Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) has issued a Fee Amendment Notice with a proposal to amend the Terminal Gate Efficiency Fee effective July 9, 2014. In the proposal terminal operators will be required to pay $50 for wait times between 90 and 120 minutes and additional $20-$25 for every 30 minutes thereafter. The new fee was included in the 15-point Action Plan reached between the provincial government and Unifor/UTA drivers on March 26th which ended the 28-day trucking disruption in PMV.
Earlier this week PMV also announced its intention to expedite the installation of GPS transponder units on all trucks approved under the port's Truck Licensing System. Currently only 50 per cent of trucks under the TLS are equipped and monitored for congestion and wait times.
The Container Drayage Leadership Team (CDLT) continues to work with PMV to effectively deliver the items within the action plan. This has not been without its challenges. 33 trucking companies have jointly filed a civil claim in the Supreme Court of British Columbia contesting PMV's ability to set trucking rates and now TSI has filed a judicial review in the Federal Court on the wait time fees applied to terminal operators.
The BC Government has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Petronas, the major partner in the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project in Prince Rupert. The LOI outlines a framework designed to allow Petronas to reach a final investment decision by the end of 2014. Under the agreement, Petronas and the provincial government agree to prepare terms for a project development agreement to be finalized by June 30.The Premier then went on to Singapore to sign a similar agreement with the proponents of the smaller Woodfibre LNG project, Pacific Oil & Gas Group. Many believe that should it proceed, this latter could be the first LNG project out of the gate in BC.
In a related development, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (the LNG and natural gas industry version of OPEC) will meet next week with the Japanese government to discuss LNG pricing. Asian countries are challenging the direct link between oil and LNG pricing which in their view does not reflect true market value. For example, the current LNG cost is about $4.60 per million British thermal units in the U.S. and about $7.80 per MMBtu in Europe whereas the imported cost to Japan last year averaged $16.10 per MMBtu.
PMV has announced plans to increase the capacity at Centerm Container Terminal, from approximately 900,000 TEU to between 1.5-to-1.8 million TEU by in 2018. The proposed project includes extending the Centerm berth to the west, filling in the land behind the berth, and a number of changes within the existing terminal footprint including reconfiguration of the container yard, extension of the intermodal rail yard, new terminal truck in-gates and a multi-storey parking structure. The project is designed to addresses near-term capacity constraints within PMV and does not impact the proposed Roberts Bank Container Terminal 2 Project which, if approved, will come on line in the 2020’s. Latest forecast data continues to indicate that container capacity demand through Canada’s west coast will more than double over the next 10 to 15 years.
Tesoro is facing a delay to the start up of their joint-venture project at the Port of Vancouver in Washington State as the company waits for the State to provide detailed requirements for an environmental impact study. The project is seeking permits to handle up to 380,000 barrels per day but growing opposition to the movement of crude-by-rail appears to be at the heart of the problem. Tesoro and its partner, Savage Services, submitted environmental permit requests for the rail-port in August 2013, and had expected the railport to start up in late 2014 or early 2015. The estimated cost of the project has also risen from $100 million to a range of $150 to $190 million.
Whilst no stranger to Victoria where last summer she made weekly calls on account of being home ported in Seattle for the Alaska season, the 2,850 passenger capacity Celebrity Solstice arrived from Honolulu to make her maiden call in Vancouver yesterday after spending the northern winter plying the coasts of sunny Australia and New Zealand. The Solstice is the lead ship in a series of five sisters – Eclipse, Equinox, Silhouette and Reflection. In order to pass under the Lions Gate Bridge, she was recently modified with a telescopic mast.
The Canadian Lifeboat Institution has announced that the dedication Ceremony of their new lifeboat to be named “Fraser Lifeboat (1A-04)” is to be held at Imperial Landing, off Bayview Street, Steveston on Saturday, May 17, 2014, at 11:00 AM. The boat was originally built by the RNLI as “The Famous Grouse (47-021)”. Shipment to Canada was made possible by the generosity of Grieg Star Shipping courtesy of Star Lima which arrived with her much anticipated cargo in late July 2013. See the attached details for those who may have an interest to attend next weekend’s ceremony.
The US Air Force came to the aid of two seriously injured Chinese seafarers 1,100 nautical miles west of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico last weekend. U.S. medics parachuted into the ocean to treat the badly burned men who had been rescued by a Venezuelan fishing boat after their own boat sank. The operation involved multiple aircraft, including a refueling tanker, from their base in Arizona. Two Chinese seafarers are known to have died and six are unaccounted for in the so far unexplained incident.
In another incident this week, one crew member was rescued but 11 are missing from the Chinese cargo ship Zhong Xing 2 following a collision with the container ship MOL Motivator in the waters off Hong Kong. Rescue efforts were coordinated by the Guangdong Rescue Co-ordination Centre with the assistance of Hong Kong’s Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre.
