Friday, 15 August 2014 12:40

Beer exports from Rotterdam in jeopardy

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Ongoing congestion at the Port of Rotterdam is delaying thousands of boxes and adding substantially to shippers’ costs.  Among the victims have been Dutch brewers Heineken and Bavaria who have resorted to trucks instead of barges to move their products to the terminals.  Fingers are pointing at ECT Delta Terminal upgrades and also vessels now  arriving out of schedule.  Vessels can be delayed anywhere up to a week and many carriers are looking at new surcharges to address the congestion and delays. 

Thursday, 14 August 2014 15:24

West African pirates gaining confidence

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On August 9th pirates attacked a tanker 200 nautical miles off the Gulf of Guinea using tactics similar to those used by from Somali pirates.  The tanker was pursued by three skiffs and the pirates approached the ship under several bursts of automatic gunfire.  Fortunately the pirates were unsuccessful in their attempt to board the vessel from the stern.  While there have been similar attacks on vessels off the Niger Delta up to 160 nautical miles out, these have been crew kidnap incidents whereas these pirates appeared to be after the cargo.  Over the past 12 months, 23 product tankers and 19 vessels servicing the petroleum industry have been targeted.  It is estimated that at least one attack is now taking place every week.  

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The Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) has released its feasibility study for the proposed Port Alberni Transshipment Hub (PATH) that includes a new container terminal located in Alberni Inlet.  PATH includes a new terminal that would handle container vessels up to 22,000 TEU capacity in Port Alberni and support distribution centres in the Fraser River, Squamish and Tacoma with barge services through the marine corridors.  The study was funded by the port authority, Transport Canada through the Asia Pacific Gateway Canada Transportation Infrastructure Funding program, and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations.  According to the study this $1.7B project cost is expected to result in significant socio and economic benefits valued at $74.6M per annum.  The next step for PAPA is to secure investors and win the federal government's support.  

To view the study visit:

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On Tuesday evening, the Maltese-flagged vessel Flag Gangos lost power and steering on the lower Mississippi River and collided with the Liberian-flagged vessel Pamisos and the barge Web 235, which were both moored at the International Matex tank terminals.  The barge was struck during a fuel transfer operation and as a result 580 gallons of fuel oil was discharged into the river from the transfer hose.  Boom has been deployed in the area to contain the oil.  While no injuries were reported, the Pamisos and the barge were both damaged. Traffic was reopened the following afternoon to all vessels.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014 15:21

Railways facing pressure from all sides

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Plans to stop CN Rail from operating a line connecting to the Port of Prince Rupert by the Gitxsan First Nation have been averted after the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordered the group not to interfere with CN’s operation that cuts through the group’s 33,000-square-kilometers of territories.  The eviction notice followed the the Supreme Court of Canada's decision on June 26 that upheld the land title rights of the Gitxsan First Nation and confirmed the group's right to block development, including mining and oil pipelines. A huge sigh of relief as US-bound imports continue to choke up the terminals and increase the pressure on rails that are forced to meet an increase in volumes in almost all sectors.

US Congressional pressure is also mounting on BNSF Railway and CP Railway to get rid of a backlog of US grain shipments before the harvest arrives this fall.  US North Dakota senators have indicated that the number of open requests for CP railcars improved only 5 percent between June and August, and the average wait time increased by 27 percent to more than 80 days.  On August 1st, the Canadian Minister of Agriculture extended its requirement for CN and CP to each move 500,000 tonnes of grain per week.

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A tentative agreement has been reached between the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, following a bitter two-year labour dispute over workplace rules and hiring policies.  

The details of the tentative agreement will not be released until the ILWU locals working at United Grain terminal in Vancouver, WA, the Columbia Grain facility in Portland the the Louis-Dreyfus terminals in Portland and Seattle have ratified the agreement.  The results will be announced on August 25th and until then the ILWU has committed to reduced picket lines at United Grain and Columbia Grain terminals where longshore workers have been locked out since May 2013.  Washington State grain inspectors have resumed inspections in Vancouver, WA.

Settlement of this dispute is hoped to have a positive impact on the PMA negotiations in the coastwide agreement with the ILWU. Some are speculating that US West Coast may begin to see production decline following the Labour Day weekend.

