The Government of Canada has finally extended an offer to the Philippines to repatriate the 103 containers of rotting garbage that were shipped there six years ago. The shipped containers were mis-declared as recyclables when they left Canada. Where the garbage will go, and the cost of bringing it back has not been disclosed. Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to “declare war” on Canada if it didn’t take back its trash and set this week as a deadline for an end to the impasse.
CP has reported that April was an all-time record month for Canadian grain and grain products. CP moved a best-ever 2.643 million metric tonnes (MMT) of Canadian grain and grain products this past month, bettering the previous record from October 2018. April train length, excluding local traffic, was an average of 7,576 feet, while train weight, excluding local traffic, was an average of 9,356 tons.
BC Maritime Employers Association has partnered with UBC’s Master of Data Science program to improve labour forecasting and address labour shortages with the goal of increasing the competitiveness of BC ports. The project, titled “Improving Labour Forecasting to Promote the Competitiveness of BC Ports” began in late April and will continue through mid-July. Four Data Science masters students will be working on the project, led by UBC program advisors and faculty and supported by a cross-departmental committee at the BCMEA.
China has suspended imports from two Quebec-based pork producers, Olymel and Drummond. The move is seen as a sign that diplomatic tensions between China and Ottawa could be affecting a wider swath of Canada’s food exports. The timing of this move is unusual as China is facing a significant shortage of pork due to the outbreak of the African swine fever that could see up to 200 million pigs lost to disease or slaughter. Many are watching if China will remove or reduce its 70 percent tariff on US pork imports. China is the biggest buyer of Canadian canola, and the second-biggest buyer of Canadian pork.
The container sector was among the fastest growing sectors at the Port of Montreal in 2018, up 9% over 2017 with close to 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) transiting through all five terminals. Market diversification and the positive impact of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement are among the key elements in this success. Liquid bulk rose 11.7% to 16.4 million tonnes while the dry bulk sector posted a 16.1% drop compared to 2017 with 8 million tonnes of cargo handled. However, total volumes increased by 2.3% over the previous year with a total volume of 39 million tonnes handled.
CN Rail has launched a mobile app aimed at improving terminal fluidity by allowing truck drivers to complete paperwork ahead of time. The app is just one piece of a larger effort by US and Canadian Class I railroads to increase fluidity to rail ramps in the face of rising volume pressures. By filing documents ahead of time, truckers will be able to use an expedited gate into terminals. The increase in daily productivity and efficiency means better utilization of existing infrastructure.
When ships travel up the St. Lawrence Seaway from Montreal to the upper Great Lakes, they climb 180 metres through the locks, the height of a 60-storey building. While most of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence are clear sailing for big ships, there are five canals along the way to get past shallower areas. The locks allow the vessels to navigate through those areas. 60 years ago, the locks took 22,000 workers, and massive excavations, but it was finished ontime and on budget. In present day, the locks are integrating the use of technology, including a hands-free mooring system, that allow bigger ships to navigate safely through the locks. Each year, the locks see 4,000 transits, about 75 percent of those are by the fleet of lakers.
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport announced that the Government of Canada is providing funding over three years to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to deliver a program to increase access to marine training courses for Indigenous communities. This $6.2 million in funding under the Oceans Protection Plan to BCIT will deliver a joint project with Camosun College to engage and consult with Indigenous communities to establish the full scope of training to be delivered and provide options to deliver training in Indigenous communities. BCIT and Camosun will also work with a number of industry partners, marine employers, and Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary to offer opportunities to work and gain experience at sea. The Marine Training Program is part of the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways, and reduces barriers to marine training for underrepresented groups in the marine labour force, such as women, Northerners, Inuit and Indigenous peoples.
The Gateway forum will be taking place in Vancouver on May 10. The forum will be focused on the gateway, an integrated, seamless supply chain connecting Canadian and North American markets to the world. While Canada is the only G7 country to have a trading agreement with all other partners, infrastructure deterioration, project delays, and a decline in availability of industrial land all threaten the longevity and performance of the Gateway. This forum will bring together policy makers, industry and employers to discuss best practices and roadblocks in sustaining and strengthening Canada's Pacific Gateway. Registration for the forum can be found here: https://www.boardoftrade.com/events/individual-events/1545-6399
The BC Ferry Spirit of Vancouver Island has now returned to service after completing its upgrade and liquified natural gas (LNG) conversion in Poland this spring. The vessel is now capable of operating on LNG and will along with her sister vessel, the Spirit of British Columbia, reduce BC Ferries’ CO2 emissions by an estimated 12,500 tonnes per year. The 1993-built ferry services the Vancouver (Tsawwasssen) – Victoria (Swartz Bay) route. BC Ferries now has five ships that operate on cleaner natural gas, two Spirit-class and three Salish-class ferries.
The Saugeen Ojibway Nation is pursuing a landmark ownership claim of a large swath of government land across the entire Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. What is unique in this claim is that the Nation is seeking Aboriginal title over the “water territory” in addition to the land and seabed, as has traditionally been claimed. In addition, compensation of $90 billion is also being sought against the Crown for failing to protect and preserve the territory which consists of four reserves and a population of 1,900.
103 containers shipped from Vancouver to the Philippines over five years ago threaten to destroy diplomatic relations with Canada. The containers were never claimed and were later discovered by the Bureau of Customs to contain household and electronic garbage that is classified as hazardous under the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste and Control Act of 1990. Charges were filed in 2014 against Chronic Plastics and its customs brokers, but no removal order followed. President Rodrigo Duterte warned this week that if Canada doesn’t take back the containers that have been rotting in a port near Manila within the next week, he will “declare war” and ship the containers back himself. Prime Minister Trudeau is being urged to sign the amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries.
There will be a full road closure of the Clark Drive Overpass, Sunday, April 28, 2019 from 9:00am to 10:00pm. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will be conducting concrete deck inspection on the Clark Drive overpass during the closure. it is requested that all drivers adhere to traffic signage and controllers onsite. During this full road closure, please use the following routes:
This week Chamber of Shipping directors, Capt. Oscar Pinto and Capt. Stan Bowles (pictured above with Senators Patterson and Dasko) appeared before the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications in Terrace, BC to provide expert testimony on modern tanker design and safety measures taken to prevent incidents. The Senate Committee is visiting communities in western Canada to gather input on the contentious Oil Tanker Moratorium Act proposed in Bill C-48.
Scientist have found that the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SKRW) population is showing signs of improvement. J-17, one of the few remaining females is showing signs of improved nutrition, showing little sign of peanut head, a condition brought on by malnutrition which she was reported to have as recently as New Year’s Eve. Currently, there are 74 mature SKRW remaining, and one calf born in January.
Dutch shipbuilder Damen has launched two replacement ships for BC Ferries at its Galati shipyard in Romania. Both 81-meter vessels will be capable of carrying up to 300 passengers and 47 vehicles. They will replace two ships that are over five decades old, and service the Northern Gulf Islands. The total project budget, which includes financing and project management costs, is around CAD 86.5 million (USD 64.3 million). The project is partially funded by the Government of Canada. The ferries are currently being fitted out and are expected to be in service in 2020.
Mercedes-Benz Canada has welcomed its first official delivery of vehicles through the newly opened Vehicle Processing Centre (VPC) in Nanaimo. It is the first and only Western Canadian entry point for European automobiles. This new all water approach for importers establishes new cost-effective and environmentally responsible supply chain options for the West Coast of Canada. The processing centre was developed in partnership with Transport Canada, Western Stevedoring, the Auto Division of SSA Marine, and BCVPC.