President Donald Trump on Thursday formally ordered the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to publish proposed tariff increases for a list of products from China before April 7, pursuant to his administration’s investigation of Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, USTR announced. Trump signed off on the trade action shortly before 1:00 p.m. Thursday, which will cover about $50 billion-$60 billion worth of products, senior administration officials have said. In addition to the tariffs, the US also plans to impose new investment restrictions, take action against China at the World Trade Organization and the Treasury Department also will propose additional measures.
North American markets headed lower on Friday afternoon, failing to bounce back from steep losses this week as concerns about the start of a potential trade war and the risk of the U.S. government shutting down put a cap on overall gains.
The BC Government announced on Thursday that it will provide a PST exemption on construction costs of any LNG facility. The PST exemption would be paid back through operating performance payments. The government has also set four conditions for any LNG projects which are: a guaranteed fair return for BC's natural resources, guaranteed jobs for British Columbians, respect and make partners of First Nations and to protect BC's air, land and water. As part of this new framework on LNG, the government will also be setting a cap on carbon tax at $30 dollars, exempting LNG facilities from paying increases in carbon tax that are expected to increase to $50 a tonne by 2021. The LNG Canada project, with an expected $40 billion investment, is expected to make a final decision by the fall of 2018.
In a motion presented by Richard Neufeld, former BC energy minister and Canadian Conservative Party senator, the Canadian Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass a motion calling on PM Trudeau to push the project through and use the full weight and power of his office to ensure the completion of the pipeline. Although not all senators were present when the motion was presented at eight o'clock at night, Neufeld stated that all the senators knew he was going to be speaking to it.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has released a new report, Skills for an Automated Future recognizing the need to prepare for automation, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics to increase Canada's productivity and competitiveness. The report indicates that waiting until after workers lose their jobs to automation and relying on traditional training programs could represent a significant cost to the Canadian economy, between $6 and $18 billion each year. By mapping out core, essential skills, making training programs more flexible and by starting now, Canada can make that amount more manageable.
As part of the latest restructing of state organisations, announced on Wednesday, the China Coast Guard will come under the administration of the People's Armed Police (PAP), a paramilatary force that was itself recently put under the direct command of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Responsibility for the enforcement of maritime law was given to the PAP when the force was put under the sole command of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in January. China's coast guard was set up in 2013, and is responsible for protecting the nation's claims in the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, as well as search and rescue efforts, fighting smugglers and managing fisheries.
The US Coast Guard has circulated a summary of its Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee meetings held March 6-8, 2018. Topics discussed included LNG containment sytems, remote control and monitoring systems for liquefied barges, and response plans for facilities and vessels for hazardous substance spills. On the latter, it was determined that the subcommittee's extensive response plan would be an economic burden and given the low incident rates, the full committee agreed to petition Congress to remove this mandate as part of it regulatory reform. Interesting as Canada has just kicked off its consultation on hazardous and noxious substances.
On March 22 2018, CN and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) announced that the parties have reached a tentative agrement to renew the labour contract for approximately 1,700 CN locomotive engineers in Canada. Details of the agreement are withheld pending ratification, which is expected to take around 60 days. CN transports more that C$ 250 billion worth of goods annually, across a rail network of approximately 20,000 route-miles spanning Canada and mid-America.
The Government of Ontario has accepted Damen's proposal to build two ferries with full electric propulsion. Damen is building a Road Ferry 6819 and a Road Ferry 9819 (68 metres and 98 metres respectively) to operate in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. The vessels will be the first fully electric, non-cable vessels in Canada. It is estimated that electrification of the two ferries one servicing Kingston and Wolfe Island and the other Millhaven and Amherst Island (Loyalist Township) – will reduce emissions by the equivalent of seven million kg carbon dioxide per year.
On February 25, 2018 Capt. Erling Myhrstad passed away peacefully amongst family and friends. He was an active industry member and was involved with several committees under the Chamber of Shipping and the BC Maritime Employers Association through the years until he retired from Star Shipping (Canada) as the Operations Manager in 1992. Capt. Myhrstad joined Star Shipping as Port Captain for Vancouver in 1968 and later worked in the Bergen, Norway and San Francisco offices in various managerial positions before returning to Vancouver in 1978 as the Operations Manager for Squamish Terminals. A private service was held last week.
