Thursday, 28 August 2014 15:07

Ship docking incident at Centerm


During what was intended to be a very brief first visit into Centerm, the MV CMA CGM Attila sustained damage to its hull during shipdocking operations on Wednesday morning.  A one-metre long puncture is reported in one of the starboard ballast tanks.  No pollution resulted from the incident and the vessel is in good condition, but the vessel will likely remain at Centerm berth #6 until at least Sunday to effect repairs and allow for a full investigation. 

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On August 26th, the ILWU and the US Pacific Northwest grain terminals announced the ratification of a new four year-collective agreement.   88.4% of the ILWU members voted in favour of the deal which includes work rule changes and wage increases over the life of the agreement.  The three terminal operators - Louis Dreyfus Commodities, United Grain Corporation and Columbia Grain Inc. - welcome the end of the two year negotiations and are gearing up to face the next challenge with rail car supply.

While the contract in the Pacific Northwest is completely separate from the ILWU’s coastwide negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association, the following day the parties in this negotiation announced a tentative agreement on what was anticipated to be contentious terms for maintenance of health benefits.  In view of the new tax under Obamacare, the parties have agreed to a shorter three-year term to this collective agreement and the terms agreed thus far will not be disclosed until the remaining items in the agreement are settled.  The coastwide contract represents nearly 20,000 longshore workers at 29 West Coast ports. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 11:02

Vale's potash mine takes another step forward

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WorleyParsons has been awarded an engineering services contract by Vale, the Brazilian mining giant, to proceed with basic engineering and detailed plans required to begin the Kronau potash project construction about 30 miles southeast of Regina in Saskatchewan. This is Vale’s first potash project in Canada and is expected to produce from three to four million tonnes of potash a year. This phase of engineering work is expected to be completed at the end of 2015.  The project will then be presented to Vale’s board for funding approval. If approved, construction would begin in 2016 with production slated for 2019.

326 Franklin

The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has announced that the search for the ill-fated 1845-46 Franklin Expedition vessels: the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror will continue.  Led by Parks Canada, the 2012 Franklin Expedition will, with the help of a number of public and private sector partners, continue to search for the two historic vessels and will also collect scientific data to increase knowledge of the Arctic in a number of areas, including the collection of data for the production of navigational charts and topographical maps in the Arctic and supporting marine archaeology and ecosystem management.  Four ships will support the on-going expedition: the Canadian Coast Guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Kingston, the Arctic Research Foundation’s research vessel Martin Bergmann, and OOE’s One Ocean Voyager, as well as a number of smaller platform vessels. 

Some of the leading technologies to be employed will include the CSA’s RADARSAT-2 satellite imagery, high resolution multi-beam and side-scan sonar, Parks Canada’s remotely operated underwater vehicle and autonomous underwater vehicle, and DRDC’s state-of-the-art autonomous underwater vehicle, Arctic Explorer, which was developed in collaboration with private-sector partners. Five Parks Canada-led searches for the Franklin Expedition ships have already taken place, surveying and charting over 1,200 km2 of the Arctic seabed, which is equivalent to over 2,200 football fields. This year’s expedition builds on the work of the previous searches and is expected to greatly exceed the best year of mapping to date.

Monday, 25 August 2014 09:57

Introducing the Tymac Tide

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Last week Tymac Launch Service and owner, Ron Brinkhurst, introduced to the local marine industry the newest addition to its fleet, the Tymac Tide.  The Tymac Tide was built locally to service vessels in Vancouver and the Fraser River and replaces the 90 year old heritage tug, Tymac No. 20.  

