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For its third time, Canada hosted the Joint Ministerial Conference on Port State Control in Vancouver.  This week the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, hosted the delegation of global maritime leaders from European and Asia-Pacific countries which resulted in the signing of a new international declaration on ship safety.  The new Ministerial Declaration on Port State Control is a further commitment by European and Pacific Rim countries to continue to eliminate substandard shipping practices that result in loss of life, damage to property and harm to marine environments. It will help create new global policies that advance this goal, putting pressure on administrations and owners of substandard ships to comply with international ship safety standards. Port State Control is an international program for inspecting foreign ships entering local waters. Port State Control inspections ensure that these ships meet international safety, security and environmental standards, and that crew members have adequate living and working conditions.

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The UL Standards Technical Panel (STP) 1123 for Personal Flotation Devices held a task group meeting at Coast US Guard Headquarters last month. Representatives from the US Coast Guard and Transport Canada met to develop new bi-national standards for immersion suits and lifejackets for use on US and Canadian commercial vessels. Once finalized and adopted the standards will support the goal of facilitating innovation in the area of personal flotation devices and reducing trade barriers between the US and Canada. The full PFD Standards Technical Panel is scheduled to meet at the end of May to discuss the task group’s progress and propose a timeline for completing the project.

Friday, 05 May 2017 13:09

ICS Annual Review 2017


The International Chamber of Shipping has made available its 2017 Annual Review.  We are pleased to note that a few photos by our local photographer, Dave Roels, have been included in the publication.

Friday, 05 May 2017 13:06

Tokyo MOU 2016 Annual Report

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The Tokyo MOU posted its 2016 Annual Report on port state control (PSC) in the Asia-Pacific Region. Since the introduction of the new inspection regime in 2014 in the Tokyo MOU, the number of deficiencies and detentions have all decreased despite the slight increase in inspections.  The report concludes that there has been an improvement in both the quality and performance of ships operating in the region attributed to successful and effective operation of the Tokyo MOU.  These positive and encouraging outputs result from the great efforts of the member Authorities of the Tokyo MOU for continuous enhancement and improvement of port State inspections.

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The Pacific Maritime Association has presented a proposal to the US West Coast International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to extend the current collective agreement by three years to July 1, 2022.  The extension offers a 3.1 percent yearly wage increase over the base wage rate of $42.18 per hour, with maximum pension to reach $95,460 per year in the final year of the agreement.  The ILWU's vote will likely occur over the summer as it could take two to three months to ratify.


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The US Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a hearing on 3 May on Maritime Transportation Regulatory Issues.  A video of the hearing, written testimony and summary report are available on-line and the agenda covered oil spill response, salvage and marine fire fighting, International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping, commercial fishing vessel exams, maritime liens, and the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).  Lawmakers on the subcommittee are considering options to grant the FMC greater oversight over alliances ability to jointly negotiate with domestic service providers and share information prior to contracting individually.

In January, the FMC voted to allow an amendment to an agreement between roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) carriers Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS, Eukor Car Carriers Inc., American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier LLC, and Hyundai Glovis Co. Ltd. (Glovis). The agreement allows the ro-ro companies to collectively negotiate rates with maritime service providers, including tugboat operators.  One of the five FMC commissioners, William P. Doyle, voted against allowing the amendment, noting how the tugboat industry said it would be disadvantaged by such negotiations.

This week, the FMC voted 4-0 to reject K Line, MOL and NYK lines plan to share information ahead of merging operations on the basis that it does not have the authority to review and approve mergers based on the Shipping Act of 1984.  The number of major carriers has fallen from 20 to 17 over the last few years and will go to 10 in 2018, if planned mergers go ahead.

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CN announced last week the ratification of a new five-year collective labour agreement by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council 11. The union represents approximately 700 CN signals and communications employees in Canada. The agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017 and runs through Dec. 31, 2021. It provides wage increases in each year and benefit improvements. 

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BC Ferries’ Salish Raven, the third and final Salish Class vessel, is on its way. The vessel departed Gdansk, Poland this morning, for a 10,440 nautical mile journey bound for its new home in British Columbia. The Transatlantic voyage will take approximately 45 to 55 days, depending on weather. The journey will include stops for refuelling in Santa Cruz, Canary Islands and Panama City, Panama. The vessel will also transit the Panama Canal and sail up the west coast of North America to British Columbia.  Salish Raven will be introduced in the Southern Gulf Islands in the fall.

Monday, 01 May 2017 14:14

The 60' foot container unveiled

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Canadian Tire and CP Railway unveiled another innovation promises to reduce shippers and transportation providers costs and increase efficiency. Canadian Tire and Canadian Pacific (CP) unloaded its 60-ft. container in Calgary last week, marking the maiden voyage for the intermodal trailer in Alberta.  Canadian Tire said the container – seven feet larger than the standard 53-ft. trailer – is the first to be used in North America, and will serve as an intermodal solution to increase productivity and efficiency, as it allows the retailer and CP to transport more products – 13% additional freight – as well as reduce transportation costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The larger containers are currently only regulated for use in Alberta and Ontario, and the demonstration of the 60-ft. container in Calgary was the kickoff for its first venture onto Alberta roads.

Friday, 28 April 2017 13:41

Workers' Memorial Day

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International Day of Mourning or Workers’ Memorial Day is recognized every year on April 28. The day’s purpose is to remember and honour those who’ve lost their lives in work-related incidents or to occupational disease.  Although progress has been made in making workplaces safer for workers, more still needs to be done. For example, according to the most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, in 2015, there were 852 workplace deaths in Canada.  This is also a day to renew the commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace and prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths. The Canadian flag will fly at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings. Employers and workers will observe Day of Mourning in a variety of ways. Some light candles, lay wreaths, wear commemorative pins, ribbons or black armbands, and pause for a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m.


Friday, 28 April 2017 13:11

Sewol wreck recovered

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The salvaged wreck of South Korea's Sewol ferry finally made it to land, and was moved by module transporters at a port in Mokpo 410km south-west of Seoul. This came almost three weeks after the sunken ferry was raised from the depths. The Sewol sank on April 16, 2014, killing more than 300 people, most of them high school students on a school excursion. Inspectors will start searching for any remains of the nine victims who are still unaccounted for.  

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