Natural Resources Canada and the US Department of Energy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) focussed on achieving shared goals of greater energy security and environmental responsibility. This five year agreement will allow both countries to cooperate and share knowledge on technology, research, training, and best practices. Under proposed regulations issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states must reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in their power sectors and will have a variety of means to achieve that reduction, which is primarily aimed at coal-fired power plants. Canadian utilities are gearing up to sell power from low-emission sources such as hydro, wind and nuclear. Both sides are interested in increasing the use of natural gas in the transportation system and developing an efficient and clean cross-border system.
The National Research Council has announced a program aimed at finding economical and viable business based technology to improve safety and performance of marine vessels. Building on its work under the Marine Vehicles program, the program will focus on technologies and processes for reducing operating costs of vessels, contributing to safe Arctic and offshore oil and gas operations. The end result is to support a sustainable and competitive shipbuilding industry in Canada for military vessels, marine commercial transportation, and offshore resource industries.
Examples of work that will be conducted within the program by NRC will include advanced controls for systems like auto-pilot and roll stabilizers, improved vessel performance monitoring and analysis systems, the development of Arctic station-keeping technology and training simulators, advanced controls for unmanned marine vehicles, and conceptual and preliminary design tools for ice-class and inshore vessels.
Vale SA has achieved a breakthrough in the company’s relations with China that may finally overcome the two year ban on its Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOC) from Chinese ports. The company is to transfer ownership and lease back four VLOC’s to COSCO for 25 years and in the longer term also take on long term charter 10 Capesizes that COSCO is yet to build. Vale’s inability to dock its ships at Chinese ports has frustrated the company’s attempts to reduce freight costs and compete with Australian rivals. Chinese ship owners have long opposed access to Vale’s VLOC’s resulting in the development of expensive transshipment centers in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Note that high risk period continues in most ports in the United States. This week in Journal of Commerce, it was reported that Customs and Border Protection agents in Los Angeles have quarantined 15 ships detected with Asian Gypsy Moth. This is a record season with three month left to go in the AGM high risk period in Southern California.
Earlier this week Port Metro Vancouver unveiled new patrol vessels and other operations and security assets that will help maintain the safe, secure, efficient and reliable movement of marine traffic and cargo within Port Metro Vancouver’s jurisdiction. These assets include two new harbour patrol boats, built by Campbell River's Daigle Weldingine, a refurbished patrol boat, and a new incident response and response vehicle with tactical equipment. Also announced was the completion of the updates to its harbour operations manual, now referred to as the Port Information Guide. More details..
CMA CGM, China Shipping Container Lines and United Arab Shipping Co have unveiled a new alliance to be known as Ocean Three. The alliance is intended to cover east-west trades including five weekly transpacific loops, plus one Asia-US east coast string via the Suez Canal and one service dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico with further expansion planned in due course. With an estimated 13% market share of the transpacific trades and a 20% s in the Asia-Europe trades the new alliance is not expecting undue regulatory hurdles.The three lines will deploy 129 ships between them initially and the plan is for the Alliance to get up and running by the end of this year.
Meanwhile Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co have sent senior representatives to Washington to meet with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) today amidst concerns that the proposed 2M vessel-sharing agreement is meeting opposition. Two FMC commissioners have recently voiced reservations about the agreement and warned that the FMC is likely to stop the clock on the 45day review in order to gather more information.
The EU also this week gave its blessing to the merger of Hapag Lloyd and CSAV.
The House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation convened a hearing today this week to review the status of the US Merchant Marine. The Subcommittee hear that that the American maritime industry, supported by the Jones Act, is strong, vibrant, and growing with the movement of crude, refined petroleum products, and chemicals and has seen dramatic growth as a result of the shale oil revolution which is driving record levels of new vessel construction orders and deliveries in American shipyards. The Committee also heard that in 2012, US shipbuilders delivered 1,260 vessels worth more than $20 billion in revenue, according to a recent study and over the past year, US shipyards have entered into hundreds of contracts for new vessels, including the construction of state-of-the-art oil tankers and the world’s first LNG-powered containership that the White House recently recognized as critical to the future of maritime transportation.
A Marine Accident Report released this week by the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board has determined that the loss of 517 containers and damage to 250 more on the 8,160 TEU Svendborg Maersk in the Bay of Biscay in February this year was primarily due the heavy rolling in severe weather. The vessel was on passage from Rotterdam to the Suez Canal at the time. At one point the vessel is recorded to have rolled up to 41 degrees to port which almost inevitably caused a major loss of containers overboard. Following the incident, the vessel tok refuge to restow her remaining deck containers in Malaga, Spain. The company is working with the French government in an effort to recover the missing containers. The Bay of Biscay is renowned by mariners as being a particularly nasty and unpredictable stretch of water in a storm.
