Friday, 30 June 2017 10:18

CTA 2016-17 Annual Report

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The Canadian Transportation Agency has released its 2016-2017 Annual Report and a historical overview of the Agency At the Heart of Transportation: A Moving History. In its Annual Report, the Agency assesses the operation of the Canada Transportation Act and any difficulties encountered in administering it. This year, the Agency identified six specific areas that need to be considered to help it deliver its responsibilities effectively and efficiently.  Noted in the report are matters the Agency has limited or no ability to address, and this includes rent charged by ports to their tenants.  At the Heart of Transportation: A Moving History describes the integral role the Agency has played over 113 years in helping to foster a competitive, efficient, accessible national transportation system, as that system and Canadian society as a whole have evolved.

Friday, 23 June 2017 13:49

Day of the Seafarer - June 25th

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Sunday, June 25th officially marks the International Maritime Organization's Day of the Seafarer.  The day was established in a resolution adopted by the 2010 Diplomatic Conference in Manila to adopt the revised STCW Convention. Its stated purpose is to recognize the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole. This year theme is #SeafarersMatter.

Locally there are a few events happening to recognize the Day of the Seafarer.  Prince Rupert Port Authority staff members will climb Mt. Hayes on June 24th in recognition of Day of the Seafarer and the International Sailors' Society Canada's (ISSC) Peak Challenge in North Vancouver later in the week and will host seafarers at the Prince Rupert Seafarers Centre over the weekend.  The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, together with the Lighthouse Ministeries is hosting a complimentary lunch for the crew of the Grand Princess while in port on June 25th. The ISSC's Peak Challenge for Day of the Seafarer will happen on June 29th.  16 teams are participating in this inaugural event from Pacific Basin Shipping, Bernard LLP, BC Maritime Employers Association, SAAM SMIT, Tymac Launch, Pacific Pilotage Authority, Paladin Technologies, Fraser Surrey Docks and the Chamber of Shipping.

Friday, 23 June 2017 13:44

New Seaspan Ferries terminal opens

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Seaspan Ferries officially opened its new $44-million ferry freight terminal at Nanaimo's Duke Point on Monday.  The new terminal will streamline a major cargo route between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island and operate 24 hours a day to keep up with volume of cargo the company ships.  The location will keep commercial traffic out of downtown Nanaimo and make mid-island operations more efficient. The new LNG fuelled ferries and terminal are part of Seaspan's 250 million dollar project to modernize its terminals and fleet. Seaspan says it supplies more than 50% of all cargo to Vancouver Island through its seven ferry fleet.

Friday, 23 June 2017 13:41

Salish Eagle now in service

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BC Ferries welcomed its second Salish Class vessel, Salish Eagle, into service this week. The Salish Eagle, which operates on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route, is the second of three new Salish Class vessels that are dual-fuel and capable of operating on either natural gas or ultra-low sulphur marine diesel. BC Ferries’ use of natural gas for these vessels will result in the reduction of an estimated 9,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, the same as taking approximately 1,900 passenger vehicles off the road annually. 

Friday, 23 June 2017 13:37

CN allocates $500M to technology

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Canadian National Railway says it will spend $500 million over the next five years on technology to improve its safety, efficiency and competitive edge, partly in response to the potential threat posed by driverless trucks.  It plans to spend $28 million this year to acquire additional monitoring equipment for the early detection of train defects that would allow it to intervene before problems arise.  

CN has already implemented some new technologies such as Readiband to monitor and record employee fatigue and alertness and a process called CanaPux to ship heavy crude from the Alberta oilsands to Asia. The process turns the bitumen into semi-solid pucks that can be more safely loaded and transported. The pucks float, don’t dissolve in water or burn.  CN is also spending $1.2 billion by 2020 to implement Positive Train Control across its network as mandated by the US government. The system uses wireless communications, GPS and onboard computers to alert conductors about track and speed changes while maintaining a safe separation between trains to avoid collisions.

Friday, 23 June 2017 13:31

Cowichan Bay derelicts removed

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A handful of local businesses took matters into their own hands and are sharing the cost of removing six derelict boats that posed a risk to the environment and public safety in Cowichan Bay.  The cost of taking out the old boats is estimated to be between about $40,000 to $50,000 and will be shared between Western Forest Products, Western Stevedoring, and Pacific Industrial & Marine.  Due to the water being too shallow around two of the wrecks and not wanting to damage the estuary, a helicopter was hired to airlift them out Wednesday afternoon.  To see the news coverage with videos of the operation, visit: Global News.

Friday, 23 June 2017 13:25

Westshore donates van to Mission

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Westshore Terminals quietly made donated a huge donation to the Mission to Seafarers earlier this year.  Above is a picture of Chaplain Ernst DeVries with seafarers at the Robert's Bank seafarers centre along with the mini-van generously purchased for the Mission to Seafarers by Westshore Terminals to provide a transportation service to seafarers and also assist the Mission in caring for all seafarers.

