Thursday, 25 May 2017 11:33

Chamber of Shipping Calls for Federal Government Triage on Coastal Management

Vancouver, May 25, 2017 – As a new report reveals the substantial value of shipping to Canadians across the country, the industry seeks assurance from the Government of Canada that coastal management will recognize the need to secure marine trade corridors through a focused spatial planning effort.

Today, the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping released a study, The Value of Commercial Marine Shipping to Canada, estimating the economic value of commercial shipping at $30 billion. At 1.8% of the Canadian economy, ships move more than $200 billion worth of goods to and from global markets. From farmers to retailers, thousands of Canadian jobs depend on a healthy and thriving trade environment.

These figures are significant and reflect a dependence on marine transportation to support trade activity as Canada pivots its focus to markets overseas and increasingly away from a historic over-reliance on our U.S. neighbour. While Canadian international trade continues to grow, the federal government is moving to aggressively meet its commitment to protect 10 per cent of Canada’s coastal waters by 2020, including a surprise announcement yesterday of establishing a large marine protected area to the approaches of binational waters and major ports in Canada and the U.S. on the west coast. As important as this effort is, government actions to date lack integration of risk planning and mitigation, conservation and protection, and trade objectives.

“Coastal management must also address areas of high activity where the need for sustainable growth should be proactively managed,” said Chamber of Shipping President Robert Lewis-Manning. “This should include the establishment and management of marine trade corridors with provisions that build confidence for Indigenous and coastal communities. The current federal approach is overly focused on large area targets and does not appropriately address current and future trade needs.”

The Chamber recognizes the importance of, and heartily supports, the protection of our pristine coast. We work closely with Indigenous and coastal communities, governments, scientific and conservation groups to ensure shipping operations remain safe and environmentally sustainable. The shipping industry continues to invest heavily to reduce the environmental impact of its operations both locally and globally. Ports in British Columbia are viewed as global sustainability leaders and were the first to implement ballast water exchange programs and shore power technology in Canada. Furthermore, in August 2017, vessels will support a voluntary speed reduction trial in Haro Strait to assist in the development of a recovery strategy for Southern Resident Killer Whales.

About Chamber of Shipping

Since 1923, the Chamber of Shipping has been the representative voice of the marine industry on Canada’s west coast. The importance of that voice is arguably more important today than ever before as North America’s trade with Asia undergoes unrelenting growth and Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway plays a vital role in facilitating trade efficiency for the benefit of the entire nation.

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