Friday, 18 May 2018 12:23

Ashcroft Terminals receives $9.2M

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Ashcroft Terminals received a major investment of $9.2M under the National Transportation Corridor Fund towards rail and road infrastructure improvements. The investment will support a new rail link to Canadian National Railway’s main rail line, an extra rail track for the assembly of longer trains, and an internal road network under the rail line.  Other works will include increasing electrical capacity, installing water treatment infrastructure, and installing lighting and security enhancements to provide safe and secure operations.  The project is expected to have significant economic and employment benefits by creating over 250 jobs during construction.

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The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced this week a major investment of $55.8 million for four projects led by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority that will help local businesses compete by moving local goods to market, and by making improvements to port infrastructure.

These projects are expected to have significant economic and employment benefits by creating an estimated 550 jobs during construction and include the following:

  • Addition of nearly 5 km of track at the Canadian Pacific Facility, reconstruction of Harris Road to provide four lanes that will travel beneath the existing Canadian Pacific railway, and construction of a new two-lane overpass to replace the crossing at Kennedy Road in Pitt Meadows;
  • Upgrade of the existing Westwood Street and Kingsway Avenue intersections at the railway corridor to separate road traffic from rail traffic on the municipal boundary between the Cities of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam;
  • Design work to raise Pitt River Road and Colony Farm Road to create overpasses of the existing rail corridor (and Lougheed Road) that will allow for a new 5 km-long section of track that will pass beneath these two crossings permitting trains to travel in both directions along the Canadian Pacific in the City of Coquitlam; and
  • Improvements at the existing Canadian Pacific railway overpass at Mountain Highway that include lowering the roadway to provide additional clearance for oversized cargo travelling under the railway bridge in North Vancouver.

Friday, 18 May 2018 12:09

Funding for abandoned boats announced

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The Government of Canada has announced that over $80,000 will be granted to remove two boats and assess 29 boats that litter the shores of British Columbia. Recipients receiving funding to remove abandoned boats:

  • Bowen Island Municipality (Bowen Island, British Columbia) – $6,000
  • District of West Vancouver (Caulfield Cove, British Columbia) – $10,000

Recipients receiving funding to assess abandoned boats:

  • Capital Regional District (Victoria, British Columbia) – $15,000
  • Pender Harbour Advisory Council (Garden Bay, British Columbia) – $16,175
  • Nanaimo Port Authorities (Nanaimo, British Columbia) – $20,000
  • Beaufort Range Marine Group Ltd. (Courtenay and Union Bay, British Columbia) – $13,200

Assessments help identify safety issues, environmental impact, recycling value and costs associated with removing an abandoned boat. Once an assessment is completed, applicants may apply for funding under the Abandoned Boats Program to have a boat removed and disposed. The Abandoned Boats Program will be allocated a total of $6.85 million in funding under the Oceans Protection Plan.

Friday, 18 May 2018 11:51

ABS to inspect Coast Guard vessels

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The Government of Canada has awarded at $3.7 million contract to ABS Americas, Houston, TX, to provide inspection and certification services to the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. The contract provides ABS with the authority to inspect and provide certification to ensure the Canadian Coast Guard fleet continues to comply with Canadian regulations. It also simplifies access to vessel inspections by having a single point of contact, as well as providing access to strong technical resources, such as computer modelling, advanced engineering and research, electronic databases and software.

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The US Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), within the Office of Management and Budget is seeking public input on how the Federal government may prudently manage regulatory costs imposed on the maritime sector. Multiple Federal agencies regulate the US maritime sector consistent with their statutory authorities. OIRA seeks public comment on how existing agency requirements affecting the maritime sector can be modified or repealed to increase efficiency, reduce or eliminate unnecessary or unjustified regulatory burdens, or simplify regulatory compliance while continuing to meet statutory missions. The request for information is meant to inform agencies’ development of regulatory reform proposals. All submissions will be made publicly available.

