The US Coast Guard has circulated a summary of its Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee meetings held March 6-8, 2018. Topics discussed included LNG containment sytems, remote control and monitoring systems for liquefied barges, and response plans for facilities and vessels for hazardous substance spills. On the latter, it was determined that the subcommittee's extensive response plan would be an economic burden and given the low incident rates, the full committee agreed to petition Congress to remove this mandate as part of it regulatory reform. Interesting as Canada has just kicked off its consultation on hazardous and noxious substances.
On March 22 2018, CN and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) announced that the parties have reached a tentative agrement to renew the labour contract for approximately 1,700 CN locomotive engineers in Canada. Details of the agreement are withheld pending ratification, which is expected to take around 60 days. CN transports more that C$ 250 billion worth of goods annually, across a rail network of approximately 20,000 route-miles spanning Canada and mid-America.
The Government of Ontario has accepted Damen's proposal to build two ferries with full electric propulsion. Damen is building a Road Ferry 6819 and a Road Ferry 9819 (68 metres and 98 metres respectively) to operate in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. The vessels will be the first fully electric, non-cable vessels in Canada. It is estimated that electrification of the two ferries one servicing Kingston and Wolfe Island and the other Millhaven and Amherst Island (Loyalist Township) – will reduce emissions by the equivalent of seven million kg carbon dioxide per year.
On February 25, 2018 Capt. Erling Myhrstad passed away peacefully amongst family and friends. He was an active industry member and was involved with several committees under the Chamber of Shipping and the BC Maritime Employers Association through the years until he retired from Star Shipping (Canada) as the Operations Manager in 1992. Capt. Myhrstad joined Star Shipping as Port Captain for Vancouver in 1968 and later worked in the Bergen, Norway and San Francisco offices in various managerial positions before returning to Vancouver in 1978 as the Operations Manager for Squamish Terminals. A private service was held last week.
On Tuesday, March 13th the Chamber of Shipping was honoured by the participation of not only our members and guests, but also the federal Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, who agreed to be our event's keynote speaker. With media in attendance the Minister announced new actions to protect Canada's coasts and waterways which includes new pilot projects for Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative on British Columbia’s North Coast and measures to reduce the underwater noise impacting Southern Resident Killer Whales. The Haida Nation and the Gitga’at Nation with work with federal partners to develop, test and evaluate a new marine awareness information system.
In the AGM official business, the following incumbent directors were re-appointed for a two year term: Richard Chappell of Westwood Shipping Lines, Kim Christensen of ACGI Shipping, George Runyon of Evergreen Shipping Agency, and Oscar Pinto of Valles Steamship Canada Ltd.
Canada’s two major railways have submitted required plans to address the backlog in response to the joint letter sent by both the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Agriculture on March 7th. CN unveiled their strategy on Wednesday, promising to spot 5,000 grain cars by the end of March. The railway has also leased 125 locomotives, with a target of 130. For their part, CP said it “continues to add both crews and locomotives to support volumes across all commodities.” In a letter to both ministers, the railway said it plans to add 100 locomotives through the summer. Another 700 crew members have also been added, in various stages of training.
Wolverine Terminals ULC has submitted and posted a draft Environmental Effects Evaluation (EEE) for the proposed Prince Rupert Marine Fuels Project. Wolverine Terminals is proposing to construct and operate Prince Rupert Marine Fuels, a first-of-its-kind marine fuel delivery service for the Port of Prince Rupert that would enable cargo vessels anchored or berthed in the Port to refuel locally. Currently, the Port of Prince Rupert is one of the only major ports in the world not to offer marine fueling services for cargo ships, a significant competitive disadvantage. The proposed refueling service is subject to an EEE under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). The public comment period ends within the next 30 days. Wolverine Terminals will host an Open House on March 21, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Crest Hotel in Prince Rupert. Wolverine expects a regulatory decision in mid-2018, with construction to begin in early 2019.
Seaspan Corporation has acquired the remaining 89% it did not own of Greater China Intermodal Investments LLC ("GCI") from affiliates of The Carlyle Group ("Carlyle") and the minority owners of GCI. This acquisition solidifies Seaspan’s industry-leading position as the world’s largest independent containership owner operator, and highlights Seaspan’s strength and ability to achieve sustained growth and drive consolidation in the fragmented containership sector. GCI’s fleet of 18 modern containerships is comprised of 10,000 TEU and 14,000 TEU eco-class vessels, representing a total of 204,000 TEU. Of these 18 vessels, there are currently 16 on-the-water vessels with the remaining two newbuild vessels scheduled for delivery during the second quarter of 2018. Seaspan has been involved in the design, construction, delivery and operations of all 18 of GCI’s vessels since inception and all of these vessels are sister ships to Seaspan’s current fleet.
