The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference which represents over 3,000 CP Rail conductors and engineers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, with about 365 signal and communications workers, gave the railroad 72-hour notice of strike action on Wednesday. Workers may be on the picket lines as early as 00:01hrs on April 21st but contract talks are still underway with a federal mediator. With the clock ticking down, CP is executing a "safe and structured shutdown" of its Canadian rail network tonight. The Labour Minister has issued a statement advising that the situation will be closely monitored from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The Chamber of Shipping has sent the attached letter to the Ministers of Labour and Transport urging the federal government to act swiftly to minimize any disruption. (UPDATE April 20 @ 17:00 PT - CP Rail has advised that the strike has been averted - no disruption will occur on April 21st)
The Port of Prince Rupert, DP World Prince Rupert and CN welcome a new weekly marine carrier service at the Fairview Container Terminal. Yang Ming and its partners in THE Alliance, Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express, have added Prince Rupert as the first North American port of call on the amended PS8 trans-Pacific service this spring. Originating in the ports of Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai and Busan, the new service makes its inaugural call at the Port of Prince Rupert on Saturday, April 21 with the arrival of the 6,500 TEU capacity vessel, the YM Masculinity.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority led ECHO Program has been selected as a finalist for the Environment Award category of the Lloyd’s List America Awards. This award honours the institution, company or individual that has done the most to reduce the pollution of the marine environment in the Americas from maritime sources. The Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program included a voluntary slow down trial of commercial vessels through Haro Strait to study the relationship between slower vessel speeds, underwater noise levels and effects on southern resident killer whales was the first of its kind. Final results from the research will be released soon.
Pinnacle Renewable Holdings Inc. has entered into a long-term contract to supply Ube Industries Ltd. of Japan with 70,000 tonnes annually of industrial wood pellets beginning in late 2019. There are more than 10 new biomass projects currently in late-stage development in Japan. According to Hawkins Wright, a leading provider of market intelligence and analytical services to the international pulp, paper and biomass industries, the Japanese market represented three per cent of global demand for industrial wood pellets in 2016, and Wright forecasts an increase to approximately 10 per cent of global demand in 2021, and 17 per cent in 2026.
Canadian shipping company Desgagnés has christened and launched the Mia Desgagnés, the world's first polar-class dual-fuel oil/chemical tanker. The ice class vessel can be powered by heavy fuel oil, marine diesel oil or LNG and represents an investment of over $50 million. Last May, the company named the first dual-fuel asphalt-bitument-chemical tanker Damia Desgagnés. Mia is a short form of Damia, and was chosen because originally the Mia was to be an asphalt-bitumen twin of the Damia Desgagnés, and means "drop of seawater" in Hebrew. With a deadweight capacity of nearly 15,000 tons and tanks with a capacity exceeding 17,000 m³, the Mia Desgagnés is suitable for transporting refined petroleum products or chemicals. The Québec Government made a $700,000 contribution to the project.
At the evening gala for the 38th edition of Les Mercuriades competition, Montreal Port Authority President and Chief Executive Officer, Sylvie Vachon, was honoured with the Sun Life Financial Outstanding Woman in Leadership Award. This Mercure recognizes the exceptional career of a businesswoman who has shown daring, impact and leadership throughout her career, while extending the reach of her business sector. Congratulations to Ms. Vachon for receiving this prestigious award.
The Government of Canada is investing $94.3 million over five years to make Arctic re-supply operations faster, safer, and more efficient for remote communities. Transport Canada is now accepting proposals from the governments of Nunavut and Northwest Territories for projects that provide safety equipment and basic marine infrastructure in Northern Communities, including on-the-ground equipment and infrastructure, along with training and maintenance programs.
The United States exported 97.0 million short tons (MMst) of coal in 2017, a 61% (36.7 MMst) increase from the 2016 level. Exports to Asia more than doubled from 15.7 MMst in 2016 to 32.8 MMst in 2017, although Europe continues to be the largest recipient of US coal exports, accounting for 45% of total US metallurgical exports in 2017. Steam coal, which is used to generate electricity, accounted for most of the increase in 2017 coal exports. India, South Korea, and Japan were three of the top five recipients of US steam coal exports in 2017. India, the largest importer of steam coal from the United States, imported 7.6 MMst of steam coal from the United States in 2017—nearly three times as much as in 2016—mainly to fuel growing electricity capacity in the country.
