Thursday, 18 September 2014 18:00

Vale to sell four VLOC's to COSCO

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Vale SA has achieved a breakthrough in the company’s relations with China that may finally overcome the two year ban on its Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOC) from Chinese ports. The company is to transfer ownership and lease back four VLOC’s to COSCO for 25 years and in the longer term also take on long term charter 10 Capesizes that COSCO is yet to build. Vale’s inability to dock its ships at Chinese ports has frustrated the company’s attempts to reduce freight costs and compete with Australian rivals. Chinese ship owners have long opposed access to Vale’s VLOC’s resulting in the development of expensive  transshipment centers in Malaysia and the Philippines. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014 17:45

Asian Gypsy Moth high risk period ends in Canada

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a pdf notice (43 KB)  confirming that the high risk period for Asian Gypsy Moth in Western Canada ended on September 15th. From Sept 16th, CFIA will continue to conduct a rate of inspection for vessels that have visited a high-risk area during its' associated high-risk season.   If AGM life stages are found aboard a vessel during an inspection between Sept 16th to the end of February, the vessel will be placed under regulatory controls (Notice of Quarantine and Movement Certificate), but it will not be ordered out for cleaning, and vessel operations will not be disrupted. 

Note that high risk period continues in most ports in the United States.  This week in Journal of Commerce, it was reported that Customs and Border Protection agents in Los Angeles have quarantined 15 ships detected with Asian Gypsy Moth.  This is a record season with three month left to go in the AGM high risk period in Southern California.  

Friday, 12 September 2014 09:56

PMV acquires new security assets

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Earlier this week Port Metro Vancouver unveiled new patrol vessels and other operations and security assets that will help maintain the safe, secure, efficient and reliable movement of marine traffic and cargo within Port Metro Vancouver’s jurisdiction.  These assets include two new harbour patrol boats, built by Campbell River's Daigle Weldingine, a refurbished patrol boat, and a new incident response and response vehicle with tactical equipment.  Also announced was the completion of the updates to its harbour operations manual, now referred to as the Port Information Guide.  More details..

Friday, 12 September 2014 09:54

Ocean Three alliance launched

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CMA CGM, China Shipping Container Lines and United Arab Shipping Co have unveiled a new alliance to be known as Ocean Three. The alliance is intended to cover east-west trades including five weekly transpacific loops, plus one Asia-US east coast string via the Suez Canal and one service dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico with further expansion planned in due course. With an estimated 13% market share of the transpacific trades and a 20% s in the Asia-Europe trades the new alliance is not expecting undue regulatory hurdles.The three lines will deploy 129 ships between them initially and the plan is for the Alliance to get up and running by the end of this year.

Meanwhile Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co have sent senior representatives to Washington to meet with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) today amidst concerns that the proposed 2M vessel-sharing agreement is meeting opposition. Two FMC commissioners have recently voiced reservations about the agreement and warned that the FMC is likely to stop the clock on the 45day review in order to gather more information.

The EU also this week gave its blessing to the merger of Hapag Lloyd and CSAV.

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The House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation convened a hearing today this week to review the status of the US Merchant Marine. The Subcommittee hear that that the American maritime industry, supported by the Jones Act, is strong, vibrant, and growing with the movement of crude, refined petroleum products, and chemicals and has seen dramatic growth as a result of the shale oil revolution which is driving record levels of new vessel construction orders and deliveries in American shipyards. The Committee also heard that in 2012, US shipbuilders delivered 1,260 vessels worth more than $20 billion in revenue, according to a recent study and over the past year, US shipyards have entered into hundreds of contracts for new vessels, including the construction of state-of-the-art oil tankers and the world’s first LNG-powered containership that the White House recently recognized as critical to the future of maritime transportation.

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A Marine Accident Report released this week by the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board has determined that the loss of 517 containers and damage to 250 more on the 8,160 TEU Svendborg Maersk in the Bay of Biscay in February this year was primarily due the heavy rolling in severe weather. The vessel was on passage from Rotterdam to the Suez Canal at the time. At one point the vessel is recorded to have rolled up to 41 degrees to port which almost inevitably caused a major loss of containers overboard. Following the incident, the vessel tok refuge to restow her remaining deck containers in Malaga, Spain. The company is working with the French government in an effort to recover the missing containers. The Bay of Biscay is renowned by mariners as being a particularly nasty and unpredictable stretch of water in a storm.

