A new whistleblower service has been launched for the container drayage community in the Lower Mainland to provide a way truck drivers to voice concerns about such things as trucking company compliance with Joint Action Plan remuneration rates, truck licensing or driver harassment. The service is a collaborative effort by Port Metro Vancouver and the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Those wishing to file a report can do so online, via a 24/7 telephone service, by fax or by mail. The 1 877 713-5109 toll-free telephone service, called Drayage Confidence Line, is administered by an independent, third-party organization that will forward drivers’ concerns to the appropriate agency for follow-up. Concerns involving driver remuneration will be investigated by the Container Dispute Resolution Program and, where necessary, disciplinary measures will be taken.
The Federal Government this week threw its support behind the recommendation of the Joint Review Panel comprising National Energy Board & Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency that the Northern Gateway project go ahead subject to 209 conditions being met by the proponent. The project comprises a 1,177 km twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta, that will carry 525,000 barrels per day of bitumen from the oil sands to Kitimat, and 193,000 barrels per day of condensate from Kitimat to the oilsands. Export cargoes would be carried by a mixtures of Aframax, Suezmax and VLCC sized tankers. The project continues to face a number of challenges including opposition from ENGOs, several First Nations groups and in meeting the five conditions laid down by the BC Government.
Following the intervention of Dr.Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour, Seaspan Marine last week avoided disruption to ship docking and coastal towage services when ILWU local 400 agreed to binding arbitration in their contract dispute with the company. With the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (CMSG)having already agreed to binding arbitration, the way was cleared for the selection of an arbitrator acceptable to all sides.
The Minister also this week congratulated SMIT Harbour Towage and the CMSG on reaching a collective agreement for members within the jurisdiction of PMV. The agreement was reached with assistance from the Labour Program's Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which provides dispute resolution and dispute prevention assistance to unions and employers under the Canada Labour Code. The previous collective agreement, which covers approximately 27 employees working as masters, mates and engineers, expired on March 31, 2011.
Following extensive public feedback, Woodfibre Natural Gas has announced that the proposed $1.7-billion LNG liquefaction plant would be built on the former pulp mill site rather than bringing in a floating structure. The project, which would see up to 2.1 million tons of LNG shipped from the Squamish facility beginning as early as 2017, is undergoing a blended federal-provincial environmental review. If it receives certification, the parent company, Singaporebased Pacific Oil and Gas, is scheduled to decide by the end of the year whether to proceed with the project.
Meanwhile the province has sold a parcel of land in the Douglas Channel to Haisla First Nations for LNG development.
In his first term of office, President Obama launched the U.S. National Ocean Policy which seeks to streamline more than 100 laws that govern the oceans and create a coordinated, science-based approach to managing resources and uses of coasts and oceans. In follow up, the State Department this week hosted the “Our Ocean” conference, an international conference on sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification where several additional commitments were made including:
For further detailed information see: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/17/fact-sheet-leading-home-and-internationally-protect-our-ocean-and-coasts
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has given preliminary approval to two new incentives designed to attract additional container volumes to the port, encouraging the use of air pollution reducing shore power and ondock rail. Under the so called “Vessel Dockage Waiver Program” the port has decided to waive dockage charges completely for vessels that slow down near the port and plug into shore power or use another approved pollution-cutting technology at berth. Preliminary approval was also given to a $5 per container unit incentive for each new loaded container handled at the port on condition that each container must travel inland by ondock rail to eliminate truck trips on local roads. The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the incentives for final approval at its meeting June 23.
In an unexpected turn of events, China’s Ministry of Commerce this week declared an uncompromising NO to the P3 Alliance as proposed by Maersk, CMA CGM and MSC. The trio immediately announced that their planned game changing mega-alliance which would have controlled 42% of Asia-Europe capacity, 24% of Transpacific capacity and 42% of the Transatlantic capacity is abandoned. The partnership had several rounds of negotiations with the Ministry which concluded there was “a lack of appropriate and convincing evidence which would squeeze the development of competitors, put cargo owners in a weaker position and force ports to lower fees”. The Alliance had previously secured both U.S. and European approval. Having lobbied strongly for P3 rejection, the China Shipowners Association was quick to welcome the government’s decision.
The G6 Alliance which is already operational on the Asia-North Europe, Asia-Mediterranean and Transpacific east coast trade lane is not expected to be affected by Chinese decision.
Much to the relief of the IMO, the governments of Japan and Turkey are the latest to indicate that they will be ratifying the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, bringing its entry into force to within 2.5% of the global tonnage requirement. The Convention will enter into force one year after reaching the 35% tonnage threshold. The decision of a few additional countries to ratify follows an agreement at the IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) last year to approve a staggered implementation of the convention on existing ships despite deep concerns for the robustness of type approval standards for treatment systems.
The high-speed hydrofoil ferry TurboJET Cacilhas travelling from Hong Kong hit a submerged Macau breakwater last Friday when entering port. Macau’s Marine and Water Bureau which is investigating the incident estimated that of the 220 passengers and 13 crew onboard at the time, 70 people were slightly injured, one seriously. The level of safety in Hong Kong’s coastal ferry industry safety has been under the spotlight since July 2012 when 39 people were killed in a collision between the ferry Lamma IV from Lamma Island to Central HKG with the ferry Yung Shue Wan, killing 39 on the Lamma IV and injuring a total of 92 on both craft.