The Indian government is to allow one of the Italian marines facing murder charges for the 2012 accidental shooting of two Indian fisherman believed to be pirates to return to Italy for urgent medical treatment. Marine Massimiliano Lattore, 47, (above left) suffered a mild stroke in August. Under international pressure, India had dropped a plan to prosecute the marines under a new anti-piracy law whilst Italy maintains that the incident occurred in international waters and that jurisdiction over the marines should lie with Rome. In April 2012, Rome paid $190,000 to each of the victims’ families as compensation and in return, the families dropped their cases against the marines but the state’s case has not been dropped.
Following a decision by the federal government announced last year to find a replacement for the 43 year old Princess of Arcadia which was purpose-built for the Bay of Fundy ferry service linking St. John NB with Digby, Nova Scotia, purchase of the Greek island ferry Blue Star Ithaki (above) is believed to be under negotiation. A price tag of about $42m is remoured to have been accepted by the current owners but final terms are still under discussion. The vessel has capacity for 1,317 passengers, 245 vehicles and has an operating speed of 24 knots.
Following our message last week on the formation of the new Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition, further details on the Canadian-European Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) provisions for maritime services have been released. The agreement makes concessions on:
In a press release the Seafarers International Union of Canada argues that “the agreement will allow EU beneficially owned Flag of Convenience (FOC) vessels and so-called European National Flag to trade freely between Canadian ports without any restrictions on origin of the crew, or level of wage and working conditions. What we can be sure about is that this agreement will completely halt the Canadian maritime transport sector's growth. Moreover, the communities and regions that depend on this industry will be destroyed. Once this agreement is in place, it will not take long before the rest of the Canadian transportation sectors are affected, including, air, road and rail”.
CN opened its new employee training centre in Winnipeg this week. The 100,000-square-foot facility hosts can 350 CN students from across Canada every week, with hands-on training for all key railway jobs inlcuding courses for jobs ranging from conductor to car mechanic, and from track supervisor to signal maintainer. Employees will receive hands-on training in indoor learning laboratories with equipment such as locomotive simulators and dispatcher stations. Outdoor labs with dedicated rolling stock and other equipment for field training will also be a key focus.
Just weeks after announcing plans to continue the search for two British explorer ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, the Prime Minister has revealed that one of the two ships has been found. Further analysis is needed to determine which one of two ships that vanished in the Arctic more than 160 years ago it is. Sir John Franklin led the two ships and 129 men in 1845 to chart the North West Passage in the Canadian Arctic. Expedition sonar images from the waters of Victoria Strait, just off King William Island, clearly show the wreckage of a ship on the ocean floor.The find was been described as "the biggest archaeological discovery the world has seen since the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb almost 100 years ago" by British archaeologist, William Battersby, who has written extensively about the Franklin expedition. The government began searching for Franklin's ships in 2008 as part of a strategy to assert Canada's sovereignty over the Northwest Passage.
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) negotiations committee, which represents some 1,700 CN railway workers, met with management of the rail carrier on October 28 to propose a negotiating process, in order to reach an agreement that does not include a work stoppage or service interruption. The proposal requires both parties to pay predetermined amounts to charities, instead of imposing a lockout or a strike, until an agreement is reached. While the current contract only expires on January 1, 2015 it was reported that normal negotiations are continuing smoothly.
This year’s event is taking place on Saturday September 13 – rain or shine. Rev. Nick Parker has changed this year's route and instead of the daunting "widow maker" up to Belcarra Park, riders will start their 40k or 100k route in Vancouver and finish in North Vancouver. The Mission is still seeking the participation of a few more riders so without further delay please sign up to participate or sponsor the riders at http://www.flyingangel.ca/
The Chamber is again organizing the World Maritime Day fund raiser banquet in aid of the Mission to Seafarers. This year’s event will take place on September 24 at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. In response to public demand, our MC will be Capt. Kevin Obermeyer, President and CEO of the Pacific Pilotage Authority and our guest speaker will be the well known maritime historian and mainstay of the Canadian Lifeboat Institute, Mr. John Horton. A few tables are still remaining – please join us for this important annual occasion for the marine industry – details attached.
Haisla First Nation has this week filed an application for three separate export licences with the National Energy Board for Floating LNG export projects on its traditional lands in coastal waters near Kitimat, north of Bish Cove. The Haisla is working with various companies in pursuit of these Floating LNG projects including Golar LNG of Norway and U.S. LNG project and process technology company Black & Veatch. The licence applications with the NEB are in the names of Cedar 1 LNG Export Ltd., Cedar 2 LNG Export Ltd., and Cedar 3 LNG Export Ltd., all listed as subsidiaries of Cedar LNG Export Development Ltd., an LNG development company owned by the Haisla Nation.