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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Western Canada Marine Response Corp.has signed a 25-year lease for land and water in Nanaimo to serve as its main Vancouver Island base. The WCMRC inked the deal with the Port of Nanaimo for 130,000 square feet, made up of land and water lots on Nanaimo Harbour. The Nanaimo base will have 35 full-time response personnel and 15 response vessels. The bases are required by the National Energy Board as a condition of approving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Nanaimo will be headquarters on the Island with bases in Sidney, Becher Bay and Port Alberni, as well as an offshore supply vessel based at Ogden Point.
Through its PSA Canada Holdings Ltd. subsidiary, PSA International Pte Ltd. (PSA), has signed an investment agreement with Ashcroft Terminal to take a 60% stake in Ashcroft’s business in Western Canada. Ashcroft Terminal is a privately owned 320-acre inland trans-load and storage terminal 340 kilometres east of Vancouver and 90 kilometres west of Kamloops. Ashcroft, which was been in operation since 1997, is the only inland port in Canada that has both Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (TSX:CP) and Canadian National Railway Co. (TSX:CNR) mainlines running through it. PSA is a major global port player. It’s involved with 40 terminals in 16 countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. The Ashcroft acquisition is PSA’s first foray into Canada.
The Board of Directors of Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd. has appointed Claus Thornberg as President following the retirement of Jim Belshiem. Claus is an international business leader with extensive experience in shipping and energy sectors. He joins Neptune after several years with Cenovus Energy in Calgary, where he had leadership responsibility for commercial operations, marine and land transportation. Originally from Denmark, he previously held senior executive roles with both the Clipper Group and Nordic Tankers Group. He is a Master Marine and has also had a long seagoing career as a navigational officer and ship’s captain.
Canada Border Services Agency has issued Customs Notice 18-12 Coasting Trade Vessels Leaving Canadian Waters. At present, the policy is to cancel a coasting trade licence when a temporarily imported vessel leaves Canadian waters and goes international, irrespective of the authorized dates the licence was issued for. Effective immediately a coasting trade licence will no longer be cancelled by the CBSA when a vessel leaves Canadian waters, unless the vessel has completed the activity for which the licence was issued or if the authorized dates indicated on the licence have passed. A new coasting trade licence is not required providing the dates on the existing coasting trade licence remain valid.
Six Canadian innovators will lead roundtable discussions with Canadians on digital and data innovation From early August to mid-September, innovative experts will host roundtable discussions in cities across Canada with business, academia, civil society and others. Target cities for roundtables include Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax, St. John’s, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit. All Canadians are invited to participate in the National Digital and Data Consultations online.