After eight months of dithering, it has taken a new government in India to get that country’s High Court to bow to the inevitable and drop all charges against the 35 crew and guards from the US-based private security vessel Seaman Guard Ohio which was converted for commercial anti-piracy duties. The Indian Attorney General had filed a “First Information Report” against the crew and guards of the vessel for unauthorized entrance into Indian waters while being in the possession of firearms on October 13 2013.
Even after a senior court has annulled its formal blacklisted status in the ports of the European Union earlier this month, the National Iranian Tanker Corporation (NITC) seems set to continue its struggle with restrictions on shipping and insurance. NITC has always denied any links with the government of Iran but has relentlessly attempted to hide ownership by changing the names of its vessels and their flags to conceal true vessel identities. Under the interim agreement with the world’s major powers signed in November 2013, Iran’s exports should average one million barrels/day through to July 20 but in reality they have been well above that level for several months. The International Group of insurance clubs has also not been providing P&I cover to shipowners engaging in the temporarily permitted Iranian trade due to the lack of confirmation from the EU/US that cover will be able to respond beyond the expiry of the six-month temporary suspension measures on 20 July. (NITC is a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, which was privatized in 2009. As of 2011, NITC was owned by funds managing pensions for 5 million Iranians, is the biggest tanker company in the Middle East and 4th in the world.
Effective 7:00 am Monday, July 21st, 2014, the Clark Drive Overpass will open to inbound container drayage truck traffic destined for CENTERM ONLY. Container drayage trucks bound for other destinations will be directed to enter at Commissioner Street.
Outbound vehicles may continue to exit port property via any of the Vehicle Access Control System (“VACS”) gates at Commissioner Street, Clark Drive and/or Heatley Avenue.
Through funding provided by Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), both the Northwest Regional Aiport and the Prince Rupert Aiport will receive over $14 million combined in funding over the next two years for improvements in runway safety and visual aids.
Germany v. Argentina - Sunday, July 13 at 12:00 Pacific Time
BC Provincial Transportation Minister Todd Stone (above left in the centre of the picture) and his Chief of Staff Jessica Wolford took time out from his schedule to go ship visiting with the Chamber on July 10. First up was Saga Odyssey loading wood pulp at Lynnterm where Vice President Operations Dave Lucas (above left on the right of the picture) provided an insight to Western Stevedoring’s operations and also the container operation at Coast 2000 for which he is also currently responsible. A visit to the K-Line container vessel Granville Bridge at Vanterm was then hosted by Quentin Newman, Vancouver General Manager for K-Line (above centre and right on the right hand side of the picture) which provided an opportunity for the Minister to hear at first hand the ocean carrier perspectives of recent changes to container terminal operations as a consequence of the 15 Point Drayage Action Plan. Sincere thanks go to Saga Forest Carriers and K-Line for facilitating the two visits.
In the latest provincial LNG development, Steelhead LNG Corp. and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN) have signed what is being described as an “opportunity development agreement” to explore the potential for development of an LNG export project on the latter’s land at Sarita Bay at the southern end of Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island. If it goes ahead, the proposal is to build a $30 billion land-based liquefaction facility based on an application to the National Energy Board for a license to export up to 30 million tons of LNG per year for 25 years supplied by four LNG production trains. As part of the opportunity development agreement, it was announced that Steelhead LNG will provide HFN with capacity funding in order to secure the technical, environmental and negotiating expertise it needs to protect its land and its interests. Steelhead LNG and Huu-ay-aht First Nations will also work together on a social benefit and community engagement program.
Fincantieri subsidiary VARD has acquired the naval architecture and marine engineering firm STX Canada Marine which will now be renamed VARD Marine as part of a $10.5 million sale agreement. The company’s 75 employees, located in Vancouver and Houston, will not be affected. The company currently has an order book of 38 ship designs for vessels under construction, for ship owners and yard customers worldwideincluding a number of dual fuel LNG powered OSVs and heavy lift construction vessels.
The PMA and ILWU agreed to take a 72 hour time out from USWC contract negotiations this week to allow the union to attend “an unrelated negotiation” in the Pacific Northwest. This turned out to be the year long dispute with Columbia River Grain terminals, some of whom continue to lock out ILWU labor. On the plus side, the six year coastal contract, which expired July 1, was extended during the break through to Saturday July 12 and operations at LA & LB were reported to have been largely unaffected by the Teamsters setting up information pickets at terminal gates this week accusing harbor trucking companies of misclassifying drivers.
