The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) announced earlier this week the completion of a container terminal master plan that outlines the potential of future container terminal capacity and sequencing of development at the Port of Prince Rupert. The planning work identifies the long-term potential to develop 6 – 7 million TEUs of capacity through the development of multiple terminals at the Port of Prince Rupert. This includes further expansion of Fairview Terminal and the development of a second container terminal with a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs at the Port's South Kaien Island site. Both the current Fairview Terminal and South Kaien sites are in close proximity to expanding export logistics operations on Ridley Island, and will fully integrate with these operations following PRPA’s construction of the Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor scheduled for the end of 2020.
CN is increasing its operations in Western Canada with two significant export supply chain projects: The AltaGas Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal, and The Vista Mining Complex. Both new projects aim to maximize the use of rail into the Port of Prince Rupert. The AltaGas Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal has been receiving propane since mid-April and will provide access to markets in Asia for the propane derived from the natural gas industry based in BC and Alberta. The Vista Mining Complex is a new surface mine operation expected to employ in excess of 350 people full-time. With committed rail and terminal capacity, the project is focused on the serving the growing demand for thermal coal in the Asian markets.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (Canada) has voted to strike if necessary, but union leaders have agreed to continue discussions with employers through to the end of May, providing some relief to shippers moving goods through the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The tone of negotiations has reportedly improved in recent weeks, though neither side will say what issues are holding up the negotiations.
Trade barriers, unrelated to tariffs, are impeding Canada’s grain industry from seeing the full benefits of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU. A recent report from the Chamber of Commerce states that overcoming these non-tariff trade barriers will require improved communications between industry and government, as well as increased transparency and regulatory harmonization. Canada and the EU signed CETA on October 30, 2016 and the deal has been provisionally applied since September 2017. Prior to CETA, agricultural trade between Canada and Europe was valued at some $3.5 billion annually. Under CETA’s provisional application, almost 94 per cent of EU tariff lines are duty free.
The controversial Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, Bill C-48, was rejected by the Senate’s Transport Committee this week after several amendments tabled by the Committee were opposed in the clause-by-clause review. The Committee’s recommendation to reject the bill will go the Senate for a vote later this month. The Senate is comprised of 65 independent, 9 Liberals and 30 Conservative senators and so far, no date has been set for the second reading and vote.
Another good news story, the U.S. is dropping its tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, almost exactly a year since the measures took effect. Global Affairs Canada said the tariffs will be removed within two days. Canada has agreed to lift tariffs that were imposed in retaliation. Tariffs of 25 per cent on imports of steel from Canada and 10 per cent on aluminum took effect on June 1, 2018. Canada’s steel and aluminum industries employed about 33,500 Canadians in 2017 and added $8.9 billion to the country’s gross domestic product, according to federal government figures.
Transport Canada has released Ship Safety Bulletin No.09/2019 to provide general information about the Regulations Amending the Navigation Safety Regulations (Automatic Identification Systems). These amendments will extend the AIS carriage requirements to vessels certified to carry more than 12 passengers or vessels that are more than 8 metres in length carrying passengers. The requirements come into force on June 15, 2019.
The Genesis River, a 755-foot LPG tanker, collided with the tug Voyager near Bayport, Texas last Friday, resulting in a spill that has caused part of the Houston Ship Channel to close. The tug was transporting two barges loaded with the gasoline blend stock Reformate. One barge has capsized, and one is reported damaged. Each barge was loaded with an estimated 25,000 barrels of gasoline blend stock, and media report estimate that 9,000 barrels were released from the damaged barge. Oil spill response, air monitoring and salvage attended the scene. As of Wednesday, the Houston Ship Channel reopened to two-way traffic.
A bid to build a controversial pipeline to boost New York’s natural gas supply has been rejected by authorities. The proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project included about 37 km of submarine pipeline off New York City’s coast. The nearly $1 billion plan was denied by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which cited concerns over water quality and aquatic life. Its rejection follows similar decisions on natural gas projects made recently by Washington State and Los Angeles.
