Friday, 17 August 2018 14:21

Contaminated bunkers a growing concern

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INTERTANKO has released a Critical Review that shines a spotlight on contaminated marine fuels and the lack of any response by authorities. Since late May 2018 there have been an increased number of reports on serious technical problems and mechanical damages encountered by more than one hundred ships due to contaminated fuel oils. The contaminated fuels were initially supplied in the Houston area. Following this, the same contaminated fuels were supplied in some Caribbean ports such as Panama and then (so far) "exported" and supplied to Singapore and Malaysia. The first warning sign for those ships was blockage of fuel filters. Initially, the crew not being aware that the fuel was contaminated, tried to find the cause of the problems but, despite their efforts, they experienced more and more problems.

Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL) announced late last week that it has launched a new consortium to explore how blockchain could help shipping operators better trace the source and quality of bunker fuels, including details on its environmental impacts. The group will explore how blockchain technologies could help to provide an "efficient, tamper-resistant and auditable chain of custody" for bunker fuels, providing assurances that can help operators meet tightening global regulations governing carbon emission reporting and air pollution. The consortium includes Lloyd's Register, Precious Shipping, Bostomar, BIMCO, International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), and shipping biofuels specialist GoodFuels.

Friday, 17 August 2018 14:19

Maersk and IBM launch blockchain platform

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After launching a proof of concept earlier this year, IBM and Maersk have unveiled TradeLens, the production version of an electronic ledger for tracking global shipments. There are 94 participants piloting the system, including more than 20 port and terminal operators, such as the Halifax Port Authority. The goal is to develop a highly secure system that promotes the sharing of information across the global shipping industry that can reduce costs, improve productivity, increase the speed of the delivery of goods and provide transparency. When information is entered or scanned in manually, TradeLens can track critical data about every shipment in a supply chain, and it offers an immutable record among all parties involved. Customs authorities in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru are also participating recognizing that a blockchain ledger provide a higher-degree of certainty of what is in a container.

Friday, 17 August 2018 14:16

Remote ship surveys a possibility

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Klaveness Ship Management (KSM) has completed the first ever approved remote initial MPMS survey on its caustic bulk vessel MV Ballard in June 2018. The survey preparation and execution was done in close collaboration with DNV GL. The traditional engine room inspection was replaced with a video recorded by the use of GoPro camera, which was shared with the surveyor in advance of the survey. The survey was conducted with the surveyor located in Oslo, sharing screen and communicating with the Chief Engineer, who was onboard in Bahrain. The Chief Engineer presented the PMS, the onboard maintenance routines, and answered all questions to the satisfaction of the surveyor. If parts of, or entire, surveys can be completed while the vessel is at sea, this will ultimately reduce workload and fatigue for the crew, allowing them to focus more of their attention on safe cargo and port operations. Klaveness will continue to work with DNVGL to find other survey elements that can be carried out remotely.

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On Thursday this week, the Honourable Bruce Ralston, BC Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology was on hand to officially welcome the opening of the China Navigation Co. (CNCo) in Vancouver, BC.  With 15 other offices located worldwide, CNCo is a leading provider of sustainable shipping solutions, based in Singapore and held directly by the parent company John Swire & Sons, headquartered in the U.K.  The company has three business divisions:  Swire Bulk (dry bulk shipping), Swire Shipping (multipurpose liner services) and Swire Bulk logistics (marine solution specialists).  The company owns and operates over 130 eco-friendly vessels with one of the highest Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI) rated fleets globally. Swire joined the Chamber of Shipping in April 2018. (Pictured with Minister Ralson on the left is Chris Daniells, CNCo's Commerical Director)

Friday, 10 August 2018 14:10

Consultation on sale of Ridley Terminals

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The Government of Canada announced that in advance of a sale and in the spirit of reconciliation, that it will be engaging with six First Nations in the Prince Rupert area to discuss the potential divestiture of Ridley Terminals. The sale of Ridley Terminals Inc. to a private sector owner will be initiated through a competitive sale process. The Canada Development Investment Corporation, a federal Crown corporation under the purview of the Minister of Finance, has been mandated to manage the sale process on behalf of the Government of Canada. Parties interested in participating in the sale process should contact the Canada Development Investment Corporation for further information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Friday, 10 August 2018 14:07

Atlantic Towing coming to BC

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Following an open and competitive process initiated through the Oceans Protection Plan, Atlantic Towing Limited of Saint John, New Brunswick, has been awarded a three-year contract worth $67M for the lease of two emergency offshore towing vessels that will operate in the waters off the coast of British Columbia. The vessels are capable of towing large commercial ships in distress, such as tankers and container ships, before they get too close to shore. As part of the contract, Atlantic Towing Limited will also provide training in offshore emergency towing to Coast Guard personnel and partners, including Indigenous communities, involved in marine safety.

