The US House and Senate have agreed on the contents of the “Water Resources Reform and Development Act” that would authorize the dredging of several U.S. ports ahead of the expansion of the Panama Canal. In order to speed up projects, the legislation would include provisions that would allow ports to pay the costs of dredging up front and then seek reimbursement from the government once the project is formally approved.
The Independent Tanks Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) has produced a new series of videos on responding to oil spills. The videos took 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize at the recent International Oil Spill Conference Film Festival in Savannah. The first three 20 minute films "Introduction to Oil Spills", "Aerial Surveillance" and "At-Sea Response" are now available online http://www.itopf.com/information-services/videos/
The two week strike of construction workers in Panama ended on Friday last week thereby allowing work on the new Panama Canal locks to resume. The Authority claims that the stoppage cost the government $1 million a day. The original target date for completing the expansion has already been delayed several times with the original target date of October 2014so far set back by 16 months to early 2016.
Royal Caribbean, the world’s second-largest cruise company, has confirmed an order its fourth Oasis-class vessel which at 225,300 GRT and 6,300 passenger capacity are the world’s biggest cruise ships. The lucky builder is STX, Saint-Nazaire, France and the announcement was made at the keel laying ceremony of the third in class which is scheduled for delivery in 2016. The yard is 66.6% owned by STX and 33.3% by the French state. The first two Oasis-class ships were built by STX in Turku, Finland. The estimated price of this latest order is $1.4 billion.
Oasis of the Seas will leave her customary home base in Port Everglades and head to Europe this year when she sails to Barcelona on September 1. Once in Europe, she will offer a choice of sailings before heading to The Netherlands, where she will undertake a routine drydocking at Képpel Verolme shipyard.
Baltic Shipyard, a member of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation is to build two additional Project 22220 nuclear icebreakers at a contract value of $2.4 billion. These two vessels will be similar in design to the 173-meter Arctic which the yard currently has under construction for Russia. This mega icebreaker features the new OKBM Afrikantov-designed RITM-200, dual reactor plant that provides up to 50 megawatts of power via three shafts to allow for year round operations in the arctic. The Arctic was ordered in August 2012 at a total cost of USD 1.2 billion and is scheduled to be delivered in 2017.
The proponents of Northwestern Australian offshore LNG developments, Inpex Corp of Japan and Royal Dutch Shell have agreed to a $100 million investment in a joint fibre-optic cable system for subsea operations at their respective ventures. The fibre-optic systems will be built, owned and operated by Nextgen Group, a supplier of network connectivity and data facilities to the Australian market and will be completed in 2016. The Prelude and Ichthys LNG projects will contribute equally to the construction of the system which will run some 2,000 kilometres between Darwin and Port Hedland.
The US Navy has made a decision to provide customized e-readers to its submarine fleet. The devices will have no ports, wi-fi or roaming data capabilities which might disclose the position of the submarine to an adversary. The plan is to eventually distribute these so called NeRDs ( good one) which come pre-loaded with 300 books, selected from the General Library Program's 108,000 titles to all vessels in the active fleet.
Despite now being required to pay a £50,000 annual fee (increased in 2012 from £30,000) to keep their tax-privileged status if they had lived in the UK for more than 12 years, it seems that London remains a favored residence for many successful shipping tycoons with several making the just updated Sunday Times Billionaire list. Mr. John Fredriksen who celebrated his 70th birthday last weekend is prominent with £9.25bn billion and reportedly one of the most rapidly growing fortunes in the city. Also making the list was Mr. Idan Ofer (Zim Line) who moved to London last year, cruiseship owner wanabee Richard Branson with £3.6bn and the Swire Family with £2.15bn. There are now 104 billionaires based in the UK with a combined wealth of more than £301 billion giving the UK has more billionaires per head of population than any other country. Arsenal shareholder and Russian business magnate Alisher Usmanov fell to second after his estimated fortune dropped to £10.65bn but poor Chelsea FC owner Abramovich saw his bank balance shrink by £780mto a mere £8.52bn placing him in ninth position overall. I guess that means no new signings for Jose this summer.
SMIT will locate a tug mooring facility at Squamish Terminals to service vessels in the Howe Sound area and beyond. The new facility will be operational by mid-summer 2014.