Six people have died after two float planes carrying cruise passengers collided in flight near Ketchikan, Alaska on Monday May 13th, just after 1:00PM. Victims include one Canadian, one Australian, and four American tourists. 10 people were rescued and brought to safety.
Jennifer Homendy of the US National Transportation Safety Board presented a graphic (above) of preliminary flight tracking data that shows the paths of the two floatplanes before the collided at the point the two lines meet. A preliminary report into the incident was expected in approximately two weeks.
At the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, several delegates representing international shipping have expressed concern over recent increases in protectionist measures. Representatives from thee International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Asian Shipowners’ Association (ASA) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) presented two papers highlighting that there has been a seven-fold increase in import-restrictive trade measures since 2017. This represents an additional USD 588.3 billion of additional costs to global trade. An additional 137 new trade-restrictive measures were put in place between 2017 and 2018, adding further costs. The sector is fully committed to the preservation and promotion of free trade policies and principles around the world, and the group is encouraging WTO Member States to ensure that both bilateral and regional agreements do not conflict with their current national schedules of commitments, as agreed within the framework of the WTO.
COSCO has confirmed that they are ready to increase transit shipments on the Northern Sea Route. While they have not disclosed the number of planned voyages for the coming year, they have indicated that the exact number will depend on weather and ice conditions, and customs demands. With the shorter distance, using the Northern Sea Route will help save time and costs, while reducing fuel use.
The newly created Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), which aims to enable digital standardization across the container shipping industry, has gained five more members. The four founding members are now joined by CMA CGM, Evergreen Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation and ZIM Integrated Shipping Services. The group will work together to develop the relevant standards, processes and data flow for digital transformations to improve the efficiency of the transportation process. With nine of the largest container shipping lines in the world, DCSA members now make up 70% of the market.
A major international project to support the International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s initial strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping has been launched. Entitled GreenVoyage-2050, the project will initiate and promote global efforts to demonstrate and test technical solutions for reducing such emissions, as well as enhancing knowledge and information sharing to support the IMO GHG reduction strategy. GreenVoyage-2050 is a collaboration between IMO and the Government of Norway and will run for an initial two-year period. More than 50 countries in 14 sub-regions across the globe are expected to participate, including developed countries and strategic partners from the private sector, who will contribute expertise and experience. The project will also build capacity in developing countries, including small island developing states (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs), to fulfil their commitments to meet climate-change and energy-efficiency goals for international shipping.
The Philippines has recalled its ambassador to Canada amid a dispute over garbage. The government of Rodrigo Duterte also recalled its consulate heads after Canada missed a May 15 deadline to take back dozens of shipping containers of garbage that had been sitting in the Philippines for years after it was discovered they weren’t filled with recyclables, as labelled. Ottawa is in the midst of contracting with a company to bring the waste back to Canada. According to a government official, steps must be taken to safeguard against the possibility of pathogens and viruses that may have formed within the containers. The Philippines will maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until the garbage is removed from the country.
A new survey from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) has shown that internet access for seafarers’ personal use on board ships is more widespread and available than previously thought. The survey indicates that internet access for personal use may improve mental health, well-being and morale of seafarers. Of the organizations who responded, 82% provide internet for personal use. Despite industry concerns that internet access may negatively impact seafarers getting adequate rest, 85% of companies reported that rest has been unaffected. Similarly, while there have also been concerns that internet access may negatively impact work performance, 96% of companies reported that this has not been affected. The survey saw responses from 276 operators with 11,665 ships, representing 14% of the world fleet.
The Sailors’ Society has launched a petition to the International Labour Organization (ILO) that calls for a change to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) to make wellness training for seafarers mandatory; the petition has nearly 2,000 signatures. Mandatory wellness at sea training would represent a landmark way of saying that the mental health of the 1.6 million seafarers working in the industry matters. Across the industry depression and suicide rates are very high, with studies finding that more than 25% of seafarers suffer from depression, with at least 6% of deaths at sea recorded as suicide.