Friday, 22 February 2019 16:33

Alberta leases 4,400 rail cars to ship crude

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The Alberta Government is spending $3.7-billion plans to lease 4,400 rails cars to ship Alberta crude. The cars are expected to be in service by July and will ship 120,000 barrels of crude a day. The province has signed contracts with Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway to transport the cars. Crude rail shipments reached record levels last fall largely owing to pipeline constraints, but they have fallen since the beginning of the year. Several large producers have said the current price differential has made shipping by rail uneconomical. CP and CN have both experienced a drop in petroleum shipments by about a third since December.



The Chamber of Shipping and the US- based Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) have issued a statement urging the federal governments to collaborate in protecting the Salish Sea. The marine transportation industry is committed to doing its part in supporting the recovery of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale and protecting the environment and hopes that the two nations  will come together to find joint solutions that further support these efforts. 

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Concerns have been raised over the availability of low sulphur fuel, once we reach the IMO’s January 1, 2020 deadline. IHS Markit energy analysts warn that the refining and shipping industries are not ready for the mandate, which will result in significant price fluctuations of up to a few years when a new equilibrium of supply and demand will be determined by refiners and shipowners. In addition, finding the right ‘recipe’ for the fuel may be a challenging necessity. Though scrubbers or switching to LNG fuel are options, these are costly and availability it limited, respectively, so it is estimated that 95 percent of the global liner fleet will be switched to 0.5 percent fuel.


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US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a rule on April 12, 2018 (effective May 14, 2018) which expanded the definition of Importer Security Filing (ISF) Importer for certain types of shipments. The changes were necessary to ensure that the ISF Importer included parties that have a commercial interest in the cargo and have best access to the required data. CBP is ending its delayed enforcement period for ISF-5 violations and will begin issuing liquidated damages claims for violations of the ISF-5 requirements on March 15, 2019.

Friday, 22 February 2019 16:19

European Maritime Single Window approved

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The European Parliament and Council have agreed on a regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window dataset. The regulation will replace the Reporting Formalities Directive and build on existing National Single Windows and Port Community Systems reporting mechanisms. The single window concept developed under the leadership of EU Rapporteur Deirdre Clune aims to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, people and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal, without duplication.  The agreement reached must now be further formalized by the Council and Parliament and is expected to apply as from 2025.

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The National Energy Board (NEB) today delivered its Reconsideration report to the Government of Canada, with an overall recommendation that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project) is in the Canadian public interest and should be approved. The considerable benefits of the Project include increased access to diverse markets for Canadian oil; jobs created across Canada; the development of capacity of local and Indigenous individuals, communities and businesses; direct spending on pipeline materials in Canada; and considerable revenues to various levels of government.

The NEB will impose 156 conditions on the Project if it is approved and has made 16 new recommendations to the Government of Canada. The Reconsideration report concludes that Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale. The NEB also found that greenhouse gas emissions from Project-related marine vessels would likely be significant. While a credible worst-case spill from the Project or a Project-related marine vessel is not likely, if it were to occur the environmental effects would be significant. The Chamber has issued a statement welcoming the NEB’s decision.

BC Premier John Horgan took to twitter to respond and stated that he remains convinced that the project is not in the best interests of British Columbians. Environment Minister George Heyman echoed Premier Horgan’s comments and added that the province will continue to assert its right to defend its environment in court.

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The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has released its Interim Report on Establishing a Canadian Transportation and Logistics Strategy following a number of hearings conducted across Canada. Parts of the Chamber of Shipping’s testimony to the Committee in September 2018 can be viewed in the report.

Friday, 22 February 2019 16:07

Derailment involves crude tanks


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The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has reported that 37 of 110 cars derailed and spilled crude on farm land near St. Lazare, Manitoba on February 16th. The CN railcars were upgraded tankers (all Class 117R cars) which are considered to have improved safety features. There was no fire or injuries in the derailment and most of the crude has been contained near the tracks. TSB is still working to determine how much oil spilled and how many of the railcars were breached.

Just earlier this  month following the derailment near Field, BC the Transport Minister, the Honourable Marc Garneau,  announced a Ministerial Order under the Railway Safety Act to all railway companies mandating the use of handbrakes when a train is stopped on a mountain grade after an emergency use of the air brakes effective immediately.

Friday, 22 February 2019 16:06

Transport Canada - Ship Safety Bulletins

Transport Canada logo

Transport Canada has issued two Ship Safety Bulletins this week:

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The Port of Vancouver, Canadian National Railway, and the Canadian federal government signed an agreement on Thursday, to build a second track to move more cargo and increase trade through Vancouver’s harbour. The project involves double-tracking a 4 km section of rail that links expanding import and export terminals on the south shore of the Burrard Inlet to the national rail network. A timeline has not yet been published.



Friday, 15 February 2019 13:34

VFPA increases noise reduction criteria

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As of January 1, 2019, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has expanded the eligibility criteria for its EcoAction Program to include more underwater noise-reducing options and emissions reduction options.  Those ships that qualify will receive discounted harbour dues of up to 47 per cent. The EcoAction Program now accepts quiet ship notations from five different ship classification societies and five propeller technologies, all of which can help reduce underwater noise emissions. 



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Cargo coming through the Vancouver Ports has increased over the last month, pushing facilities to 85 percent utilization (compared the maximum industry standard of 80 percent). This has caused a doubling of container dwell times at rail facilities, underscoring the need for additional infrastructure to handle future growth. Last week, container dwell times at Deltaport were in excess of seven days, while Centerm’s dwell times averaged three to five days, and Vanterm’s dwell times averaged five to seven days. Main causes of the excessive dwell times include rail service issues, increasing container volumes, and the unprecedented container discharges from mega-ships. 



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