Monday, 11 August 2014 11:28

BC Exporter Awards

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Each year, the BC Export Awards recognize the innovative approaches and unique contributions of BC registered export companies across sectors and in all regions of the province as well as the individuals who contribute to their success. Nominations are now open for the annual awards program and will be accepted in the following nine sector award categories plus two individual awards: The Leadership Award and the International Business Studies Award.

Nomination Deadline: August 29, 2014 

For more information on award categories and criteria, click here.

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The Port Alberni Port Authority's Nominating Committee is now accepting nominations for a director in the user category.  Nominations will be accepted until 4:00 pm on September 11, 2014.  For more information visit the Port Authority web site at

Friday, 08 August 2014 12:03

Temporary measures implemented for Ebola

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The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has requested that CBSA coordinate the request to the shipping community to help in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus disease into Canada.  

The CBSA has implemented temporary measure requiring marine carriers arriving in Canada, that have in the past 30 days called into ports on the west coast of Africa, or who have crew or passengers aboard who have been in the affected areas within the past 30 days, to have available and provide a faxed copy of the Maritime Declaration of Health Certificate to the CBSA. 

In accordance with section 38 of the Quarantine Act, marine vessels are required to provide officers with any information or records in their possession that are reasonably required in relation to the duties performed under that Act.  The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for enforcing the Quarantine Act.

PHAC has requested that CBSA require affected vessels fax or email the certificate to the National Targeting Centre (NTC) 24 hours prior to arrival in Canadian waters. 

NTC Fax:  613-960-1556
NTC Email:  CBSA-ASFC-PANS/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 08 August 2014 10:51

Joint CFIA-USDA Asian Gypsy Moth advisory

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the US Department of Agriculture have released a joint advisory to remind operators that vessels arriving to Canada and US directly from any of the high risk areas for Asian Gypsy Moth - Far East Russia, Japan, Korea and China - must be inspected and certified prior departure.  Also confirmed in the advisory is the USDA's intention to begin issuing penalties for vessels arriving with a valid inspection certificate and failing to submit ports of call data for the last two years.  

So far this season, 15 vessels have been found with Asian Gypsy Moth with most of the detections discovered over the last few weeks in BC.  CFIA has advised that the recent detections are expected with new the AGM population cycle starting in July.  All vessels are required to self-inspect while en route from these area of interest to avoid any potential disruption upon arrival and inspection by CFIA.  The AGM detections this season have been found on certified vessels.  Download the 2014 In-season CFIA - USDA Advisory.

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Following a Canada Border Service Agency inspection at the Port of Montreal, a container destined for Toronto was founds to contain 72.8 kg of Ketamine and 23.5 kg of Norephedrine concealed in a number of rice sacks.  Three Greater Toronto Area residents were arrested for illegal and charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act and the Criminal Code. 

Ketamine is often mixed with other illicit drugs such as MDMA or methamphetamine and over the several years, increased seizures and trafficking of Ketamine in Canada indicate a renewed organized crime interest in the drug. Norephedrine (also known as PPA) is often used as a precursor chemical to produce amphetamines, 4-methylaminorex and other illicit drugs.

Friday, 08 August 2014 10:18

Container terminals under seige

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BC’s container terminals are continuing to struggle with a second month of much higher than usual volumes of US destined cargo.  It appears that this diversion of US cargo is likely to continue so long as uncertainty over the PMA/ILWU coastal contract remains after the previous contract expired on June 30.  The major issue believed to be separating the two sides is that of who will pay for Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) tax on generous health care plans. Employers pay 100% of the premiums in the ILWU health care plan, and union members pay just a $1 co-pay per prescription for medication. The PMA estimates that the new tax will cost the industry $150 million a year. Employers have indicated that a cost-sharing formula can be worked out but the ILWU is resisting to contribute anything.

The situation has been compounded by more ocean carriers making Vancouver a first port of call, congestion on the BNSF Northern Line out of Washington State to the mid-west and problems within the TTX rail pool whereby Union Pacific and BNSF are denying the supply of additional rail cars to the Canadian railways. US economic growth of 4% in Q2 is in itself generating more consumer demand – hence more cargo compounded by peak season including “back to school” goods. The railways also remain under pressure with the passage of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act which requires each Canadian railroad to deliver a minimum of 500,000 tons of grain per week for export. The US has imposed similar measures.

Today DP World has stopped accepting US-bound containers for direct rail transfer at its Centerm terminal because of the lack of railcars.  TSI has indicated that it will continue receiving US cargo at their two facilities and has no intention to adopt a similar policy. 

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