Robert Allan Ltd. has developed a new all electric pilot boat aimed at the latter type of service where the run to the ship is 5 nautical miles or less. The RAlly 1600-E is an aluminum version of its highly successful steel predecessor. It boasts a fully electric twin screw drivetrain and a substantial bank of high energy density batteries that are recharged from shore power. Twin small auxiliary generators give “get home” and range extension capability but are normally not running. With a top speed of 20 knots and quiet, emission free running, this vessel will convey pilots at speed and in style. The environmental impact of operations as well as operating costs are also significantly reduced.
The Province of BC appoints one board member to the Board of Directors at each Canada Port Authority in the province. There are upcoming vacancies for Provincial appointees at the Nanaimo Port Authority, Port Alberni Port Authority and Prince Rupert Port Authority. More information, including how to apply can be found here, and in the position postings at the links below:
The CP Rail strike planned by the Teamster Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) last weekend was averted, at least temporarily after Labour Minister, Patty Hajdu, determined that the union members should be given an opportunity vote on the final offers made by CP Rail just hours prior to the strike deadline. If CP's offers are rejected, both unions will be free to exercise their rights to strike. Neither CP nor the unions released details of the offers, but union officials suggested they do not satisfy workers’ concerns on work schedules, fatigue or wages. Approximately 3,000 train conductors and engineers at CP are represented by the TCRC. Roughly 360 signal maintainers at CP are members of the IBEW.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has approved the permit application for the Centerm Expansion Project and South Shore Access Project. The decision was made after a thorough and robust project and environmental review, including three rounds of public consultation and extensive technical studies to understand the potential impacts of the project and proposed mitigations. Centerm is an existing container terminal at the Port of Vancouver operated by DP World Vancouver on the south shore of Vancouver’s inner harbour. The proposed projects include a series of on-and off-terminal improvements to Centerm container terminal and port roads that will increase the terminal footprint by 15 per cent and the number of containers that can be handled at the terminal by approximately two-thirds.
The British Columbia Government has submitted a reference question to the BC Court of Appeal seeking clarification on its right to protect BC from the threat of a diluted bitumen spill. The reference question concerns provincial autonomy, particularly the rights of British Columbia to regulate the environmental and economic impacts of heavy oils, like diluted bitumen, transported through the province. Earlier in the week the Government of Canada submitted its response to the BC Government's Policy Intentions Paper for Engagement. The response included an updated science report on diluted bitumen and an open letter to BC Minister of Environment, George Heyman from federal Minister McKenna offering to collaborate on a joint Scientific Expert Advisory Panel.
Ridley Terminals Inc. made public the results of an audit conducted over the last year by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. The audit found that the Board did not meet its key responsibilities and failed to oversee the Corporation’s management, leading to multiple significant deficiencies often relating to oversight. The Board approved and entered into a 20-year agreement for a diversification project without proper approval from the government, while the Corporation was potentially slated to be sold. The audit report will be included in the Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to Parliament in Spring 2018. It is available from the Crown Corporation at http://ow.ly/RoBD30jHINe.
On April 23, 2018, Canada's Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Sarah Fountain Smith, deposited Canada's instrument of ratification to the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (2010 HNS Convention). The treaty has now been ratified by three States, Canada, Norway and Turkey. The total quantity of contributing cargo has reached 28.7 million tonnes, or nearly 72% of that required for entry into force. The 2010 HNS Convention aims to deliver the uniform and comprehensive regime needed to provide compensation for costs, including clean-up and restoring the environment, in the event of an incident involving HNS cargoes. The treaty complements existing regimes already in force for the transport of oil as cargo, bunker oil used for the operation and propulsion of ships, the removal of hazardous wrecks and claims for death of or personal injury to passengers, or for damage to their luggage, on ships. HNS covered by the Convention include: oils; other liquid substances defined as noxious or dangerous; liquefied gases; liquid substances with a flashpoint not exceeding 60˚C; dangerous, hazardous and harmful materials and substances carried in packaged form or in containers; and solid bulk materials defined as possessing chemical hazards.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is moving forward with retrofit designs to further strengthen the Lions Gate and Ironworkers Memorial bridges, to keep people and goods moving safely. The updates would bring the bridges up to the more stringent Class 1 criteria as they are deemed of critical importance to the transportation network and should be 10 times more reliable than a regular bridge. Changes in vessels operating in the Burrard Inlet, and updates to the national bridge design code, prompted the ministry to review both bridges against the code in spring 2015. The review included consultation with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the Pacific Pilotage Authority, BC Coast Pilots and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The full risk assessment and mitigation reports are available on-line.
The Government of Canada has announced an investment of $80 million to replace the Centre for Plant Health in Sidney, BC. The Centre is a CFIA diagnostic testing, research and quarantine facility, with both laboratories and greenhouses. The development of this world-class plant health research facility will provide CFIA scientists and partners with state-of-the-art facilities to advance plant science. Having the right tools is essential to help Canada develop and partner on new ideas and opportunities to protect and grow its agriculture and agri-food sector, as part of the it's goal of attaining $75 billion in agriculture and food exports by 2025.
