Transport Canada has published the long-awaited amendments to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations in the Canada Gazette Part II, Vol. 148, No. 14 - July 2, 2014. These amendments will bring greater clarity and consistency for marine operators and include recent changes made to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers.

The inaugual meeting of the Commodity Supply Chain Table (CSCT) estalbished by Transport Canada held its first meeting last week.   The CSCT is expected to provide a forum to address logistical issues and identify ways to improve rail transportation with better information on anticipated volumes.

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Following the lead of Transport Canada, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board issued orders at the end of last week to the Canadian Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railways that they must produce a plan to resolve the backlog of grain car orders on the U.S. rail network by today. In addition, both railways must provide the Board with weekly status updates beginning June 27. The reports are to include:

  • state-by-state totals of outstanding grain car orders at the end of the week
  •  the total number of new orders for the week
  • those orders filled for the week
  •  any cancellations by shippers
  • the average number of days late for all outstanding grain car orders
  • the number of cars allocated for grain car service each week, including any private cars in service. 

A new whistleblower service has been launched for the container drayage community in the Lower Mainland to provide a way truck drivers to voice concerns about such things as trucking company compliance with Joint Action Plan remuneration rates, truck licensing or driver harassment. The service is a collaborative effort by Port Metro Vancouver and the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Those wishing to file a report can do so online, via a 24/7 telephone service, by fax or by mail. The 1 877 713-5109 toll-free telephone service, called Drayage Confidence Line, is administered by an independent, third-party organization that will forward drivers’ concerns to the appropriate agency for follow-up.  Concerns involving driver remuneration will be investigated by the Container Dispute Resolution Program and, where necessary, disciplinary measures will be taken.

Friday, 13 June 2014 12:18

CBSA EDLT reminder for ACI Marine

CBSA has issued a reminder that effective July 9, 2014 the requirement to submit an Estimated Date and Time of Loading (EDTL) for ACI Marine will become mandatory.  The EDTL is mandatory if the cargo is containerized and the foreign port of loading is non US. Bulk and break-bulk cargo will continue to be exempt from the EDTL requirement.

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.

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.

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The new Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-30) received Royal Assent on May 29th.  The Act includes the volume requirements for the movement grain by rail through to August 3, 2014 and established the authority to set further volume requirements as needed beyond that point.  The legislation also allows shippers to be compensated for the railways' failure to meet service level obligations under the Canada Transportation Act.

CN is averaging 5,500 carloads per week - a full 50 per cent more than its eight-year historical average and aims to increase this average to close to 6,000 cars per week during the summer following implementation of a fleet integration plan and deployment of its surplus US hopper cars.

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Following a delay in the publication of the amended Pacific Pilotage Tariff Regulations, the Pacific Pilotage Authority has advised that they Treasury Board has approved the new Pacific Pilotage Tariff Regulations May 16, 2014 effective May 16, 2014.

Thursday, 15 May 2014 09:56

New Ship Safety Bulletins Released

Transport Canada released two Ship Safety Bulletins this week.  Ship Safety Bulletin 02/2014 outlines a new joint process established by Transport Canada's Marine Safety and Transportation of Dangerous Goods Directors to review applications for exemptions from the requirements stipulated under both the Cargo, Fumigation, Tackle Regulations and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. This single-window approach is expected to save time, without compromising the safe marine transportation of packaged dangerous goods.

Ship Safety Bulletin 03/2014 is a reminder that transitional provisions related to the issuance of Security Certificates of Proficiency ends on June 20, 2014.  After June 30th, 2014, all seafarers will need to complete a security training course to obtain a Ship Personnel with Designated Security Duties or a Ship Personnel without Designated Security Duties certificate of proficiency.

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Bell Helicopter based in Mirabel, Quebec has been awarded the $172 million contract for the procurement and delivery of 15 light-lift helicopters under the Canadian Guard's Fleet Renewal Plan.  The first of the 15 helicopters is expected to be delivered in May 2015.

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