which all countries have free access and passage under the protection of the Egyptian Government, except in times of war.  As such, we understand that all ships flying the Qatar flag, or carrying cargoes to or from Qatar will transit normally without any restriction other than being monitored closely for security reasons.  LNG carrier, Wilforce, loaded with Qatari LNG is currently transiting the Suez Canal and destined to arrive in Barcelona on June 15th.  The 156,000 cbm ship, owned by Teekay LNG Partners and operated by Awilco LNG, is valued at USD 163.5 million.

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The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has released its biannual publication entitledFood Outlook which finds that shipping costs and import volumes will lift worldwide import costs to over $1.3 trillion this year, a 10.6 percent increase from 2016.  
The report goes on to explain that food import bills of least-developed countries, low-income food deficit countries and countries in sub-Saharan Africa are on course to rise even faster due to higher import volumes of meat, sugar, dairy and oilseed products.

“International prices of wheat should remain stable, especially during the first half of the season, while near-record production of coarse grains will likely keep competition intense among the major exporters,” according to the report.  Due mostly to outstanding yield levels for soybean, oilseed production worldwide is expected to leap to an all-time high in 2016-17 – allowing further replenishments of global stocks. First indications point to a well-supplied market also in 2017-18, further weighing on prices.

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