Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has seized 197 kg of suspected marijuana and 14 kg of suspected heroin from a tractor trailer at Edmonton Commercial Operations at the Edmonton International Airport and an additional 95 kg of suspected marijuana and 6 kg of suspected hashish as part of the same investigation.  The tractor trailer contained goods from an overseas shipment requiring custom clearance in Edmonton. As a result of the CBSA seizure, two men were arrested and have been criminally charged by the RCMP. 

The federal government has committed $3 million towards a Common Data Interface (CDI) project that will help coordinate reservations and reduce trucker wait times across Port Metro Vancouver's four container terminals.

The CDI project includes: 

  • the collection of data on gate and terminal activities, which will help to coordinate multi-shift operations, especially necessary now given the terminal’s recently announced extended hours pilot;
  • develop an enhanced common reservation system (i.e. a centralized appointment scheduler for container trucks), which will reduce wait times and enhance efficiency of truck movements; and
  • measure operational performance and enforcement through the collection of location data (via GPS technology), which will help the port develop and enforce appropriate standards.

The project, which costs approximately $6 million, will receive $3 million over two years under Transport Canada’s Clean Transportation Initiative on Port-Related Trucking, with the port contributing the other half.

315 GreenMarine1 315 GreenMarine2

Green Marine this week held its 6th Annual General Meeting and Conference (GreenTech 2014) in St. John NB. At the annual awards ceremony hosted by the Port of St. John in their new Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal it was evident that members continue to achieve air quality and a range of other environmental improvements on their respective score-cards. Green Marine requires participants to adopt practices and technologies that will have a direct impact on the improved sustainability of their operations and “this year’s global average of 3.1 translates into tangible results” said Executive Director David Bolduc.

  • 67% of the ports and terminals have established a plan for the prevention of water and soil pollution
  • 78% of the shipowners have equipped their vessels with recycling bins and trained crews to respect 3R-RD (reduce at source, reuse, recycle, and reclaim and properly dispose of – preferably by composting) which has contributed to a reduction of waste at source
  • 54 participants have completed a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, which represents 67% of all participants
  • 93% of ports, terminals and shipyards restrict vehicle engine idling to improve air quality in their port communities

The highly entertaining guest speaker a the conference dinner was Ms. Mylene Paquette who after 129 days at sea, capsizing 10 times and facing waves of over 10 meters, became the first North American woman to row solo across the North Atlantic, from Canada to France including a mid-ocean rendezvous with the Queen Mary 2 (picture above) for urgent supplies and a new sat-phone (see above).

Stephen Brown was invited to moderate two conference panels covering:

  • The Energy East Pipeline Project which included Mr. Paul Browning, President & CEO of Irving Oil and Mr. Francois Poirier, President Energy East Pipeline project
  • Partnerships and Collaboration in support of Financing Sustainability including Mr. Peter Boyd, Chief Operating Officer of Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room.

The west coast ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Victoria and Nanaimo plus Neptune Terminals and Fraser Surrey Dock were all represented at this year’s conference. It was announced that the 2015 conference will be held in Seattle.

315 Sewol1 315 Sewol2 315 Sewol3

Losing no time in bowing to the public outcry, the Korean authorities have this week placed 15 crew members of the capsized ferry Sewol on trial over the deaths of at least 292 people, most of them teenage school children. The vessel’s master, 69 year old Captain Lee Joon-seok and three others face the most serious charge of "homicide through willful negligence". Eleven others are being prosecuted on lesser charges of criminal negligence and maritime law violations. With the trial taking place in Gwangju, the city closest to the location of the tragedy, many relatives of the victims were in court to see the opening of the trial. The picture above left shows the Captain being helped off the vessel by the Korean Coast Guard and (centre) after being detained in custody.

Thousands of South Korean police have also raided a religious compound associated with the fugitive billionaire owner of the Sewol, Mr.Yoo Byung-eun. Some 6,000 officers with helicopter support stormed the complex in Anseong city. A separate trial of senior executives blamed for procedural lapses is due to start later this month. 

315 CostaConcordia

Italian officials in the Department of Civil Protection met in Rome this week to discuss plans laid out by the owners of the Costa Concordia, Costa Crociere, related to the refloating of the wreck and its transfer to Genoa, where she will be scrapped. Current plans call for the wreck to be refloated on July 20 from where she will take five daysto be towed to Genoa. The project requires the approved of the Italian Council of Ministers prior to implementation with the deadline for a final decision delayed to June 25. 