This week the US Senate blocked legislation that environmentalists and opponents argue would weaken water pollution standards. Senators voted 56-42, depriving the legislation of the 60 votes it needed to move forward. The bill included a version of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), which would have exempted ships’ ballast water from the Clean Water Act under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and stop most states’ attempts to regulate ballast water. The US Coast Guard would have assumed all responsibilities for managing ballast water, thereby streamlining and standardizing treatment requirements between the multiple jurisdictions.
Last month the Panama Canal set a new milestone with its 3,000 Neopanamax transit with the transit of the MSC Caterina and just yesterday the Canal saw for the first time three LNG tankers crossing in one day. The three ships - Gaslog Hong Kong, Gaslog Gibraltar and Clean Ocean - made the transit within a 24 hour period and underscore how the LNG trade has surged worldwide. As of March 2018 the Canal has locked 134 LNG transits. Currently, the Panama Canal offers one of the seven Neopanamax reservation slots available per day to LNG shippers specifically, which currently average five transits per week. However, during periods of high seasonal demand, the waterway has transited two vessels in one day on 14 separate occasions. The Panama Canal Authority suggests that LNG volumes traversing the Canal could hit 30 million tonnes a year before the end of 2020.
Holt Logistics has become the first independent port operator in the north-eastern US to conduct a pilot based on the blockchain application developed by Maersk and IBM. The solution is designed to provide transparency and promote the sharing of information, which in turn can reduce costs, improve productivity and speed the delivery of goods shipped around the world. The focus is the development of a highly secure digital ledger system using IBM Blockchain technology that will allow users of the network to transparently share information and updates about cargo as it moves around the world. The technology can reduce the need for multiple records that currently are produced at each point in the shipping chain. The new technology can to save as much as 20 percent of the cost of shipping transactions when the system is fully developed.
CMA CGM SA has agreed to buy a 25% equity stake in global logistics operator Ceva Logistics in an effort to expand its reach in international supply chains beyond port-to-port transportation. Rodolphe Saade, chairman and CEO, said on Twitter today: “Together, the two companies will also explore possible cooperations, allowing us to propose an ever more differentiated and qualitative offering while integrating services beyond maritime transport.” The agreement is subject to the completion of the Ceva IPO and to approvals from various regulatory authorities.
Microsoft has partnered with JRCS, a Japanese supplier of maritime systems to test the use of its HoloLens and artificial intelligence capabilities to train merchant shipping and marine industry personnel including seafarers and land-based supervisors around the world, expanding the reach of its training programmes currently offered at its Shimonoseki headquarters. JRCS is also exploring with Microsoft Japan the use of the internet of things and AI to enable a “digital captain” to control multiple vessels from land. These digital captains, when ready in 2030, will be able use HoloLens to share 3D charts with other digital captains in remote locations and check sea routes, weather, submarine topography and other information, while also leveraging AI so as to ensure ship safety and enable accurate and efficient maritime transport.
Marine terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach have agreed to restructure the 13-year old PierPass extended-gate program, slashing the traffic mitigation fee by 55 percent to $31.52 per TEU ($63.04 per FEU) and including mandatory appointments to spread truck flow out over the day and night gates. Port users have expressed a desire for changes to increase flexibility and reduce the bunching up of trucks that often occurs before the start of the nighttime OffPeak shifts. Subject to regulatory approval by the Federal Maritime Commission, the revised OffPeak program is expected to begin in August.
Delays in North Chinese ports of Shanghai and Ningbo are expected to continue for another few weeks as a blanket of dense fog has hit the region causing carriers difficulties in adhering to schedules. Port operations at both Wai Gao Qiao and Yangshan terminals in Shanghai are gradually resuming. However, the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration has advised that it may take two to three weeks for operations to return to normal in Shanghai. Customers can expect delays to their shipments on the vessels affected.
The US Port State Control Annual Report for 2017 provides results of 9,105 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) exams resulting in 91 detentions and 6 International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) control actions. The annual detention rate of 0.99% is the lowest ever for the US Coast Guard. Detentions found that improvements were needed on fire fighting and fire protection systems. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) inspections saw deficiencies in safety management systems which now include ballast water management. The Austalian Maritime Safety Authority has also released its AMSA Port State Control Report for 2017 showing a similar decline in the detention rate. And if you're still reading, the US Office of Port and Facility Compliance (CG-FAC) has also published its 2017 Year in Review.
The US Coast Guard has released Marine Safety Information Bulletin 03-18, Oily Mixtures (“Oily Bilge Water”) Management for Oceangoing Vessels of less than 400 Gross Tons, to provide guidance to the industry, mariners, and the general public, on compliance options for oily bilge water management for oceangoing vessels less than 400 gross tons.