Friday, 12 September 2014 09:50

India to allow Italian marine to return home

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The Indian government is to allow one of the Italian marines facing murder charges for the 2012 accidental shooting of two Indian fisherman believed to be pirates to return to Italy for urgent medical treatment. Marine Massimiliano Lattore, 47, (above left) suffered a mild stroke in August. Under international pressure, India had dropped a plan to prosecute the marines under a new anti-piracy law whilst  Italy maintains that the incident occurred in international waters and that jurisdiction over the marines should lie with Rome. In April 2012, Rome paid $190,000 to each of the victims’ families as compensation and in return, the families dropped their cases against the marines but the state’s case has not been dropped.

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Following a decision by the federal government announced last year to find a replacement for the 43 year old Princess of Arcadia which was purpose-built for the Bay of Fundy ferry service linking St. John NB with Digby, Nova Scotia, purchase of the Greek island ferry Blue Star Ithaki (above) is believed to be under negotiation. A price tag of about $42m is remoured to have been accepted by the current owners but final terms are still under discussion. The vessel has capacity for 1,317 passengers, 245 vehicles and has an operating speed of 24 knots. 

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Following our message last week on the formation of the new Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition, further details on the Canadian-European Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) provisions for maritime services have been released. The agreement makes concessions on:

  • The movement of empty containers freight free between ports in Canada on a non-revenue basis by vessels of any registry
  • The provision of feeder services for cargo between Halifax and Montreal on EU registered vessels
  • The contracting out of commercial dredging services

In a press release the Seafarers International Union of Canada argues that “the agreement will allow EU beneficially owned Flag of Convenience (FOC) vessels and so-called European National Flag to trade freely between Canadian ports without any restrictions on origin of the crew, or level of wage and working conditions. What we can be sure about is that this agreement will completely halt the Canadian maritime transport sector's growth. Moreover, the communities and regions that depend on this industry will be destroyed. Once this agreement is in place, it will not take long before the rest of the Canadian transportation sectors are affected, including, air, road and rail”.

Friday, 12 September 2014 08:12

CN opens new training facility in Winnipeg

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CN opened its new employee training centre in Winnipeg this week.  The 100,000-square-foot facility hosts can 350 CN students from across Canada every week, with hands-on training for all key railway jobs inlcuding courses for jobs ranging from conductor to car mechanic, and from track supervisor to signal maintainer. Employees will receive hands-on training in indoor learning laboratories with equipment such as locomotive simulators and dispatcher stations. Outdoor labs with dedicated rolling stock and other equipment for field training will also be a key focus.

Thursday, 11 September 2014 23:32

Franklin Arctic expedition ship located

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Just weeks after announcing plans to continue the search for two British explorer ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, the Prime Minister has revealed that one of the two ships has been found.  Further analysis is needed to determine which one of two ships that vanished in the Arctic more than 160 years ago it is. Sir John Franklin led the two ships and 129 men in 1845 to chart the North West Passage in the Canadian Arctic. Expedition sonar images from the waters of Victoria Strait, just off King William Island, clearly show the wreckage of a ship on the ocean floor.The find was been described as "the biggest archaeological discovery the world has seen since the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb almost 100 years ago" by  British archaeologist, William Battersby, who has written extensively about the Franklin expedition. The government began searching for Franklin's ships in 2008 as part of a strategy to assert Canada's sovereignty over the Northwest Passage.

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Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) negotiations committee, which represents some 1,700 CN railway workers, met with management of the rail carrier on October 28 to propose a negotiating process, in order to reach an agreement that does not include a work stoppage or service interruption.  The proposal requires both parties to pay predetermined amounts to charities, instead of imposing a lockout or a strike, until an agreement is reached.  While the current contract only expires on January 1, 2015 it was reported that normal negotiations are continuing smoothly.

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