On Tuesday, March 13th the Chamber of Shipping was honoured by the participation of not only our members and guests, but also the federal Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, who agreed to be our event's keynote speaker. With media in attendance the Minister announced new actions to protect Canada's coasts and waterways which includes new pilot projects for Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative on British Columbia’s North Coast and measures to reduce the underwater noise impacting Southern Resident Killer Whales. The Haida Nation and the Gitga’at Nation with work with federal partners to develop, test and evaluate a new marine awareness information system.
In the AGM official business, the following incumbent directors were re-appointed for a two year term: Richard Chappell of Westwood Shipping Lines, Kim Christensen of ACGI Shipping, George Runyon of Evergreen Shipping Agency, and Oscar Pinto of Valles Steamship Canada Ltd.
Canada’s two major railways have submitted required plans to address the backlog in response to the joint letter sent by both the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Agriculture on March 7th. CN unveiled their strategy on Wednesday, promising to spot 5,000 grain cars by the end of March. The railway has also leased 125 locomotives, with a target of 130. For their part, CP said it “continues to add both crews and locomotives to support volumes across all commodities.” In a letter to both ministers, the railway said it plans to add 100 locomotives through the summer. Another 700 crew members have also been added, in various stages of training.
Wolverine Terminals ULC has submitted and posted a draft Environmental Effects Evaluation (EEE) for the proposed Prince Rupert Marine Fuels Project. Wolverine Terminals is proposing to construct and operate Prince Rupert Marine Fuels, a first-of-its-kind marine fuel delivery service for the Port of Prince Rupert that would enable cargo vessels anchored or berthed in the Port to refuel locally. Currently, the Port of Prince Rupert is one of the only major ports in the world not to offer marine fueling services for cargo ships, a significant competitive disadvantage. The proposed refueling service is subject to an EEE under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). The public comment period ends within the next 30 days. Wolverine Terminals will host an Open House on March 21, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Crest Hotel in Prince Rupert. Wolverine expects a regulatory decision in mid-2018, with construction to begin in early 2019.
Seaspan Corporation has acquired the remaining 89% it did not own of Greater China Intermodal Investments LLC ("GCI") from affiliates of The Carlyle Group ("Carlyle") and the minority owners of GCI. This acquisition solidifies Seaspan’s industry-leading position as the world’s largest independent containership owner operator, and highlights Seaspan’s strength and ability to achieve sustained growth and drive consolidation in the fragmented containership sector. GCI’s fleet of 18 modern containerships is comprised of 10,000 TEU and 14,000 TEU eco-class vessels, representing a total of 204,000 TEU. Of these 18 vessels, there are currently 16 on-the-water vessels with the remaining two newbuild vessels scheduled for delivery during the second quarter of 2018. Seaspan has been involved in the design, construction, delivery and operations of all 18 of GCI’s vessels since inception and all of these vessels are sister ships to Seaspan’s current fleet.
On March 6th, Clear Seas released a new report analyzing how ship routing combined with the location and availability of Emergency Tow Vessels (ETVs) or rescue tugs might affect the probability of a disabled vessel drifting aground along the Pacific coast of Canada. The study was commissioned by Clear Seas and produced by Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC, and is the first of three reports to be presented by Clear Seas as elements of the Marine Transportation Corridors project. The combined results of these studies will aim to provide an enhanced understanding of some of the risks and potential prevention strategies associated with shipping activity on Canada’s Pacific coast. The approach developed for this study can be applied to all of Canada’s coastlines. Download the full report here.
Prince Rupert doctors will be better able to diagnose a range of conditions thanks to a new piece of equipment. With funding from the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment fund and DP World Prince Rupert, the regional hospital is now home to a new diagnostic ultrasound machine.Northern Health says the new machine will ensure that the 4,000 ultrasound patients seen each year on the North Coast can continue to receive services locally. The Port’s Community Investment Fund kicked in over $72,500, DP World provided $25,000, and Northern Health matched the funding required to purchase the diagnostic ultrasound.
This week the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, announced $9.1 million in new science funding to develop and test technologies able to detect the presence of whales. The ability to capture near real-time information could help alert mariners of whales in a particular area, reducing the risk of collisions. He also announced over $3.1 million for four research projects to study the impacts of underwater noise and reduced availability of prey on marine mammals including the Southern Resident Killer Whale.