Several new ferry routes for Vancouver Island are being assessed by the BC government. Possible connections include a crossing between the Saanich Peninsula and Cowichan Valley, a passenger-only service from Colwood to Esquimalt, and a new terminal connecting the island with Vancouver International Airport. There are also considerations improved ferry service across the Saanich Inlet at Mill Bay. The public will have a chance to weigh in on the proposals during consultations planned for the new year.
Researchers studying the St. Lawrence belugas’ sensitivity to noise are seeking more time to assess the impact of shipping LNG noise on the animals. With several potential projects out for approval, marine traffic in the area could double. Specifically, researchers are interested in the impact of increased traffic due to a proposed LNG pipeline expansion. The beluga is currently listed as endangered, with an estimated population of 900.
The Port of Toronto Cruise Ship Terminal has reported that its number of visitors has more than doubled this year, with 36 calling at the port, bringing approximately 12,000 passengers. The increase in traffic aligns with the growth of the Great Lakes cruise industry.
The BC government is joining with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and FortisBC to establish the first ship-to-ship LNG bunkering service on North America’s west coast. The project hopes to help address the growing need for LNG in the maritime sector. As shipping is expected significantly increase its use of LNG with the IMO 2020 sulphur regulations coming into effect, and BC is well positioned to benefit from this growth. The province is making a $25,000 contribution to a PwC study to fund environmental and social impacts analyses and a competitiveness assessment. The study is also building on work already done on risk, safety and demand.
Canada Border Services Agency has issued Customs Notice 19-21 to postpone the decommissioning date of the legacy Other Government Department (OGD) Release Service Options OGD Pre-Arrival System (PARS) (SO463) and OGD Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD) (SO471), to April 1, 2020. Any CBSA clients importing or planning to import OGD regulated goods to Canada that have not yet onboarded to the SWI IID (SO911) are encouraged to do so immediately.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is hosting a scoping meeting on November 12th in Friday Harbour, WA to solicit public comments on whether, based on best available information, existing National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regulations and other measures adequately protect killer whales from the impacts of vessels and noise in the inland waters of Washington State and, if not, what actions NMFS should take. Written submissions invited with a deadline of Dec. 23rd.
The US Treasury Department has issued a nearly two-month waiver for companies to wind down transactions with COSCO Tankers, after they were sanctioned last month for allegedly transporting Iranian oil. The waiver expires on Dec. 20 and allows “maintenance or wind down of transactions” including offloading non-Iranian crude oil involving COSCO Shipping Tanker Co. Ltd. The waiver applies to COSCO Shipping Tanker or any entity owned 50% or more by the company.
At its recent meeting in the Marshall Islands, Panama has been granted full membership in the Tokyo MOU following three years as a Co -operating Member Authority. Panama demonstrated full compliance with the MOU’s qualitative membership criteria. Interestingly during the meeting the Port State Control Committee considered and agreed to conduct a trial on a remote follow-up inspection approach, through which PSCOs would be able to verify and close, without physically visiting the vessel, certain deficiencies in specific circumstances where such a mechanism can be used where there is appropriate and reliable evidence of rectification of deficiencies. The exercise of such a mechanism will be solely at the discretion of the port State.
A British High Court judge has ruled that the Greek owner of the tanker Brillante Virtuoso, staged an attack in an effort to claim USD77 million in insurance money. The accused was found to have faked a pirate attack in which the vessel was torched using an explosive device and fire accelerants. The incident occurred on July 5, 2011 when the Suezmax tanker, filled with fuel oil cargo worth USD100 million, was sailing from the Ukraine to China. Following its transition through the Suez Canal, the ship reportedly came under fire from Somali pirates equipped with small arms and a rocket-propelled grenade. Following the “attack”, a fire initially broke out in the ship’s accommodation block and the 26 Filipino crew abandoned ship with the help of a nearby US Navy cruiser.
With the recent escalation of boxship fires, the International Union of Marine Insurance has called for an urgent improvement to onboard firefighting systems. In 2017 IUMI published a position paper to raise a variety of concerns including inadequate fire detection and onboard firefighting systems both on deck and under deck; and the need to revise SOLAS. Now, in partnership with the German flag state, IUMI is calling for additional support from flag administrations and other stakeholders to bring this issue to IMO’s agenda in 2020.
CMA CGM has launched a new range of financing services dedicated to importing and exporting. Named Shipfin Trade Finance, the venture is in partnership with the invoice finance platform Incomlend. The initiative seeks increase support to the company’s client and aid in developing finance solutions. Supply chain financing seeks to extend importers’ payment deadlines up to 120 days; strengthen supplier relations by improving cash flow; optimize payment tracking by finding all documents in one place; master compliance risk thanks to the KYC (Know Your Customer) assessment achieved by the suppliers; and simplify processes by interfacing IT systems with the platform.
The Chamber of Shipping has released an open letter to the Federal Party leaders in advance of next week’s election to ensure that the priorities are included in the transition books following the post-election period. Below are some of the marine related issues noted by the main parties during the election campaign:
New Democratic Party
BC Ferries has raised $250 million through the issuance of senior secured bonds through a syndicate of investment banks. The bonds will bear interest at 2.794 per cent per annum and will mature in 30 years. Along with cash in hand, the proceeds from the sale will be used to provide for capital expenditures and general corporate purposes.
The BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has asked Chevron Corp. to provide details on the impact of its proposed terminal at Bish Cove on climate change. Kitimat LNG has indicated that it will be one of the lowest GHG emitters of its type by using technology powered by electric motors using hydroelectricity. A draft document released by EAO opens the door for a discussion on taking a worldwide view on GHGs. “Spatial boundaries will not be defined, as GHG and climate change are, by nature, both regional and global,” according to the regulatory filing. The expanded scope would support the approach taken by the four First Nations noted in last week’s newsletter that are in support of energy exports that would help reduce reliance and pollution from coal-fired plants overseas.
Pinnacle Renewable Energy has entered into a new long-term, take-or-pay off-take contract with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. Under the terms of the contract, Pinnacle will supply 100,000 metric tons per annum of industrial wood pellets to Mitsui beginning in Q3 2023. The industrial wood pellets will be used by a biomass power generation plant in Japan.
Global Container Terminals Inc. (GCT) has joined the TradeLens supply chain platform in an effort to securely connect with supply chain partners including ocean carriers, beneficial cargo owners, and railways through blockchain technology. TradeLens project is a technological solution developed by IBM and Maersk that has expanded to include five of the world’s top six ocean carriers. The program will be rolled out in phases at all four of GCT’s terminals adding visibility to the east and west coasts of North America.
According to the data collected by the system itself, the use of TradeLens allows to reduce the transit time of a shipment by 40%, which represents an important economic saving. The developers of TradeLens have indicated that the information contained in this system grows at the rate of one million daily data shipments, surpassing EDI systems used in the common way, in addition to avoid the use of emails, messaging and fax services.
The local marine industry turned out in force for the Vancouver Shipping Luncheon on October 16, 2019 at the Terminal City Club. Organized by Vancouver ShipInvest and Management, attendees enjoyed networking opportunities and two very relevant presentations on issues that are impacting the shipping industry. The first presentation, from Rick Mackenzie, Vice President of RBC Global Asset Management, gave an overview of the current issues affecting the world economy and the potential impacts. The second presentation from Casey McCawley, Vice President, West Coast Operations of Parrish and Heimbecker, focused on Canadian grain exports and the drivers which were impacting supply and demand. The date of the next Vancouver Shipping Lunch will be announced shortly.