BC Ferries is ramping up its service on its northern routes for the Mid Coast Connector, Inside Passage and Haida Gwaii routes for the next three weeks, in preparation for the All Native Basketball Tournament. The tournament is entering its 60th year is a big draw for Indigenous communities across British Columbia. As many team and fans will use the ferry system to travel to and from Prince Rupert ferries are expected to be filled to capacity. The schedule will return to normal on Thursday, February 21.
The International Sailors' Society Canada is seeking your input on why visiting seamen are often unable to go to shore. They have put together a survey in order to assess whether the rumours they hear are in fact a reality. With your input, they will be able to establish facts and work with the various parties to ensure that all seaman have access to shore leave and obtain some relief from the stresses of life at sea. The link to the survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/697JHSH.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, has announced that the Government of Canada's intends to amalgamate the Oshawa and Hamilton port authorities to form a new entity. Aligning with the Transportation 2030 vision, the amalgamation seeks to improve port efficiencies and planning in the region. The Oshawa and Hamilton port authorities carry similar commodities including steel, project cargo and bulk cargo such as fertilizers, asphalt and grain. Cargo handled at both ports produces over $6 billion in economic activity and 4500 direct and indirect jobs. An official certificate of intent will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on February 9, 2019. Interested parties will have until March 11, 2019 to submit comments.
The Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans held its first day of study of Bill C-55, an act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, on Tuesday. The provisions in the bill are meant to create a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Canada, and improve the process of designating them, helping to speed a process which can currently take up to 10 years. The bill focuses on conservation and sustainability, however, industry has concerns about insufficient consultation and uninformed decision making that will have a wide-reaching affect on the marine industry.
ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum have announced that they will proceed with development of the $10 billion Golden Pass LNG export project located in Sabine Pass, Texas. Qatar Petroleum will invest more than $8 billion and ExxonMobil more than $2 billion in the project. The decision to self-financing the project reflects Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil’s confidence in LNG demand growth over the longer term. The Department of Energy has authorized 23.05 billion cubic feet per day (235 billion cubic meters per year or 177 MTPA (million tons per annum) of LNG) of natural gas primarily spread across 10 large-scale export projects in Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, Georgia, and the Gulf of Mexico. Once completed, Golden Pass will be the seventh large scale LNG export project in the United States and be capable of exporting more than 2 billion cubic feet per day of U.S. LNG to any county.
The FMC has been reinvigorated by the addition of two commissioners and new laws enacted late last year. In December, President Trump signed into law the Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 2017, representing the first meaningful revision to US maritime competition legislation in 20 years. These amendments were made in response to pressure from terminal and tug operators that lobbied Congress over their concerns about the bargaining power of the global alliances. While the changes are regarded as evolutionary rather than revolutionary, sending a strong message to ocean carrier vessel-sharing agreements that they must not abuse their dominant position during collective bargaining negotiations.
Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has called on the Trump administration to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico before Congress begins considering legislation to implement the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal. He believes that before Congress considers legislation to implement USMCA, the administration should lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from our top two trading partners and secure the elimination of retaliatory tariffs that stand to wipe out gains our farmers have made over the past 2½ decades," Grassley said.
Hapag-Lloyd will retrofit its 15,000 TEU ship Sajir to operate on LNG. When complete, the engine system will be able to function using either LNG or low-sulphur fuel oil. The plan is to operate the vessel using LNG, but to also be able to use low-sulphur fuel oil as a backup. This will be the world’s first retrofit to a containership of this size to LNG propulsion.
Panalpina’s shareholders have rejected a $4 billion takeover bid by Danish forwarder DSV, despite the bid being considered “hopelessly overvalued”. The Ernst Goehner Foundation, Panalpina’s largest shareholder with 46 percent of the total share capital voiced that it does not support the current non-binding proposal from DSV and wants the company to pursue an independent growth strategy that includes its own mergers and acquisitions. Despite the lack of support from The Ernst Goehner Foundation, Panalpina has suggested that the DSV deal may still have some life.
NYK has conducted a trial use of biofuel in Europe on its 179,288 dwt dry bulk carrier Frontier Sky in collaboration with BHP and GoodFuels. The trial took place on January 30 after the biofuel was bunkered at the port of Rotterdam, Netherlands. The biofuel is considered to be carbon-neutral and have significantly lower emission of sulphur oxides compared to conventional fossil fuel. It was made from waste oils such as used cooking oil.
On Monday, January 28th a gantry crane at GCT’s Vanterm was struck while the Ever Summit was berthing alongside. The collision caused the boom of the crane to drape across the vessel, crushing several containers stacked at the ship’s stern. It has been confirmed that none of the affected containers contain hazardous cargo. No one was hurt in the incident. Two floating cranes are now in place to support recovery operations and vessel operations are expected to fully resume by Sunday. Operations outside of that terminal have remained unaffected.
The response and salvage plan by GCT has been remarkable to date and it is providing a degree of confidence for ocean carriers that the incident will be resolved and/or mitigated more quickly than would have been anticipated a few days ago. Since the incident only the vessel operations have ceased, while the truck gate and rail operations have remained unaffected.
Further to the announcement on January 14th, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) commenced its investigation into possible freight rail services issues in the Vancouver area in December 2018 and January 2019 by holding oral hearings on January 29th & 30th. Participants provided oral submissions to a 3-person Panel, presided by CTA Chair and CEO Mr. Scott Streiner. Participants expressed concern that recent embargo and permitting systems discriminated against some commodities, congestion and delays of export cargo arriving at terminal was having an economic impact on shippers, and a lack of empty marine containers had delayed unloading of rail cars. The three railways appearing before panel, BNSF, CP Rail and CN Rail indicated that any operational measures undertaken during the time frame being investigated were to address a surge of volumes and did not constitute a service failure. The CTA has 90 days to complete the investigation.
On January 25th, the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and ILWU Canada Longshore have filed a joint notice of dispute with the Minister Labour, who will now appoint a conciliation officer to assist in the negotiations of the unresolved issues between the parties to the collective agreement. Meanwhile negotiations with ILWU Ship and Dock Foremen Local 514 will continue in early February. The BCMEA’s collective agreements with the ILWU Canada and Local 514 expired March 31, 2018.
The Lummi Nation is calling for moratorium on any additional potential stressors, including additional marine vessel traffic to the Salish Sea until an environmental impact study can be completed. Other Indigenous groups in Canada and the United States, like the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in BC and the Tulalip Tribes in Washington, are supporting the call for more investigation into the environmental impacts before any new container traffic is allowed. The proposed construction of a new container terminal at Roberts Bank is currently undergoing an impartial review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency since November 2013.
This week NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson won a significant by-election in Nanaimo and secured the coalition government in place between the NDP and Green Party. Also of note Premier Horgan made some changes to key Deputy Ministers in his Cabinet:
Mr. Louis E. Sola of Florida and Mr. Daniel B. Maffei of New York were sworn-in as Commissioners of the Federal Maritime Commission on January 23, 2019. Commissioner Sola served on the Florida Board of Pilots Commissioners and presided on the probable cause panel for maritime incidents and is also a licensed shipbroker. Commissioner Maffei has served two terms in the United States Congress representing portions of upstate New York. Both Commissioners were nominated be President Trump on November 15, 2018, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 2, 2019.