Builder:              Sylte Shipyard
Designer:           A.G. McIlwain Ltd.
Length:              35.9 feet
Breadth:            16 feet
Depth:               7.8 feet
Bollard Pull:        10-ton
Gross Tonnage:  14.99
Engines:            Twin John Deere Engines (365 HP @ 1800 RPM)
Tow Line:           800' 3/4" Tow Line (75,590 lbs Breaking Strength) 

Friday, 22 August 2014 10:49

ZIM Piraeus centre of anti-Israel protest

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For four days this week, anti-Israel demontrations prevented the MV Zim Piraeus from unloading at the Port of Oakland after a number of longshoremen agreed not to work during the Block the Boat protest at the terminal.  After a brief departure from Southern California, the Zim Piraeus quickly turned around and redocked at the port enabling more than two dozen longshoremen to work the ship overnight despite the presence of protesters.  Demonstrators attempted to block a Zim vessel in Long Beach on Aug. 13 but failed to stop workers from unloading the ship.  Block the Boat has called for similar protests in Tacoma and Vancouver, with the aim of shutting down Israeli shipping to the West Coast.  ZIM Integrated Shipping Services is 32 percent owned by the Israel Corp. with the other 68 percent owned by various financial institutions and ship owners.

Friday, 22 August 2014 10:17

Russian sanctions leaves cargo adrift

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Two weeks after Russia's imposed sanctions on agricultural products out of Canada, US, Australia, European Union and Norway, shippers are scrambling to find new buyers for goods already en route.   Products failing to find a new destination will be returned to orgin at the shipper's cost and the Russian importers will lose their deposits.  Russia is Canada's third largest market for the pork industry and the US is top poultry supplier to Russia.  Russia's sanctions limiting import of agricultural, raw and food products are intended to last until August 2015. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014 14:43

Fraser Surrey Docks earns approval from PMV

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Following an extensive review by Port Metro Vancouver and an independent environmental review conducted by Golder Associates Ltd., Fraser Surrey Docks' (FSD) permit application for the proposed direct coal transfer facility is now approved. As part of the project review process a Human Health Risk Assessment was considered and accepted.  The approval now gives FSD the green light to move forward with its $15 million project that will see up to 4M metric tonnes of coal per year loaded onto barges and transferred to ocean-going carriers at Texada Island.  FSD will begin construction and operations will commence in the fall of 2015. For more information view PMV News Release or visit

325 Morrow

Australia's Ambre Energy $240M coal transfer and loading project at the Port of Morrow on the Columbia River was unsuccessful in its permit application filed with the Oregon Department of State Lands.  The Coyote Island Terminal was to transport up to 8.8M tons of coal a year by train from Montana and/or Wyoming to Boardman where it would be transferred by barge down the Columbia River to Port Westward and loaded onto ocean-going ships bound for Asia. The project was expected to create as many as 2,000 construction jobs and up to 30 permanent jobs, generating an economic impact of $2B.

325 Tilbury1

Thirteen children aged between one and 12 were among 35 Afghan Sikh asylum seekers found in a shipping container at Tilbury Docks.  The group arrived on Saturday on a ship from Zeebrugge, Belgium and were discovered by dock workers who heard banging and screaming coming from one of the containers.   One man was found dead and the others were taken to hospital and treated for severe dehydration and hypothermia.  The 30 people released into police custody include nine men and eight women aged between 18 and 72. Four people still remain in hospital.  Two men from Northern Ireland have have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating illegal entry into the UK.

325 Ningbo2 325 Ningbo

Not unlike what happened in Vancouver earlier this year, Ningbo's Beilun container terminal has been crippled by thousands of truck drivers who were initially protesting trip rates that have not been adjusted for eight years.  The Ningbo Transportation Association has since announced an increase to the trucking rate by 12 percent, however the unrest has grown now to include issues with new environmental regulations, unreasonable port entry fees and shippers' payment terms.  The disruption is now in day five and no immediate resolution is anticipated, although Ningbo's local government and main port operator have intervened and called on industry to adhere to the new rates, violence continues to escalate.

The Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is the sixth-busiest port in the world and the third-busiest port in China, handling 17.33 million TEUs in 2013 and 13,000 drivers service the Beilun terminal compared to the 2,000 drivers that service Vancouver's container terminals.

Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:01

Bernie Dumas appointed ACPA Chair

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At the Association of Canadian Port Authorites' 56th annual meetings in Belledune, New Brunswick this week, Bernie Dumas, CEO of the Port of Nanaimo, was appointed as the ACPA Chair for the ensuing year.  Incoming Vice Chair is Karen Oldfield, President and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority and Secretary/Treasurer is Pierre Gagnon, President and CEO of Port of Sept-Iles.

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