Thursday, 17 April 2014 09:10

Airbus to build weather satellites

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The Airbus consortium has been awarded a contract to build Europe's next generation of polar orbiting weather satellites. The contract requires studies of many types of meteorological observations which are combined into so called “Metop Data” to improve the accuracy of global forecasting. The first generation of “Metop Data” which evolved from a network of satellites will be de-orbited by nudging them down from their roughly 800km high operational altitude until they are caught by the atmosphere and burned to destruction. The first pair of Metop-Second Generation  satellites will launch in 2021/22 and a third and final pair will likely go up in the 2030s, ensuring continuity of data into the 2040s. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014 09:09

Not everyone wants MLS in the Port of Miami

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In a discussion reminiscent of when the Whitecaps were seeking a waterfront stadium in Vancouver, it seems that David Beckham’s proposal to build a waterfront stadium within the port of Miami is not universally popular. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and its Miami Seaport Alliance partners (including a wealthy car dealer and two locals of the ILA) has taken a full page add in the Miami Herald and its sister Spanish-language paper, El Nuevo Herald to speak out against the plan. The plan’s opponents argue that the well paying waterfront jobs are more important to the city’s economy than part time jobs related to stadium operations.

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A joint venture between Port Metro Vancouver and Metro Vancouver will add several new air quality and meteorological monitoring sites in the East Vancouver area of Burrard Inlet.  These additions will build on the monitoring initiatives conducted around Burrard Inlet between 2008 and 2010 and will help track progress towards improving air quality.

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Mr. Lorne Friberg, President & CEO of Pacific Coast Terminals (above left), and Dr. Ulrich Lamp, President & CEO of K+S Potash Canada (above right), signed an exclusive, and long-term contract for the handling and storage of potash products from K+S Potash Canada's Legacy mine site in Saskatchewan before a number of dignataries in Port Moody earlier today.  This agreement gives PCT the final nod on the construction of their new potash handling facility which is planned for completion in the fall of 2016.  The entire project represents an investment value of approximately $180 million and will create approximately 300 FTE construction jobs and 20 FTE permanent jobs upon completion.  Included in the project are a new railcar unlaoding station, new covered comveyor systems, systems to control dust emissions and a new storage warehouse.  

Thursday, 10 April 2014 23:46

Container drayage recovery

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PMV drayage activity is returning to some semblance of normality at 80-90% of pre-disruption activity but there remain several significant issues to resolve around the practical implementation of the 15 points action-plan under which the truckers agreed to return to work. There is a lack of consensus on several issues, not least that that several shippers do not feel bounded by the new trucking rates. Similarly, rail service is far from smooth in the intermodal sector or in the grain sector where both CN and CP are furious with government moves to regulate volumes.

Thursday, 10 April 2014 23:45

LA/LB merger proposal tabled

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It had to happen eventually and now someone has had the courage to state the obvious – the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which between them handled 42% of all U.S. container traffic in 2013, need to merge. Los Angeles 2020 Commission this week  recommended that the rival adjacent ports look to merge in order to reduce bureaucracy and increase business investment responsiveness. The commission comprises business, labor and civic leaders. The recommendation comes hot on the heels of news that Seattle and Tacoma are finally talking instead of slugging it out.

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The good people of Kitimat vote tomorrow in a non-binding referendum on the Northern Gateway project to ship crude oil exports through Kitimat. The District Council voted in January to hold the referendum  whose question will be: Do you support the final report recommendations of the Joint Review Panel of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority and National Energy Board that the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project be approved subject to 209 conditions set out in volume 2 of the JRP’s final report?” Council is remaining neutral on the project and City Mayor Joanne Monaghan has rejected the complaints of local MP Nathan Cullen NDP who has criticized the efforts of Northern Gateway’s Kitimat office during the campaign.

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and avoiding the previously proposed route through the Westridge neighbourhood. The new proposal would involve a  tunnel from the Burnaby Mountain tank farm to the Westridge Marine Terminal across the south west corner of the mountain, instead of going around, as originally planned in order to minimize impact in the area. Under National Energy Board rules, the company will be required to submit a plan that shows the exact pipeline route and location of the right-of-way. At that point, Kinder Morgan would be required to inform the public through newspaper ads and maps, and alert landowners whose property may be crossed and advise them how they can voice any concerns on the proposed route. The company is seeking feedback on the new routing options until April 17. More information can be found at

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The Provincial Government has this week signed LNG revenue sharing agreements with the Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla  First Nations, for LNG export projects being development in the Grassy Point area, just north of Prince Rupert. Australia's Woodside, China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Japan's Inpex Corp. are the currently impacted project proponents.

Thursday, 10 April 2014 23:37

Search for MH370 continues

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The search continues after several pings apparently from the black boxes of MH 370 were detected last weekend, first by a Chinese vessel and then in a different area by our “Ship of the Week” for April 4 – Ocean Shield. Aircraft black-box pingers, emit a sound signature on a standard frequency of 37.5 KHZ which is outside the range of human hearing. Ocean Shield picked up two sets of pulses consistent with black-box signals, hence the initial optimism that they were close to the estimated crash site. Yesterday, an Australian aircraft also detected pings in the same area but there is real concern that the black box battery life is nearing an end.

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As the difficulties in achieving ratification of the Ballast Water Management Convention refuse to go away, a proposal by Norway to last week’s 66th session of the IMO’s “Marine Environment Protection Committee” (MEPC) has been accepted. In brief, a new study will be conducted into how well typeapproved BWMS currently installed on vessels are actually able to meet the performance standard described in regulation D-2 of the Convention which regulates concentrations of living organisms in ballast water discharges. Many owners and national administrations believe the existing (G8) type approval process is not robust enough but whether this fairly open ended study will alleviate concerns remains unclear.The attached press release issued on April 8 is co-sponsored by ICS, BIMCO, Intercargo, Intertanko, WSC, CLIA and IPTA is designed to summarize industry’s frustration with the current state of affairs on this issue. 

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The IMO continues to make the International Code of safety for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code) a priority issue with a target adoption date of May 2015. MEPC 66, last week acknowledged last week that there was still a lot of work to be done but if the 2015 adoption can be achieved, implementation will be in the fall of 2015 or early in 2017. 

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