Friday, 23 June 2017 13:23

CBSA Single Window Initiative

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The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has advised that two legacy release service options for goods regulated by three federal departments will be decommissioned as of April 1, 2018, namely: EDI OGD PARS SO 463 and EDI OGD RMD SO 471.   As an incentive for clients to use the SWI, as of June 1, 2017, the CBSA will prioritize the processing of transactions submitted through the SWI over these other release options.  An important note is that service providers that have signed the Service Provider Agreement with the CBSA will be able to on-board their client base without further testing, once they have successfully completed the testing process with three of their clients.

In addition, the CBSA conducted a comprehensive review of the Integrated Import Declaration (IID) test package with a focus on simplifying the certification process. The results of this review led to an updated certification package for the IID with an emphasis on simplifying the testing process. The updated package, which is now available, offers clients an opportunity to efficiently certify with the IID in a timely manner.    CBSA clients are strongly encouraged to submit their applications well before April 1, 2018 to avoid a backlog in processing and testing.  For information about the registration and certification process, please contact the CBSA’s Technical Commercial Client Unit by e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The CBSA is planning webinars in early September to assist importers, customs brokers and service providers in developing their systems.  The workshops will provide attendees with a better understanding of the Single Window Initiative Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document (ECCRD) and the Document Image Functionality requirements. Participants should be familiar with the SWI ECCRD, Version 4.0 and the Participants Requirements Document – Document Image Functionality, Version 1.4.  To request electronic copies of the documents, please contact the Technical Commercial Client Unit (TCCU) via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further information on the SWI can be found on the CBSA website Single Window Initiative which includes the rationale for the data elements required by the participating departments and agencies.

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In a tragic and disturbing collision last weekend, seven US sailors died when the 2,858-teu capacity ACX Crystal container ship collided with the US navy destroyer, USS Fitzgerald outside of Tokyo Bay at approximately 0130 hrs on Saturday morning.  Most of the 200 crew members were asleep at the time and the collision inflicted significant damage to the destroyer below the waterline, flooding berths, a machinery area and the radio room. Among the compartments that flooded were cabins where 116 sailors were sleeping.  The damage to the destroyer suggests that the ACX Crystal might have slammed into it at a high speed, raising questions about communication between the two vessels in an area where as many as 400 ships pass through every day, according to Japan's coast guard.  The ACX Crystal may have been on autopilot as the AIS track lines indicate that the ship automatically righted its course and increase speed to readjust the change in course the collision had made.  However, the USS Fitzgerald, under international maritime rules, would be expected to give the ACX Crystal the right of way because it was on the destroyer’s starboard side when they hit. 

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In an initiative to cut air pollution and protect whales in the Santa Barbara Channel region, the Vessel Speed Reduction (VSR) voluntary incentive program will for the first time be extended to include the San Francisco Bay Area. The 2017 Program will start July 1 and continue until November 15. This week the partners began enrolling ships in the program, and will continue to sign up ships through June 30.

In the 2016 VSR program in the Santa Barbara Channel region, slowing 50 ship transits to 12 knots or under, saw a reduction of more than 25 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and more than 1,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Ten global shipping companies participated in the 2016 Program: CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hamburg Sud, Hapag Lloyd, Holland, K Line, Maersk, MOL, NYK Line, and Yang Ming. In 2016, more than 90 percent of the companies contacted by the program indicated interest in also participating in a Bay Area program in the future.  For 2017, the incentive program will have a maximum possible incentive of $2,500 for transits that slow to 10 knots in both regions in a single trip. More than $185,000 in funding is planned to incentivize slow-speed transits for 2017, with the potential to more than double the number of slow-speed transits over 2016.

Closer to home, the voluntary VSR for the Haro Strait will run between August 7 - October 6th and vessels, representing approximately 900 transits, will be requested to reduce their speed to 11 knots in an effort to better understand vessel generated underwater noise impacts on marine mammals..  

Friday, 23 June 2017 12:27

FMC approves OCEMA and NY-NJ talks

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A tie vote yesterday at the Federal Maritime Commission will not prevent the Port of New York & New Jersey/OCEMA Discussion Agreement from going into effect this Sunday, June 25, 2017. The agreement authorizes the Port Authority and OCEMA to collect and exchange information, discuss, and reach agreements on matters relating to cargo throughput, safety, intermodal equipment supply and efficiencies, congestion relief, port and terminal infrastructure, financing of improvements, and clean air or other environmental initiatives affecting operations in and around the Port of New York and New Jersey.  The agreement also opens the door on discussions on a per-container Cargo Facility Charge, similar to the Port of Vancouver's Gateway Infrastructure Fee (GIF), that raises millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements in the port.   As with the GIF, carriers have for years opposed infrastructrure fees that cannot be passed on to customers and forces the carriers to pay for services they may not use. This will be an interesting discussion to watch for all container carriers.

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The proposed joint venture of the Ocean Network Express (ONE) felt a second blow as the South African Competition Commission (SACC) rejected the proposed merger between Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL).  The decision was based on concerns of potential collusion between the lines, as the three lines' whose car-carrying business were once found to be part of a price-fixing cartel in South Africa.  Earlier the US Federal Maritime Commission decided it did not have jurisdiction to approve a joint venture as it was operational in nature. The rejection by the SACC throws a wrench in the lines' plans to begin the joint venture July 1, 2017 as to fully operate, the regulators in each major trade route must approve the deal.  

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