Friday, 18 May 2018 11:29

US trucking costs continue to rise

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All-inclusive eastbound Trans-Pacific service contracts between ocean carriers and US importers to inland destinations are seeing increase of 5 to 25 percent, due to the higher trucking and fuel costs. The US trucking industry continues to grapple with increased volumes, more congestion resulting in fewer turn times, a severe driver shortage and the impact of the new electronic logging devices (ELD) impacting mid-range hauls of 200 to 300 miles. It cost US retailers up to 30% more to ship something via truck in April than it did last year.

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Over the last few weeks China’s General Administration of Customs has stepped up inspection of everying from US vehicles, pork, fruits to logs.  Chinese officials have not cited bilateral trade friction for any of the delays, but the timing of more rigorous environmental checks and quarantine procedures would say otherwise.  China has denied rumours that it has offered a package of trade concessions and increased purchases of American goods aimed at cutting the US trade deficit with China by up to $200 billion a year.  The second round of US-China trade talks continue today.

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The US Coast Guard Marine Safety Center received its 14th application for Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) type approval for the OceanGuard Ballast Water Management System manufactured by Headway Technology Co., Ltd.   USCG has only approved six of the 14 systems that have applied and have not approved a BWMS since May 2017.

Friday, 18 May 2018 10:17

EU commits to single window reporting

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In an effort to end the reporting burden for ships, the European Commission has adopted a proposal from 13 member states to increase the harmonization of ship reporting requirements when calling at ports within the EU.  The initiative led by Denmark plans to reduce the administrative burden on the industry by establishing a common IT interface and limiting the reporting of the same information and sharing data between member states.  This has been part of our advocacy. Canada needs to reduce this administrative burden to stay competitive and implementation would be much easier.

Friday, 18 May 2018 10:01

Star Bulk acquires Songa Bulk

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Star Bulk Carriers has purchased 34 ships in less than one month and now has the biggest fleet of dry bulk ships among the New York-listed shipping companies. While the latest $328M transaction is yet to be approved by shareholders, the acquisition of 15 operating vessels from Songa Bulk ASA will bring Star Bulk's total fleet to 108 vessels with an aggregate cargo-carrying capacity of 12.26 million DWT.  Star Bulk is also acquiring three newcastlemax newbuilds from Oceanbulk Container Carriers (OCC), a company owned by Oaktree Capital Management. “The combined Songa and OCC fleet is on average two years younger than our existing fleet with a similar fleet composition. Star Bulk will continue to be a consolidator in the dry bulk industry and expect that the acquisitions will provide Star Bulk with further synergies and economies of scale,” said Star Bulk CEO Petro Pappas.

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During the 51st Committee meeting of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) in Cascais, Portugal, from the 7-11 May 2018, it was agreed that the signatories would start an information campaign starting January 2019 to encourage timely compliance of the new maximum limits for sulphur in ships fuel oil, entering into force on 1 January 2020 through the issuance of issuing warning letters. A new concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) will be also be carried out jointly with the Tokyo MOU from September to November 2018. 

Also note, high importance was given to the report of the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Safety of Navigation, including ECDIS1. The CIC was carried out from September to November 2017. The general conclusion was that the results show a good overall implementation of the requirements on board the ships inspected, although voyage planning remains an area of concern.

Friday, 18 May 2018 09:34

Maersk Honam to discharge cargo

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The Maersk Honam is scheduled to berth at the Port of Jebel Ali on May 22nd to finally begin the discharge of the intact containers nearly three months after the giant containership was hit by a major fire in the Indian Ocean.  Operations are expected to take 4 to 7 days and the vessel salvor has asked for a salvage security in the amount of 42.5% of the cargo value plus an additional 11.5% required as a general average deposit. This means a shipper with goods worth $100,000 in a container faces a combined general average and salvage security bond bill of $54,000 to have the cargo released.  Also MSC, Maersk Line's 2M partner, is requesting an amount of $750 per TEU to cover all additional transhipment, storage and on-carriage costs.  

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