On March 6th, Clear Seas released a new report analyzing how ship routing combined with the location and availability of Emergency Tow Vessels (ETVs) or rescue tugs might affect the probability of a disabled vessel drifting aground along the Pacific coast of Canada. The study was commissioned by Clear Seas and produced by Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC, and is the first of three reports to be presented by Clear Seas as elements of the Marine Transportation Corridors project. The combined results of these studies will aim to provide an enhanced understanding of some of the risks and potential prevention strategies associated with shipping activity on Canada’s Pacific coast. The approach developed for this study can be applied to all of Canada’s coastlines. Download the full report here.
Prince Rupert doctors will be better able to diagnose a range of conditions thanks to a new piece of equipment. With funding from the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment fund and DP World Prince Rupert, the regional hospital is now home to a new diagnostic ultrasound machine.Northern Health says the new machine will ensure that the 4,000 ultrasound patients seen each year on the North Coast can continue to receive services locally. The Port’s Community Investment Fund kicked in over $72,500, DP World provided $25,000, and Northern Health matched the funding required to purchase the diagnostic ultrasound.
This week the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, announced $9.1 million in new science funding to develop and test technologies able to detect the presence of whales. The ability to capture near real-time information could help alert mariners of whales in a particular area, reducing the risk of collisions. He also announced over $3.1 million for four research projects to study the impacts of underwater noise and reduced availability of prey on marine mammals including the Southern Resident Killer Whale.
The federal Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, initiated on Monday this week, the Government of Canada's review of Canadian port authorities with the intention to optimize their role in the transportation system as strategic assets that support inclusive and sustainable growth and trade. The review will include engagement activities with Indigenous peoples, Canada Port Authorities, provincial governments, municipalities, broader domestic and international marine sector stakeholders, and Canadians. To have your say about how our ports can respond to current and future challenges and opportunities, let us know your thoughts, or respond directly to the letstalktransportation.ca/ports-modernization-review website.
Governor Jay Inslee signed Executive Order 18-02 this week to establish a Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) Task Force. The Task Force is expected to prepare a comprehensive report and recommendations for recovering SRKW, with a full draft due by October 1, 2018, and a final report by November 1, 2018. The report should detail ongoing and new actions that will address all of the major threats, including prey availability, legacy and ongoing toxic contaminants, and disturbance from noise and vessel traffic. A second report outlining the progress made, lessons learned, and outstanding needs shall be completed by October 1, 2019. The Washington Legislature this year approved $115,000 for the development of a long-term orca recovery plan, $548,000 for more enforcement of rules for vessels that travel near orcas and $837,000 for hatchery operations that boost the stock of Chinook salmon and other key prey species.
The USCG, working with its domestic and International Maritime Organization (IMO) partners, submitted a proposal to IMO to amend Annex VI to allow vessels with a Tier II compliant engine to enter and depart the ECA provided the vessel was proceeding to or departing from a shipyard or other repair facility located in the ECA. The amendments were adopted July 7, 2017, and they are expected to enter into force Jan. 1, 2019. In order to be able to rely on the exemption to qualify for transit of the ECA with a Tier II engine, a vessel must sail directly to or from the shipyard or other repair facility without loading or unloading cargo during the exemption as per the bulletin issued on March 8th. Vessels wishing to enter either US ECA that meet the above requirements must notify the cognizant Captain of the Port prior to entry into the ECA.
The Coast Guard Marine Safety Center received its tenth application for Ballast Water Management System type approval for the BIO-SEA B Ballast Water Management System manufactured by BIO-UV Group. MSC will review the application for compliance with US Coast Guard regulations in 46 CFR 162.060. Once it has been determined that the application meets the requirements, the MSC will issue a type approval certificate and this will be posted on MSC’s website.
Rear Adm. John Nadeau, US Coast Guard's assistant commandant for prevention policy, addressed leaders from industry at the Connecticut Maritime Association’s Shipping 2018 conference and provided a preview of the Port State Control statistics for the US ahead of the release of its annual report. More than 10,000 foreign ships called US ports last year representing 84 different flag administration, an increase of 8 percent from the previous year. Despite this increase and the increase in exams by 2 percent, the vessel detention rate was less than 1 percent, the lowest rate in recent history. Three leading causes for detentions were deficiencies in firefighting appliances, lifesaving equipment, and safety management systems. With respect to ballast water management systems, he indicated that the USCG will be more selective and restrictive on extensions now that there are six type approved systems.