The State of Alaska has signed an agreement to construct two Alaska Class Ferries at Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan. The vessels will be the largest ever to be built in Alaska and the first Alaska Marine Highway System ferries to be built in the state. The contract is reported to be worth $120 million and deliveries are scheduled for 2018. The new vessels will be 280 feet long, seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 standard vehicles.
A fire at the Pasha steel handling terminal in the Port of Los Angeles berth 179 this week has caused serious damage and delays to operations in both LA and Long Beach. The fire broke out underneath a warehouse sending toxic smoke hundreds of feet into the air. The seriousness of the fire resulted in the establishment of a unified command to oversee 170 firefighters and involving the LA and Long Beach Fire Departments, Los Angeles Port Police and United Stated Coast Guard. Two vessels were ordered to be removed from the immediate vicinity. No injuries were recorded but the wharf, a warehouse and a so far unspecified amount of cargo have been heavily damaged or lost.
President Obama this week announced a major expansion of a marine preservation area, originally created by president Bush in 2006, to form the world’s largest marine sanctuary. The Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument will grow from almost 87,000 square miles to nearly 782,000 square miles — all of it adjacent to seven islands and atolls controlled by the United States. The sanctuary covers a broad swath of the central Pacific Ocean and will be off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities. The proposal is scheduled to go into effect later this year and will effectively double the area of the ocean globally that is fully protected.
The Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss (above) has announced that the government will streamline the system for applying for temporary licences to use foreign-flag ships to move cargoes between Australian ports which he said had become "very difficult and restrictive" under the previous government. As a consequence, Mr. Truss cliamed that it was now cheaper to ship sugar from Thailand to Melbourne than to move it between Queensland and Melbourne, and it was reaching the stage where it was cheaper to ship cement from China to Australia than to move it between domestic ports. Mr Truss did however confirm his support for a "second register" for Australian ships, which allows them to use foreign seafarers on international routes.
Maersk Line announced this week that the company proposes to spend around $3 billion a year from 2015-19 on new tonnage in order to retain its long held position as the world’s largest container carrier. The company currently controls around 15% of the global containerized trade including around 20% on the world’s busiest route between Asia and Europe. Only four of the major container carriers turned a profit in the first half of 2014 with Maersk the most profitable on account of aggressive cost cutting.
The International Chamber of Shipping published a paper this week to coincide with the UN Conference on Climate Change which took place in New York. Green House Gas emissions from global maritime transport are estimated to have been over 20% lower in 2012 than in 2007. View the ICS Press Release.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s latest impressive creation, Quantum of the Seas left the Meyer Werft shipyard this week to make the precarious 26 mile transit down the River Ems to the North Sea where final outfitting and testing will take place. The route is technically known as “the conveyance” and is an ordeal that every ship ever constructed at Meyer Werft has taken since 1795 because of the shipyard’s protected inland location in Papenburg, Germany. With LOA 348 meters and beam 41.4 meters, Quantum of the Seas is the largest vessel ever built by Meyer Werft and her stern first movement downriver at 2-3 knots involved re-routing of power lines and even the temporary lifting of some bridges. She is to be followed by a sister ship Anthem of the Seas. We came across a video of the exercise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5vcvvncKKM.
INTERTANKO is to host a Seafarers’ Vetting Seminar on 22 October in Manila. This Seminar is specifically designed for seafarers and will provide guidance on port state control as well as the process and best practice associated with vetting inspections.
On Monday, September 22nd the Celebrity Solstice visited the Port of Nanaimo as one of the ports of call in its 11-day Seattle-Alaska itinerary. With a capacity of 2,850 passengers and 1,400 crew, the Celebrity Solstice is the largest vessel on Alaskan itinerary. This is the second cruise ship to visit Nanaimo this year in addition to two pocket cruise ships that arrived in May. Next season Nanaimo is scheduled to see three large cruise ships, including the return of the Celebrity Solstice, and two pocket cruise ships.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) secretary general, Koji Sekimizu, has announced that he will resign at the end of his first term in office ending in December 2015 for family reasons. Mr. Sekimizu's announcement caught many by surprise as it is usual for a newly elected secretary general to continue for a second term and it was anticipated that he would hold the post until 2019.
CN Rail may be fined for failing to meeting the Government of Canada's requirement to deliver 536,250 metric tons of grain weekly. CN is contesting the fine on the basis that the demand for moving the grain has dropped to less than 5,000 railcars a week, which is below the government’s target. CN notes that the grain volumes were also reduced by a roughly week-long closing of the Port of Prince Rupert for maintenance, full capacity at most of the Port Metro Vancouver terminals and a lack of weekend shifts at both ports. There are currently 19 ships in Vancouver and four in Prince Rupert either loading or waiting for grain.
Port Metro Vancouver is expecting high cruise passenger volumes at Canada Place and Ballantyne Pier cruise terminals on September 21st and 28th with up to 15,000 embarking and disembarking passengers are expected between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm at Canada Place and Ballantyne terminals. On these busy cruise days, higher than normal traffic volumes are anticipated in the downtown core, along with increased demand for taxis and the use of public transportation.
CN has recognized CMA-CGM, Cosco, Hapag Lloyd, Kruger Products, Maersk Line, MOL, Mondelēz Canada, NYK, OOCL Canada, Target Canada and Walmart Canada for sustainability practices that align with CN's EcoConnexions program to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency. CN will plant 110,000 trees next spring in recognition of its customers’ commitment to sustainable business practices.
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada issued the following information regarding the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Canadian marine shipping industry.
Natural Resources Canada and the US Department of Energy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) focussed on achieving shared goals of greater energy security and environmental responsibility. This five year agreement will allow both countries to cooperate and share knowledge on technology, research, training, and best practices. Under proposed regulations issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states must reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in their power sectors and will have a variety of means to achieve that reduction, which is primarily aimed at coal-fired power plants. Canadian utilities are gearing up to sell power from low-emission sources such as hydro, wind and nuclear. Both sides are interested in increasing the use of natural gas in the transportation system and developing an efficient and clean cross-border system.
The National Research Council has announced a program aimed at finding economical and viable business based technology to improve safety and performance of marine vessels. Building on its work under the Marine Vehicles program, the program will focus on technologies and processes for reducing operating costs of vessels, contributing to safe Arctic and offshore oil and gas operations. The end result is to support a sustainable and competitive shipbuilding industry in Canada for military vessels, marine commercial transportation, and offshore resource industries.
Examples of work that will be conducted within the program by NRC will include advanced controls for systems like auto-pilot and roll stabilizers, improved vessel performance monitoring and analysis systems, the development of Arctic station-keeping technology and training simulators, advanced controls for unmanned marine vehicles, and conceptual and preliminary design tools for ice-class and inshore vessels.
Vale SA has achieved a breakthrough in the company’s relations with China that may finally overcome the two year ban on its Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOC) from Chinese ports. The company is to transfer ownership and lease back four VLOC’s to COSCO for 25 years and in the longer term also take on long term charter 10 Capesizes that COSCO is yet to build. Vale’s inability to dock its ships at Chinese ports has frustrated the company’s attempts to reduce freight costs and compete with Australian rivals. Chinese ship owners have long opposed access to Vale’s VLOC’s resulting in the development of expensive transshipment centers in Malaysia and the Philippines.