Friday, 13 June 2014 01:12

Remaining Albedo crew members released

315 Albedo

Eleven crew members of the Malaysian registered ship container ship Albedo which was hijacked by Somali pirates in November 2010 have been freed after three and a half years (1288 days) in captivity, apparently without a ransom being paid. The crew who are from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran were flown to Kenya for medical checks and debriefing before being repatriated. Seven of the ship's crew were released two years ago when a ransom was paid but sadly not before one had been executed by their captors. Four others died when the vessel sank (picture above) after two years at anchor. Approximately 38 crew members from a variety of hijacked vessels still remain unaccounted for.

A search has also been on since Wednesday last week for the Greek coastal tanker Fair Artemis that lost contact 40 miles off Ghana with a 24-strong crew and a cargo of gasoil. The vessel sent a distress call on June 6 saying that she had been hijacked and was being looted as it was forced to sail through the waters of neighboring Togo. Naval forces from Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria all engaged in the search and she eventually turned up on Wednesday this week – minus cargo of course. 

315 Brazil

Whilst already well known for shutting down port operations during national soccer games, Brazilian stevedores were set to go the full Monty during the World Cup with a complete shutdown in protest against Government attempts to implement much needed reform. At the 11th hour, a shutdown was postponed until June 27 after the government agreed to listen to stevedore complaints following many months of ignoring them. Now is peak soya-bean exporting season when ports are even more congested than normal hence damage to the country’s agricultural sector would be immense.

Friday, 13 June 2014 01:07

Bulk carrier fire in Corpus Christi

315 Antonio

The bulk carrier Antonio suffered a serious cargo hold fire this week in the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas. Smoke enveloped a wide area of the port and local area with one shore fire-fighter being taken to hospital with heat exhaustion. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

315 CSA 315 LCA

The Canadian Shipowners Association and the US based Lake Carriers Association have announced  an agreement on five shared principles for ballast water control measures on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canadian Eastern and Arctic waters to the limit of the Canadian exclusive economic zone (Operating Area).  The purpose of the agreement is to establish fair, equivalent and flexible ballast water regulation on both sides of the border.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 12:09

No US tax on cargo from Canada and Mexico

A big sigh of relief for Canadian ports as the new US Water Resources Reform and Development Act signed into law on Tuesday excluded a proposed 0.125 per cent tax on cargo arriving in Canada and Mexico destined for the US.  In lieu of any tax, the new Act does offer $25 million to ports that contribute to the National Harbor Maintenance Tax, such as Seattle and Tacoma.

314 BlueCircle

Chair of the Board, Craig Neeser, presented Blue Circle awards for environmental performance beyond compliance following this week’s Annual General Meeting of Port Metro Vancouver. The 2013 award recipients were APL (Canada), COSCO Canada, CMA CGM (Canada), Disney Cruise Line, Eukor Car Carriers, Grieg Star Shipping (Canada), Hapag-Lloyd AG, Holland America Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, K Line; Maersk Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Mediterranean Shipping Company (Canada),  Orient Overseas Container Line, Princess Cruises and Westwood Shipping Lines. Company representatives nominated to accept the award are shown together in the pictures above.

Financial highlights announced by CFO Allan Baydala prior to a lively Q&A session with members of the general public  were:

  • Re-affirmation by Standard & Poor of PMV’s AA credit rating, for the fourth consecutive year.
  • A 12% increase in overall consolidated revenue, from $189 million in 2012 to $212 million in 2013
    • An 18% increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization
    • A 27% increase in overall Consolidated Net Income from $75 million in 2012 to $94 million in 2013 (excluding one-time gain on the sale of assets of $21 million in 2012)
  • The purchase of the former Fraser Wharves auto terminal in Richmond for $56 million.
  • The completion of the South Shore Elevated Road Structure, on time and on budget

PMV also paid out $1.2 million in harbour dues discounts to vessels participating in the EcoAction program as recognized by the Blue Circle Award.

Friday, 06 June 2014 10:29

ASEAN delegation visits Vancouver

314 Asean

During the three day visit of a high ranking delegation from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to Vancouver this week, Canada was urged to extend trade links to this fastest growing region on the planet comprising a market of 600 million people. The visit was coordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs with the delegation being hosted by a International Trade Minister Ed Fast along with Provincial Ministers and the Premier. The delegation head reminded us that there is currently only one direct flight a week from ASEAN countries to Canada and that needs to change given that the region has around 1,200 airports and will require 3,000 additional aircraft between now and 2032 to meet the projected increased demand for travel. ASEAN is a thriving 10-nation political and economic organization made up of Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. In terms of shipping, the region holds registration of 17% of the world fleet and currently handles around 78m TEU per year.

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