Friday, 10 August 2018 14:03

Ports transferred to Government of Quebec

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On March 30, 2020 the ports of Matane, Gaspé, Rimouski and Gros-Cacouna will be transferred from Transport Canada to the Government of Quebec under the Port Facility Transfer Program. In addition to the commercial docks, the transfer includes buildings and storage areas, breakwaters at the Matane and Gros-Cacouna ports and a spur pier at the Port of Rimouski.  The Government of Canada will provide $163 million for the four ports, including a $148.8 million grant to the Province to support the future costs of operating and maintaining the ports, the balance representing investments in specific projects and other costs to be incurred by Transport Canada prior to their transfer.

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The US Senate Appropriations Committee has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the possibility of loosening the air quality limits for ships entering the United States over concerns that the IMO’s tougher regulations could harm the cargo shipping industry’s economic competitiveness. The EPA has just launched the study in response and will also look at diesel fuel demands that might impact other transportation sectors, including trucking.  Some have predicted that diesel could be as much as a dollar a gallon more expensive by the end of 2019 or early 2020.  The committee wants EPA to consider an exemption from the ECA restrictions for vessels that have engines that generate less than 32,000 horsepower and operate more than 50 miles from the US coastline. 

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The US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced $4.8M in grants to six Marine Highway projects. The funding, provided by the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Marine Highway program, will help enhance existing marine highways serving ports in Louisiana, Virginia, New York, and Connecticut, and support the development of new container-on-barge services in Kentucky and Rhode Island. The Marine Highway Program supports the expanded use of navigable waterways to relieve landside congestion, provide new transportation options, and generate other public benefits by increasing the efficiency of the surface transportation system. 

Friday, 10 August 2018 11:10

Wilhelmsen dabbling with drone deliveries

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Launching at Singapore port’s Marina South Pier in Q3 2018, Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Airbus will be piloting the delivery of spare parts, documents, water test kits and 3D printed consumables via Airbus’ Skyways unmanned air system (UAS) to vessels at anchorage. With the signing of an MOU at maritime trade show Posidonia, the Maritime UAS project agreement covers a joint ambition to establish a framework for cooperation between the Parties, with the aim of investigating the potential deployment and commercialization of UAS for maritime deliveries use cases.

Friday, 10 August 2018 10:38

Scrubbers gaining attention

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With just seventeen months to go before the sulphur global cap is put into effect on January 1, 2020, companies are running out of time to determine how they plan to comply.  Two compliance options are available to ship owners - install scrubbers to continue using high sulphur marine fuels or pay more for middle distillate fuels like marine gasoil (MGO) and diesel that complies with the new regulation. The IMO anticipates that 3,800 of the worldwide fleet of 60,000 vessels will opt for scrubbers that will range from roughly $1.1 to $5.7 million USD and usually takes between 10-20 days to complete. Some of the drivers for choosing scubbers include availability, uniform ISO8217 quality, and operational stability.  The Refinery Automation Institute has made available a scrubber Return on Investment (ROI) calculator to help shipowners decide the best 2020 compliance option. This will need to be weighed carefully against the middle distillate capacity additions and availability of low sulphur crude blends over the next seventeen months. The ‘wait-and-see’ approach of some ship owners may turn into a stampede for scrubbers if IMO 2020 compliant fuels cannot be sufficiently supplied.

Friday, 10 August 2018 10:31

China seeks input on LNG bunkering

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China's Ministry of Transport is soliciting feedback from oil companies, shipowners' and port associations, and marine authorities for a plan to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine bunker fuel. The Ministry has asked companies and agencies to give feedback by Aug. 20, but gave no further details on the LNG bunkering plan, other than will expediting the planning and siting of key berths for LNG tankers in the Bohai Bay area of northern China, as well as along its main rivers. China has so far tested using LNG as a bunker fuel only on about a dozen vessels running along the Yangtze River.  China has 19 completed LNG bunkering stations, but only three are currently operational.

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