Through coordinated efforts from both the Spanish and Equatorial Guinea navies, the crew that was held hostage in the violent hijacking of the Royal Boskalis Westminster Boskalis heavy transport vessel Blue Marlin are now safe. The hijacking took place on Sunday, 5 May around 80 nautical miles offshore Equatorial Guinea after the vessel was boarded by several armed pirates. The 20 crew members locked themselves in the ship’s citadel until help could arrive. The vessel sustained significant damage, as the pirates shot several times while onboard, rendering the ship un-sailable. The vessel is currently situated around 40 miles off the coast of Equatorial Guinea in international waters.
Negotiations between the BC Maritime Employers Association and ILWU Canada with the conciliator appointed by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) were slated to end yesterday, May 2nd. With the 21-day cooling off period expiring May 4th, we are still hopeful that an agreement and or an extension can be reached. May 5th is the earliest that a work stoppage could occur, but there is no indication of an immediate disruption.
Watch the latest episode as Kevin Obermeyer, the CEO of the Pacific Pilotage Authority, and Robert Lewis-Manning, President of the Chamber of Shipping join Stu McNish for a Conversation That Matters. The dialogue focuses on questions that currently hang over the industry and the waters of the West Coast are an increase in oil tankers, Bill C-48 and the impact all of the ships have during the two plus months when the southern resident whale population visits the Salish Sea.
Seaspan has benefited from the merger of Japan’s K Line, MOL and NYK last year. A penalty contract payment of $227m from a ONE equity owner was paid to Seaspan due to the early termination of the charter parties related to seven vessels which were no longer required by the new entity. After finishing the charters on 31 March and being compensated, Seaspan was able to successfully fix all seven ships to other customers.
The Government of Canada has finally extended an offer to the Philippines to repatriate the 103 containers of rotting garbage that were shipped there six years ago. The shipped containers were mis-declared as recyclables when they left Canada. Where the garbage will go, and the cost of bringing it back has not been disclosed. Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to “declare war” on Canada if it didn’t take back its trash and set this week as a deadline for an end to the impasse.
CP has reported that April was an all-time record month for Canadian grain and grain products. CP moved a best-ever 2.643 million metric tonnes (MMT) of Canadian grain and grain products this past month, bettering the previous record from October 2018. April train length, excluding local traffic, was an average of 7,576 feet, while train weight, excluding local traffic, was an average of 9,356 tons.
BC Maritime Employers Association has partnered with UBC’s Master of Data Science program to improve labour forecasting and address labour shortages with the goal of increasing the competitiveness of BC ports. The project, titled “Improving Labour Forecasting to Promote the Competitiveness of BC Ports” began in late April and will continue through mid-July. Four Data Science masters students will be working on the project, led by UBC program advisors and faculty and supported by a cross-departmental committee at the BCMEA.
China has suspended imports from two Quebec-based pork producers, Olymel and Drummond. The move is seen as a sign that diplomatic tensions between China and Ottawa could be affecting a wider swath of Canada’s food exports. The timing of this move is unusual as China is facing a significant shortage of pork due to the outbreak of the African swine fever that could see up to 200 million pigs lost to disease or slaughter. Many are watching if China will remove or reduce its 70 percent tariff on US pork imports. China is the biggest buyer of Canadian canola, and the second-biggest buyer of Canadian pork.
The container sector was among the fastest growing sectors at the Port of Montreal in 2018, up 9% over 2017 with close to 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) transiting through all five terminals. Market diversification and the positive impact of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement are among the key elements in this success. Liquid bulk rose 11.7% to 16.4 million tonnes while the dry bulk sector posted a 16.1% drop compared to 2017 with 8 million tonnes of cargo handled. However, total volumes increased by 2.3% over the previous year with a total volume of 39 million tonnes handled.
CN Rail has launched a mobile app aimed at improving terminal fluidity by allowing truck drivers to complete paperwork ahead of time. The app is just one piece of a larger effort by US and Canadian Class I railroads to increase fluidity to rail ramps in the face of rising volume pressures. By filing documents ahead of time, truckers will be able to use an expedited gate into terminals. The increase in daily productivity and efficiency means better utilization of existing infrastructure.
When ships travel up the St. Lawrence Seaway from Montreal to the upper Great Lakes, they climb 180 metres through the locks, the height of a 60-storey building. While most of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence are clear sailing for big ships, there are five canals along the way to get past shallower areas. The locks allow the vessels to navigate through those areas. 60 years ago, the locks took 22,000 workers, and massive excavations, but it was finished ontime and on budget. In present day, the locks are integrating the use of technology, including a hands-free mooring system, that allow bigger ships to navigate safely through the locks. Each year, the locks see 4,000 transits, about 75 percent of those are by the fleet of lakers.
Canada has joined the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. It was incorporated into Canadian law through the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, which received Royal Assent in late February. The Convention establishes a framework for hazardous wrecks resulting from marine incidents. Owners of large vessels (300 gross tonnage or larger) will now be required to prove that insurance or other financial security is in place to cover the potential costs of wreck removal.
Ottawa is increasing the amount of money that farmers can borrow from $400,000 to $1-million for those affected by the canola dispute with China, but growers say the expanded agriculture loan program does nothing to resolve their greatest problem: the trade dispute with China that has closed the largest global market for Canada’s most valuable crop. The measures have been put in place to give farmers ore flexibility with cash flow while the Government works to resolve the trade dispute with China.
Government of Canada has awarded the contract for the dry-dock refit of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Canada’s largest icebreaker, to Chantier Davie. The two interim icebreakers, the CCGS Jean Goodwill and CCGS Vincent Massey, are currently undergoing conversion work at Chantier Davie. These interterm icebreakers will support Coast Guard programs by late 2019 and summer 2020, respectively.
The Government of Canada has awarded Ocean Industries Inc. the largest shipbuilding contract in its history with the construction of four large tugs for National Defence. The contract for the four tugs is worth $102 million. Two tugs will be stationed at Esquimalt, and two in Halifax. The tugs will be crewed by civilian DND employees and will be equipped for firefighting. They will replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s five large tugs and two rescue boats. The work will be carried out at l’Isle-aux-Coudres shipyard over a period of 42 months and will mobilize 60 employees.
An unusually high number of grey whales are washing up dead on West Coast shorelines on their annual migration north. In one of the longest migrations of any mammal, grey whales migrate from their wintering areas near Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in the North Pacific every year. The whales are currently heading towards Canada, where they will pass by Vancouver Island on their way to Alaskan waters. Through studying the deceased whales, it appears that that food shortage is an underlying cause of the deaths. The research hasn't concluded whether the recent deaths are due to a decline in food sources or an overpopulation of grey whales or some combination of both.
Cosco has chosen a consortium led by Macquarie Infrastructure for the sale of its Long Beach Container Terminal. Cosco is selling the terminal as part of US authorities agreeing the takeover of OOCL last year. The terminal is one of the most advanced box handling facilities in California and Cosco had a variety of bidders to choose from. As part of the deal, OOIL’s Orient Overseas Container Line will sign a 20-year container stevedoring and terminal services contract.