The search for the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 is increasingly looking to be a very long task. Last week a Malaysian government report revealed a four hour delay between MH370's disappearance and the start of a search operation. The preliminary report, from Malaysia's transport ministry, also revealed that air traffic controllers did not realise the plane was missing until 17 minutes after it disappeared off radar. The aerial search for floating wreckage has already been suspended but the search of the sea floor is being expanded using the Bluefin-21 robotic submersible in the area where all the evidence points to the end of the flight. Malaysia Airlines has meanwhile asked relatives of passengers to leave the hotel accommodation it has been providing in Kuala Lumpur and return home.
Sadly we have to report that the sunken Korean ferry Sewol has claimed yet another life, that of a 53 years old diver who lost consciousness and died on Tuesday this week during the continuing search operation for victims. It was also disclosed that another civilian diver, aged 31, fell unconscious last week after diving four times before daybreak but who later recovered.The confirmed death toll is now standing at 263 persons, with 39 still missing. President Park Geun-hye voiced further criticism of the ferry operators this week with strong words “Safety rules that must be observed were not followed because of worldly desires and irresponsible acts that tolerated those injustices have resulted in death”.
Vietnam has strongly criticized the positioning last week of the submersible China National Offshore drill rig Haiyang Shiyou 98 in disputed waters 120 nautical miles off its central coast and which Vietnam claims as its exclusive economic zone. Matters further escalated this week when Vietnamese naval ships and Chinese vessels were reported to have collided as the Vietnamese navy attempted to intervene. Hanoi said it would do everything possible to protect its rights and does not rule out taking legal action against China at an international tribunal. Philippine police also seized a Chinese fishing boat and detained its 11 crew in another disputed part of the South China Sea this week. Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, China and Taiwan all have competing claims in the region.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority, the leading European port handling trade with Brazil, has signed a joint venture agreement with a Brazilian consortium to develop a new deep-sea multi-purpose port. Rotterdam will initially provide technical support to Terminal Presidente Kennedy (TPK) Logistica, which is to be built on a greenfield site at the Port of Porto Central in the state of Espirito Santo to handle oil, gas, dry bulk, containers and general cargo. Rotterdam has also been advising the Brazilian government since 2010 on a strategic strategy to revamp the country’s 34 publicly owned ports. Rotterdam’s throughput was 441.5 million tons in 2013, dominated by Brazilian iron ore shipments, followed by oil products, basic chemicals and fruit juice, as well as meat, fruit and auto parts moved in containers.
Royal Boskalis Westminster announced this week that it is considering to build a big sister to the revolutionary heavy lift vessel Dockwise Vanguard (above right). The company is developing anew ultra large “V-class” Heavy Marine Transport Vessel (HTV), which will dwarf the 117,000 tons carrying capacity Dockwise Vanguard which only entered service just over a year ago.
The Chamber of Shipping's Stephen Brown was prominently featured in the provincial government's latest video series, Gateway to Prosperity. You can view this on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvxz15y_14I&feature=youtu.be.
Also copies of our new Safe Shipping brochure are available on-line and in hard copy upon request.
Government's Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-30) passed third reading in the House of Commons and has been referred to the Senate. Through Bill C-30, the Government of Canada is taking immediate, concrete action to get grain moving faster through legislation and regulations designed to:
Based on the feedback heard at Parliamentary committee, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food passed an amendment to Bill C-30 which would also create the authority for the Canadian Transportation Agency to order a railway to compensate shippers for expenses incurred as a result of a railway's failure to fulfill its service obligations.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) has announced proposed changes to the fees it charges for agricultural quarantine inspections (AQI) at US ports of entry. Included in the proposal is an increase for commercial inspections of marine cargo vessels from $496 to $825, a $2 fee per passenger to recover costs associated with inspection cruise vessels and passenger baggage, and a new $375 fee to recover costs for monitoring the application of or providing treatments to imported cargo to minimize pest risks.
The attached fee proposal is the first adjustment to APHIS user fees in nearly a decade and is intended to better align with the costs of the services provided. The proposal is subject to a 60-day comment period.
On Wednesday a lone gunman opened fire on employees at Nanaimo's Western Forest Products mill located on the Assembly Wharf, killing two people and injuring two others. Western Forest Products operations on Vancouver Island have been shut down out of respect for the victims with operations to resume on Monday, May 5th, with the exception of the Nanaimo sawmill. All sites will have additional security presence and Western Forest Products has advised that it is working with the United Steelworks Local 1-1937 to review the security at all facilities. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the employees and families invovled in this tragic event.
Prince Rupert’s Pacific NorthWest LNG project led by Malaysia's Petronas Group now has a new partner in the form of China Petroleum and Chemicals Corp. (Sinopec) both as an investor and as a buyer of product. Japan Petroleum Exploration Co.(Japex) is also a partner in the project which will be supplied with LNG by Progress Energy. Petronas has estimated the overall cost of the venture at around $35 billion as it plans to build a liquefaction plant at Lelu Island to ship LNG to Asia from 2019 onwards. In addition to the stake sold to Japex, the project has also sold LNG volumes and small project stakes to companies in India and Brunei. Under the latest deal, Petronas has agreed to sell Sinopec a 15% interest in Progress Energy's LNG feed-gas reserves in BC and in turn Sinopec has also agreed to off-take 1.8 million tons per annum of LNG for a minimum period of 20 years.