The Federal Maritime Commission’s Bureau of Enforcement has initiated an expedited inquiry into complaints that some ocean carriers are unilaterally changing service contract terms by cancelling the port/container yard to final customer destination leg of the cargo shipment. Letters were sent last Friday, April 20th, to those shipping lines whose service contract actions have been called into question. In this inquiry, the Commission is seeking information that will assist in understanding the timing, fairness, and lawfulness of the alleged unilateral changes to ocean carriers’ obligations for inland trucking services. These cancellations are allegedly due to lack of inland truck availability and likely a result of the acute shortage of truck drivers facing the US nationwide.
NOAA Fisheries announced that a voluntary vessel speed restriction zone under the Dynamic Management Area program is currently in effect 12 Nautical Miles east of Boston to protect an aggregation of right whales. This DMA is in effect through May 3, 2018. Mariners are requested to route around this zone or transit through it at ten knots or less. The US Coast Guard has issued a notice to mariners and reminded that it is unlawful to approach within 500 yards of a North Atlantic right whale by a vessel, aircraft (including drones) or other means, or to fail to take required avoidance measures. Avoidance measures include steering a course away from the whale and immediately leaving the area at a slow, safe speed. The 450 remaining North Atlantic right whales are surface feeders, which means they are often at the surface or just below the surface when feeding, which makes them hard to see and especially vulnerable to being hit by a vessel.
Off Canada's east coast the mandatory speed restriction is in place from April 28 until November 15 for vessels 20 metres or longer to a maximum of 10 knots when travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence. The speed restriction zone may be changed as needed and vessels will be allowed to at normal speeds in parts of two shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island when no whales are in the area. A 15-day mandatory slowdown of 10 knots will be activated within a section of the shipping lanes when one North Atlantic right whale is spotted and can be extended as needed.
The European Union has issued its report on the results of the emissions control areas (ECAs) implemented the same time as the North America ECA on January 1, 2015 which mandates the use of marine fuels with a maximum 0.10% sulphur content in coastal areas. A high level of compliance was seen on inspected ships and this has lead to significant reduction of sulphur dioxides concentrations in ambient air in regions bordering the ECAs of up to 60%. The Commission is now considering additional ECAs and will also the benefits of lowering the sulphur content of marine fuels from 0,50% to 0,10% in European seas outside the ECAs as of 2020. The Commission also tasked EMSA to develop inventories of total ship emissions (SOx, NOx and PM) in all European waters based on ship activity data.
Ships laden with more than 1.2m tonnes of US sorghum bound for China may have no where to go amid the ongoing trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. Twenty ships carrying more than $216m worth of sorghum were at sea today, according to Reuters, but least five of them had changed course within hours of China’s announcement this week that it would place stiff tariffs on the grain. China’s ministry of commerce said it would begin requiring deposits of 178.6% of the value of grain shipments. The five diverted sorghum ships, all loaded in Texas, would have had to pay that deposit, rendering their shipments unprofitable.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference which represents over 3,000 CP Rail conductors and engineers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, with about 365 signal and communications workers, gave the railroad 72-hour notice of strike action on Wednesday. Workers may be on the picket lines as early as 00:01hrs on April 21st but contract talks are still underway with a federal mediator. With the clock ticking down, CP is executing a "safe and structured shutdown" of its Canadian rail network tonight. The Labour Minister has issued a statement advising that the situation will be closely monitored from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The Chamber of Shipping has sent the attached letter to the Ministers of Labour and Transport urging the federal government to act swiftly to minimize any disruption. (UPDATE April 20 @ 17:00 PT - CP Rail has advised that the strike has been averted - no disruption will occur on April 21st)
The Port of Prince Rupert, DP World Prince Rupert and CN welcome a new weekly marine carrier service at the Fairview Container Terminal. Yang Ming and its partners in THE Alliance, Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express, have added Prince Rupert as the first North American port of call on the amended PS8 trans-Pacific service this spring. Originating in the ports of Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai and Busan, the new service makes its inaugural call at the Port of Prince Rupert on Saturday, April 21 with the arrival of the 6,500 TEU capacity vessel, the YM Masculinity.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority led ECHO Program has been selected as a finalist for the Environment Award category of the Lloyd’s List America Awards. This award honours the institution, company or individual that has done the most to reduce the pollution of the marine environment in the Americas from maritime sources. The Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program included a voluntary slow down trial of commercial vessels through Haro Strait to study the relationship between slower vessel speeds, underwater noise levels and effects on southern resident killer whales was the first of its kind. Final results from the research will be released soon.
Pinnacle Renewable Holdings Inc. has entered into a long-term contract to supply Ube Industries Ltd. of Japan with 70,000 tonnes annually of industrial wood pellets beginning in late 2019. There are more than 10 new biomass projects currently in late-stage development in Japan. According to Hawkins Wright, a leading provider of market intelligence and analytical services to the international pulp, paper and biomass industries, the Japanese market represented three per cent of global demand for industrial wood pellets in 2016, and Wright forecasts an increase to approximately 10 per cent of global demand in 2021, and 17 per cent in 2026.