CBSA has issued a reminder that effective July 9, 2014 the requirement to submit an Estimated Date and Time of Loading (EDTL) for ACI Marine will become mandatory. The EDTL is mandatory if the cargo is containerized and the foreign port of loading is non US. Bulk and break-bulk cargo will continue to be exempt from the EDTL requirement.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has seized 197 kg of suspected marijuana and 14 kg of suspected heroin from a tractor trailer at Edmonton Commercial Operations at the Edmonton International Airport and an additional 95 kg of suspected marijuana and 6 kg of suspected hashish as part of the same investigation. The tractor trailer contained goods from an overseas shipment requiring custom clearance in Edmonton. As a result of the CBSA seizure, two men were arrested and have been criminally charged by the RCMP.
The federal government has committed $3 million towards a Common Data Interface (CDI) project that will help coordinate reservations and reduce trucker wait times across Port Metro Vancouver's four container terminals.
The CDI project includes:
The project, which costs approximately $6 million, will receive $3 million over two years under Transport Canada’s Clean Transportation Initiative on Port-Related Trucking, with the port contributing the other half.
Green Marine this week held its 6th Annual General Meeting and Conference (GreenTech 2014) in St. John NB. At the annual awards ceremony hosted by the Port of St. John in their new Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal it was evident that members continue to achieve air quality and a range of other environmental improvements on their respective score-cards. Green Marine requires participants to adopt practices and technologies that will have a direct impact on the improved sustainability of their operations and “this year’s global average of 3.1 translates into tangible results” said Executive Director David Bolduc.
The highly entertaining guest speaker a the conference dinner was Ms. Mylene Paquette who after 129 days at sea, capsizing 10 times and facing waves of over 10 meters, became the first North American woman to row solo across the North Atlantic, from Canada to France including a mid-ocean rendezvous with the Queen Mary 2 (picture above) for urgent supplies and a new sat-phone (see above).
Stephen Brown was invited to moderate two conference panels covering:
The west coast ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Victoria and Nanaimo plus Neptune Terminals and Fraser Surrey Dock were all represented at this year’s conference. It was announced that the 2015 conference will be held in Seattle.
Losing no time in bowing to the public outcry, the Korean authorities have this week placed 15 crew members of the capsized ferry Sewol on trial over the deaths of at least 292 people, most of them teenage school children. The vessel’s master, 69 year old Captain Lee Joon-seok and three others face the most serious charge of "homicide through willful negligence". Eleven others are being prosecuted on lesser charges of criminal negligence and maritime law violations. With the trial taking place in Gwangju, the city closest to the location of the tragedy, many relatives of the victims were in court to see the opening of the trial. The picture above left shows the Captain being helped off the vessel by the Korean Coast Guard and (centre) after being detained in custody.
Thousands of South Korean police have also raided a religious compound associated with the fugitive billionaire owner of the Sewol, Mr.Yoo Byung-eun. Some 6,000 officers with helicopter support stormed the complex in Anseong city. A separate trial of senior executives blamed for procedural lapses is due to start later this month.
Italian officials in the Department of Civil Protection met in Rome this week to discuss plans laid out by the owners of the Costa Concordia, Costa Crociere, related to the refloating of the wreck and its transfer to Genoa, where she will be scrapped. Current plans call for the wreck to be refloated on July 20 from where she will take five daysto be towed to Genoa. The project requires the approved of the Italian Council of Ministers prior to implementation with the deadline for a final decision delayed to June 25.
Eleven crew members of the Malaysian registered ship container ship Albedo which was hijacked by Somali pirates in November 2010 have been freed after three and a half years (1288 days) in captivity, apparently without a ransom being paid. The crew who are from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran were flown to Kenya for medical checks and debriefing before being repatriated. Seven of the ship's crew were released two years ago when a ransom was paid but sadly not before one had been executed by their captors. Four others died when the vessel sank (picture above) after two years at anchor. Approximately 38 crew members from a variety of hijacked vessels still remain unaccounted for.
A search has also been on since Wednesday last week for the Greek coastal tanker Fair Artemis that lost contact 40 miles off Ghana with a 24-strong crew and a cargo of gasoil. The vessel sent a distress call on June 6 saying that she had been hijacked and was being looted as it was forced to sail through the waters of neighboring Togo. Naval forces from Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria all engaged in the search and she eventually turned up on Wednesday this week – minus cargo of course.
Whilst already well known for shutting down port operations during national soccer games, Brazilian stevedores were set to go the full Monty during the World Cup with a complete shutdown in protest against Government attempts to implement much needed reform. At the 11th hour, a shutdown was postponed until June 27 after the government agreed to listen to stevedore complaints following many months of ignoring them. Now is peak soya-bean exporting season when ports are even more congested than normal hence damage to the country’s agricultural sector would be immense.