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.
Royal Dutch Shell has raised its stake from 40% to 50% in the company’s Kitimat based LNG Canada. The additional 10% has been acquired from project partners Mitsubishi Corp and Korea Gas Corp., with both selling 5% stakes, each retaining a 15% shareholding in the company whilst Petro China retains its original 20% stake. Whilst still some way from a final investment decision, initial production at LNG Canada would be around 12 million tons/year with the potential to double.
Beginning April 15 the Port of Victoria hosted the Canadian submarine HMCS Chicoutimi (above left) whilst conducting trim and incline tests at Ogden point. A 310‘ Seaspan barge was positioned cross the ends of Piers A & B to create an enclosed basin. The submarine spent 3 days conducting on surface and submerged trials.
On April 23 Star Evivva (above center) discharged 40 prefabricated sections manufactured in China to the barge Nana Provider. The sections are to be used to convert the Linden Marine owned barge from a rail barge to a container barge - work that is scheduled to be performed by Victoria ship yard in mid May .
May 26 and 27 saw Hockey Night in Canada’s “Play on Hockey Tournament” http://www.playon.ca/events/victoria hosted at Ogden Point (above right).
Finally, on May 1, Holland America’s Zaandam made the first cruise call of the season - the first of 207 scheduled calls bringing around 449,000 visitors to sunny Victoria .
(Thanks go to John Briant, Vancouver Island Manager for Western Stevedoring, for providing the photographs and details behind this article).
Despite a public apology by the country’s President, the Korean ferry disaster has now had major reverberations throughout the country and has even prompted the resignation of the Prime Minister. The owners of the Sewol are being investigated, all 15 members of the deck crew have been arrested (picture above left) and a major investigation has been launched involving the Korea Register of Shipping and the Korea Shipping Association (KSA) related to conversion of the ferry in 2012. This has prompted the Chairman and CEO of the Korean Register to also stand down.
A 98 year lease on the world’s largest coal export port, Newcastle, New South Wales, has been won by Australian based Hastings Funds Management and the China Merchants Group. A higher than expected bid of A$1.75 billion ($1.6 billion) sealed the deal, far above the State Government’s valuation of A$700 million. The successful tender is 27 times earnings, matching the 27 times earnings compared to the recent 25 times earnings in a A$5.07 billion deal for 99-year leases for Port Botany and Port Kembla. The Hastings Group has a diverse portfolio of utilities, airports, toll roads and ports in Australia, Europe and the United States. China Merchants owns a wide range of transportation, finance and property assets with A$819 billion assets under management as of end-December. The port exported 142 million tons of coal in 2012/13.
A report by BMT Asia-Pacific, commissioned by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, has proposed the establishment of a new statutory body, independent of government, with a view to kick starting the territory’s declining role as an International Maritime Centre. The report calls for a change of direction in areas of policy, R&D, marketing, training, and communications in order to increase competitiveness with leading IMCs such as London, Singapore and Shanghai. There are currently around 2,300 ships of 87.6 million GRT flying the Hong Kong flag.
Construction of the new Panama Canal locks is again at a standstill after around 700 workers voted to strike last weekend. The country’s most powerful union with around 70,000 members, is demanding annual salary hikes of at least 20% for each of the next four years, while the Panama Construction Chamber is proposing a staggered raise that would see workers’ pay increase by 22% over four years. Negotiations are underway between representatives of the striking workers and the construction consortium GUPC. As of March 31, the US$5.25 billion project was 74% complete.
Please also see the linked presentation on the conceptual Nicaragua Grand Interoceanic Canal by courtesy of the International Chamber of Shipping.
A ton of heroin worth almost £160million has been found hidden inside sacks of cement on a dhow in the Indian Ocean.The crew of the Australian warship HMAS Darwin intercepted the dhow 27 nautical miles east of the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and discovered the drugs stowed in 46 bags.The seizure is largest ever in the history of the Combined Maritime Forces, a joint operation between 30 countries to combat piracy, militancy and smuggling in the waters of East Africa.
The BC Maritime Employers Association in a joint venture with Capilano University has put together a new Waterfront Leadership Certificate Program to focus on developing team leaders on the waterfront. The program will consist of 15 days of training and will cover broad range of topics including business basics, the supply chain, corporate social responsibilities and operations management. The first course will be held in September 2014. For more information visit the BCMEA website.
A crew member was killed during a pirate attack this week on the German owned product tanker SP Brussels. Two pirates were also killed in crossfire with two armed guards on the ship. At the time of the attack, the vessel was in ballast sailing from Port Harcourt to Lagos and the crew were attempting to reach a citadel. In December 2012, pirates attacked and looted the same vessel, also off the coast of Nigeria, taking five crew members hostage.
In what must surely be one of the largest naval procurement orders in history, General Dynamics this week secured a contract with the US Navy to build 10 Block IV Virginia-class submarines at a total contract value of $17.6 billion. Two submarines per year will be built with first steel cutting planned for 1 May 2014 (yesterday) and the last vessel being scheduled for delivery in 2023. The design calls for 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles to be installed in two separate silos. Ten Virginia class submarines are already in service and eight are under construction. Hull length is 115 meters and beam 10 meters with a speeds “in excess of 25 knots”.
The UK government's capital investment fund for science is to order a new £200m polar research icebreaker for delivery in 2019. With a helideck and hangar, robotic subs, ocean-survey and sampling gear the vessel will provide UK science with one of the largest and most capable polar research vessels in the world. Initial specifications:
The UK already operates two polar ships - the Royal Research Ship (RRS) James Clark Ross and the RRS Ernest Shackleton. The former was built in 1990 and the latter in 1995.
It was also announced last week that a $6.5 million contract has been awarded to Babcock Canada Inc. for critical refit work for Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. The shipyard portion of the work will be carried out by Chantier Davie Canada Inc., a sub-contractor to Babcock Canada. Commissioned in 1969, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is Canada's largest and heaviest icebreaker.
The provincial government has released its latest proposal on land-based spills.
Three major policies are being proposed to ensure both government and industry can respond to heavy oil and other hazardous material spills on land in a timely and effective manner, including:
The public will have until June 26, 2014, to review the paper and submit feedback. The paper can be found at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/codes/spr_eep/response.htm
Canada Border Services Agency clarifies its interpretation of "Open Vessel" in tariff items 8901.90.10 and 8906.90.11 and 8906.90.19. An "open vessel" for the purpose of tariff classification is considered to be a vessel that has no deck. Barges are not considered to be an "open vessel".