Transport Canada released two Ship Safety Bulletins this week. Ship Safety Bulletin 02/2014 outlines a new joint process established by Transport Canada's Marine Safety and Transportation of Dangerous Goods Directors to review applications for exemptions from the requirements stipulated under both the Cargo, Fumigation, Tackle Regulations and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. This single-window approach is expected to save time, without compromising the safe marine transportation of packaged dangerous goods.
Ship Safety Bulletin 03/2014 is a reminder that transitional provisions related to the issuance of Security Certificates of Proficiency ends on June 20, 2014. After June 30th, 2014, all seafarers will need to complete a security training course to obtain a Ship Personnel with Designated Security Duties or a Ship Personnel without Designated Security Duties certificate of proficiency.
Port Metro Vancouver will open a new community office in Ladner's Trenant Park Shopping Centre to give members of the community opportunity to meet with PMV staff member to provide feedback on port operations, initiatives and the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project. PMV is hoping to establish strong ties with the community as it moves forward with new projects in the area. The office will open in late July 2014.
Bell Helicopter based in Mirabel, Quebec has been awarded the $172 million contract for the procurement and delivery of 15 light-lift helicopters under the Canadian Guard's Fleet Renewal Plan. The first of the 15 helicopters is expected to be delivered in May 2015.
Effective July 9, 2014 CBSA will tighten its ACROSS system to require the Estimated Date and Time of Loading (EDTL) filed to be provided for ACI Marine when the cargo is containerized and the Foreign Port of Laoding is non-US. Bulk and break-buil cargo will continue to be exempt fro the EDTL requirement.
The International Maritime Organization has issued a Consolidated Guidance Document for Port Reception Facility Providers and Users. The document is intended to encourage the establishment of more adequate reception facilities in ports worldwide. Download the IMO Port Reception Facility Guide.
Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) has issued a Fee Amendment Notice with a proposal to amend the Terminal Gate Efficiency Fee effective July 9, 2014. In the proposal terminal operators will be required to pay $50 for wait times between 90 and 120 minutes and additional $20-$25 for every 30 minutes thereafter. The new fee was included in the 15-point Action Plan reached between the provincial government and Unifor/UTA drivers on March 26th which ended the 28-day trucking disruption in PMV.
Earlier this week PMV also announced its intention to expedite the installation of GPS transponder units on all trucks approved under the port's Truck Licensing System. Currently only 50 per cent of trucks under the TLS are equipped and monitored for congestion and wait times.
The Container Drayage Leadership Team (CDLT) continues to work with PMV to effectively deliver the items within the action plan. This has not been without its challenges. 33 trucking companies have jointly filed a civil claim in the Supreme Court of British Columbia contesting PMV's ability to set trucking rates and now TSI has filed a judicial review in the Federal Court on the wait time fees applied to terminal operators.
The BC Government has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Petronas, the major partner in the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project in Prince Rupert. The LOI outlines a framework designed to allow Petronas to reach a final investment decision by the end of 2014. Under the agreement, Petronas and the provincial government agree to prepare terms for a project development agreement to be finalized by June 30.The Premier then went on to Singapore to sign a similar agreement with the proponents of the smaller Woodfibre LNG project, Pacific Oil & Gas Group. Many believe that should it proceed, this latter could be the first LNG project out of the gate in BC.
In a related development, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (the LNG and natural gas industry version of OPEC) will meet next week with the Japanese government to discuss LNG pricing. Asian countries are challenging the direct link between oil and LNG pricing which in their view does not reflect true market value. For example, the current LNG cost is about $4.60 per million British thermal units in the U.S. and about $7.80 per MMBtu in Europe whereas the imported cost to Japan last year averaged $16.10 per MMBtu.
PMV has announced plans to increase the capacity at Centerm Container Terminal, from approximately 900,000 TEU to between 1.5-to-1.8 million TEU by in 2018. The proposed project includes extending the Centerm berth to the west, filling in the land behind the berth, and a number of changes within the existing terminal footprint including reconfiguration of the container yard, extension of the intermodal rail yard, new terminal truck in-gates and a multi-storey parking structure. The project is designed to addresses near-term capacity constraints within PMV and does not impact the proposed Roberts Bank Container Terminal 2 Project which, if approved, will come on line in the 2020’s. Latest forecast data continues to indicate that container capacity demand through Canada’s west coast will more than double over the next 10 to 15 years.