The UK Government has set out its Maritime 2050 vision for the future of the UK’s maritime services sector. The strategy looks at developing technology, people, and infrastructure, to keep the maritime industry in the UK flourishing. Specifically, this includes establishing an innovation hub at a UK port by 2030, looking at ways to clean up emissions from the industry, and building on existing seafarer training. In addition, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is looking at what is needed to ensure the safety and testing of autonomous ships to position the UK as the best place to trial this technology.
The US Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection responded to a report of three stowaways on the merchant vessel, Diana J, Wednesday approximately three miles offshore of Port of Miami. The USCG watchstanders received a report from the Diana J crew stating they had located two Guatemalan adult male stowaways and one Honduran adult male stowaway during a pre-arrival stowaway search approximately 23 miles northwest of La Palma, Cuba, Tuesday. After holding the ship offshore to allow for a full search, no additional stowaways were found.
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has initiated an investigation into possible freight rail service issues in the Vancouver area. Their decision to launch an investigation is based on information received from shipper associations and other parties. The investigation will assess whether there is evidence of discriminatory treatment of certain commodities, how freight rail permits and/or embargoes are being used, and whether railway companies operating in the Vancouver area are fulfilling their service obligations. A public hearing will be held in Vancouver at the end of January to give railway companies and shipper groups an opportunity to provide evidence in response to questions from the CTA.
On 15 January the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU) launched a flagship report entitled: “Transport 2040: Automation Technology Employment - the Future of Work”. The forward-looking assessment, produced by WMU, investigates how the global transport industry will change as a result of automation and advanced technologies, forecasting and analyzing trends and developments in the major transport sectors - seaborne, road, rail and aviation - to 2040 with an emphasis on the implications for jobs and employment for transport workers.
The Province of British Columbia has announced its Coast Forest Sector Revitalization initiative that seeks to increase the processing of BC logs on the coast and reduce wood waste by redirecting it to BC’s pulp and paper mills. The intention is to ensure more BC logs and fibre are process in BC. Unfortunately, the initiative has neglected to take into consideration the number of marine industry jobs that support log exports. The Province is planning to implement the goals through a series of legislative, regulatory and policy changes over the next two years.
Canada Border Services Agency has released Customs Notice 19-03 to provide guidance to carriers that wish to reposition empty containers. The new Transportation Modernization Act now permits vessels of any registry to reposition empty containers they own or are leasing, between locations in Canada (on a non-revenue basis) without the requirement of obtaining a coasting trade licence. The provisions are retroactive to December 10, 2018. The Chamber of Shipping is seeking further clarification on the reporting requirements and will advise members accordingly.
The Government of Canada has awarded a contract to London Offshore Consultants from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for the development of a risk assessment methodology related to hundreds of vessels of concern (abandoned, wrecked or dilapidated vessels) in Canadian waters or on Crown land. The risk assessment methodology, expected to be delivered by this summer, will help the Canadian Coast Guard assess the level of risk these vessels pose to the environment, the economy and public safety. The contract valued at $551k is part of the Government of Canada's $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan.
With an initial focus on shipments into and out of the US, Maersk Line will begin physically inspecting container contents as part of its efforts to stem the increasing numbers of fires that break out inside boxes during transit, as well as boxes in which cargo moves or is damaged due to not being lashed correctly. The checks will be undertaken by the National Cargo Bureau, with containers selected at random. The cost for such reworking containers that require changes in order to be compliant with regulations will be charged to the Shipper/Consignee (depending on direction of the container). A container that has already made sea transit may be selected for inspection upon its arrival in the US. The aim of the exercise is to collect data to develop “procedures that better ensure the accuracy of cargo descriptions provided to Maersk”, as well as improve the use of the IMO’s Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code).
The Earth’s magnetic north pole is shifting at an unprecedented speed, forcing researchers to make early updates to World Magnetic Model that helps navigation by ships, planes and submarines in the Arctic. Magnetic north did not move significantly between 1900 and 1980, but it has accelerated in the last 40 years. It’s now moving at about 50 km (30 miles) a year, causing the US military to request an update to the model that was originally planned for 2020. The moving pole affected navigation, mainly in the Arctic Ocean north of Canada. NATO and the US and British militaries are among those using the magnetic model, as well as civilians.
The member companies of the Ocean Alliance have agreed to extend their cooperation through March 31, 2027. The companies include: CMA CGM, Evergreen Line, Cosco and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL). The Alliance formed in 2017 for and initial period of five years with an option for a five-year renewal, which they have opted to take only two years into the partnership. The OCEAN Alliance’s revised network taking effect in April will involve the deployment of approximately 330 containerships with a carrying capacity of around 3.8m TEU across 38 services. Ocean Alliance is the world’s largest operational agreement between shipping companies.
The International Chamber of Shipping has advised that China has introduced new regulations on data collection for energy consumption of ships effective January 1st, 2019 for all ships of 400 GT and above or powered by engines of 750kw. Hellenic Shipping News has published the relevant links to the regulations and reporting form.
The fire on board Hapag-Lloyd’s Yantian Express is still smouldering but is under control. She remains approximately 1700 kilometres southeast of Halifax. The 17 Filipino crew members taken off the ship are now safely back in the Philippines while five crew members returned to the ship after the fire was contained. The salvors have made a request to Transport Canada for a place of refuge in Halifax.
Several years ago Louis Dreyfus Commodities Canada Ltd. filed a service complaint to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) against CN, saying that the company failed to provide enough rail cars to some of its grain elevators during the 2013-14 record crop year. Since then, after a series of court appearances and appeals, the Federal Court of Appeals has just upheld the ruling that the courts have jurisdiction to determine the damages CN must pay for breaching its service agreement. The tribunal did not disclose any damages to be paid by CN.
A majority of the longshoreman union members serving the Port of Montral have voted 99.49 per cent in favour of a strike if needed. Key demands include better working conditions and a change to schedules. The vote took place on Dec. 16, 2018, giving union leaders a 60-day window to call the strike, which is believed to be largely symbolic. The union is negotiating a new contract, which expired in December 2018, with the Maritime Employers Association, a group that includes ship owners, operators, agents and stevedoring companies.
In an effort to make Great Lakes-St. Lawrence and coastal shipping more competitive, the Chamber of Marine Commerce has unveiled a 2019 wish list for legislative and policymakers. Despite an unpredictable business environment of tariff wars and trade negotiations, St. Lawrence Seaway cargo volumes increased almost 7 per cent in 2018, reaching 40.9 million metric tons for the first time since 2007. The wish list seeks to build on that momentum. Items include:
The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) announced a land use decision that ensures the protection of important marine habitat within its jurisdiction. The moratorium on Flora, Agnew and Horsey Banks will prohibit any industrial development in this marine area adjacent to Lelu Island, despite the environmental assessment of the Pacific Northwest LNG project by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in 2016, which determined that a terminal project can be developed without significant adverse environmental effects in the area. The area was the focus of intense controversy a few years ago over a now-abandoned plan by Petronas to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal on Lelu Island, which opponents feared would destroy sensitive salmon habitat in Flora Banks. The moratorium will be formalized in PRPA’s Land Use Management Plan, as part of a review of the plan beginning later in 2019.
For the past several months, Ian Marr and Mike Davidson have served the Port of Nanaimo as Co-CEOs. The Port has now named Marr as the permanent CEO and Davidson as the COO. As CEO, Marr plans to continue with current initiatives such as the developing the vehicle processing centre, drawing more business and creating jobs while reconnecting with stakeholders, partners and other members of the community in prioritizing and planning. As COO, Davidson will oversee day-to-day business operations.