Cosco Container Lines Americas has announced the closure of most regional offices in the U.S. in favor of a centralized North American Operations Center (location yet to be announced) which is to be opened in January 2015. As a consequence, offices in Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Henderson, New York, Norfolk, San Francisco and Seattle will close with most customer service and operation functions performed at the New Jersey headquarters also to be transferred. Offices in Houston, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Long Beachare not affected.
We are pleased to congratulate Chamber of Shipping board member Richard Chappell on assuming the Chairmanship of the BCMEA for a two year term. Richard is the Regional Vice President Operations, Canada, for Westwood Shipping Lines and has served on the BCMEA board since 1997. Richard has been a board member at the Chamber since 2002 and was Chair of our board from 2008-2012.
Saga Forest Carriers and Westfal-Larsen Shipping have announced an agreement to form a joint shipping pool which is to be managed by Saga Welco AS. Under the agreement, the open hatch fleets of Saga, Wesfal-Larsen subsidiary Masterbulk Pte Ltd. and Attic Forest AS (Hesnes Group) will be combined. The agreement will take effect in October 2014 and will be made up of 52 open hatch vessels and 2 new buildings for 2017 delivery. The head office will be located at Tenvik/Tønsberg, Norway and the senior management will consist of Mr. Lars Traaseth as CEO/President and Mr. Einar Didriksen as COO.
The Australian government has confirmed plans to repeal a carbon tax introduced by the previous Labour government which requires about 350 major Australian companies to pay just over $20 for every ton of carbon emissions they produce. From the outset, the Australian LNG industry has pointed out that it was the only LNG nation exporting into the Asia-Pacific region that was saddled with a carbon tax when LNG is seen as one of the cleanest fuels in the world. The tax so far has been at a fixedprice but there is a transition to a market-based emissions trading scheme in two more years if the tax is still in place.
A review of LNG carrier new build activity for the first half of this year reveals that approximately $4.6 billion has been invested in 23 new vessels. With 398 LNG carriers in operation, the global order book now stands at 128 ships averaging $200m each. There are 26 new LNG carriers scheduled for delivery this year, 39 in 2015, 36 in 2016, 24 in 2017 and so far two in 2018 and one in 2019. Amongst a flurry of LNG new build news this week involving Teekay, it was also announced that Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is to team up with the China Shipping (Group) Co. to operate the world's first regular LNG service through the Arctic (see map above right). The plan is to ship LNG from Russia's Yamal LNG project to markets in Europe and Asia using three ice class LNG carriers to be built by South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) at cost of $990 million.
Confounding all of you doubters, the government of Nicaragua has approved plans for a new $40bn canal linking the Pacific and Atlantic. The plan $40 billion plan is being developed by HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment (HKND Group), headed by Mr. Wang Jing of the Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group. The proposed 278 kms long canal which would pass through Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake, would be between 230 and 520 m wide and 27.6 m deep. Under current planning time-lines ground will be broken this year, construction would complete in 2019 and the new canal will begin operations in 2020. Nicaraguan officials say their waterway would "complement" the Panama Canal rather than be in direct rivalry to it. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega together with Mr. Wang Jing is pictured above right with signed agreements.
The EU has opened what it calls an “in depth investigation” to determine whether tax breaks for publicly owned Dutch ports, including Rotterdam, breach EU state aid rules by exempting them from payment of corporate tax on the basis that they are publicly owned. Earlier this year, Rotterdam which is the EU’s busiest biggest container port, claimed it is losing almost one million containers a year to its rivals, led by second- and third-ranked Hamburg and Antwerp, who receive “ unfair” subsidies from the German and Belgian governments respectively. The EU Commission said it has also told France and Belgium that it has concerns over the taxation regimes for their ports and has asked Germany to provide further information The Port of Rotterdam’s tax bill would increase by around €50 million ($68 million) if it is subject to corporate taxation.
West Coast Reduction has completed Phase 2 of its Rail Unloading Improvement Project, increasing the number of railcars that can be unloaded simultaneously from 16 to 24. It is estimated that West Coast Reduction's canola oil handling capacity will increase by 50 per cent and this represents potentially an additional $270 million in exports. The remaining phase involves upgrading the piping system between the pump house and the marine vessel berths and is scheduled for completion by March 2015.
Marking the occasion were (pictured above) Transport Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary Jeff Watson, joined by West Coast Reduction President and CEO Barry Glotman, Director of Technical and Environmental Services, Ken Ingram and Director of Sales and Marketing Rob Jones, at West Coast Reduction.