Just weeks after Hurricane Harvey pumped up product tanker rates, Hurricane Irma appears poised to bring impacts, albeit more muted, to the container shipping and project cargo sectors. Hurricane Irma now downgraded to a category 4 storm, is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin. The US National Weather Service says that Irma was expected to bring wind speeds of around 165mph (270km/h) over the weekend as it hits Florida. On Wednesday Hutchison Ports Bahamas issued closure dates and times for the Grand Bahama International Airport, the Freeport Harbour and the Freeport Container Port. Of extreme importance to the general public regarding airplane movements to and from Grand Bahama through the airport is the decision to close that essential island facility at noon on Friday, September 8. The Container Port will suspend full operations as of 3 pm today and Freeport Harbour will shut down until further notice, as of 6 pm today.
The Coast Guard has released Policy Letter 17-05: “Guidelines for Voluntary Compliance with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 to provide guidance to Coast Guard marine inspectors, Authorized Classification Societies (ACS) that are authorized to issue international convention certificates on behalf of the Coast Guard in its capacity as the flag administration, and US flagged vessel owners/operators concerning the requirements Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention. The US is not signatory to the BWM Convention, and the Coast Guard cannot mandate compliance with the BWM Convention’s requirements either for US flagged vessels or for foreign vessels operating on the navigable waters of the United States. In contrast, Parties to the BWM Convention are required to impose BWM Convention requirements on all Party and non-Party vessels when calling on their ports (Article 3, Paragraph 3: “no more favorable treatment clause”). US flagged vessels operating in a Party’s waters should be prepared to demonstrate compliance with the BWM Convention or be at risk for Port State Control actions, including detention.
On Sunday morning, September 3, 2017 DP World Prince Rupert reported an incident which occurred at Fairview Container Terminal. The Port of Prince Rupert, other port partners and relevant response agencies were fully aware of the situation and supported DP World's assessment and response to the incident.
DP World's response was based on safety and emergency response procedures; including, the precaution of evacuating all personnel from the terminal’s container yard and suspending operations until the reported incident could be fully investigated. DP World declared the site safe at 4:30am on Monday, September 4, 2017. There was no inhalation hazard to the community of Prince Rupert nor hazard to the marine environment as related to this incident. DP World resumed normal operations after the Labour day weekend.
August 25th was a triple naming ceremony day at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Korea. Teekay’s newest shuttle tankers, Beothuk Spirit, Norse Spirit and Dorset Spirit, were officially christened and named in honor of the people who first inhabited the area around Newfoundland. Once delivered, the shuttle tankers will be operating at Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose and Hebron offshore oil fields located in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador.
The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a news release stating that it will not be renewing the bunker supplier licenses of Panoil Petroleum Pte Ltd and Universal Energy Pte Ltd after August 31st. Both companies will no longer be allowed to operate as a bunker supplier and bunker craft operator in the Port of Singapore due to non-compliances to bunkering procedures and accreditation scheme.
The Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, has announced the creation of the NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment. A modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) presents an opportunity to strengthen environmental protections. When NAFTA came into effect in 1994, it was the first free-trade agreement to link the environment and trade through a historic side chapter on environmental cooperation between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. In the more-than-three decades since, the close cooperation between these countries has led to positive environmental action across North America while their economies have grown and have become more integrated. During these decades, the world has come to recognize that protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and supporting economic growth go hand in hand.
The ten-member council brings together prominent Canadians from politics, law, and Indigenous groups. This expert council includes former Quebec premier, Pierre-Marc Johnson; former British Columbia premier, Gordon Campbell; former Saskatchewan cabinet minister, Janice MacKinnon; and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President, Natan Obed. The council will advise the Minister as Canada looks to strengthen environmental protections in a modernized NAFTA.
Transport Canada issued a news release stating that it will be investing $175 millions of dollars under the Oceans Protection Plan to protect Canada's Arctic waters. Investments will be made in safety equipment and basic marine infrastructure in northern communities, while low impact shipping corridors will be identified in coastal waters. Investments include:
These new measures will allow Canada’s Northern territories to be better equipped, better regulated, and better prepared to protect their marine environment and coastal communities.
The Port Houston has partly resumed business after category 4 Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas a week ago. The captain of the port for Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston opened the ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston, and Freeport with restrictions.
As of this morning the Barbours Cut Terminal, Bayport Container Terminal and Turning Basin Terminal – resumed operations at 7 a.m., receiving trucks ready to haul cargo from containers being unloaded. But the Houston Ship Channel, the port's waterways that connect the port to the Gulf of Mexico, is still closed. Swift current in the channel continues to restrict vessel movements.
The Port of Corpus Christi is open with the following restrictions (Aug 31):
Earlier this week 22 tankers carrying 15.3 million barrels of crude oil were waiting off of Texas.
Ray-Mont Logistics has launched its new facility in Prince Rupert with an opening ceremony held on August 28th. The facility will help expand export business through the Port of Prince Rupert by loading empty containers with Canadian grains, pulses and cereals. Located on Ridley Island it will be the first facility on the west coast of Canada that can handle a 100 car-unit train in three to four days. Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne also attended the ceremony along with Chief councilor of Metlakatla Harold Leighton.
Tuesday, August 29th - DP World celebrated the completion of the Phase 2 North expansion of Fairview Terminal in Prince Rupert with an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony. The event was attended by more than 1,000 community members, employees, First Nations, customers and supply chain partners, and government. As one of the fatest growing container terminals in North America, by adding a second berth the expansion increases the terminals annual throughput from 850,000 to 1.35 Million TEU annually. The Malacca-max cranes will allow 20,000+ TEU vessels to access the terminal through one of the deepest port harbour terminals in the world. The facility currently supports over 800 jobs, and an additional 200 new jobs are expected to be created as cargo volume grows. High profile attendees included the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, John Helin, Mayor of Lax Kw'alaams, Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor of Metlakatla, and Bruce Ralston, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.
K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) and Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT) celebrated the opening of a state-of-the-art potash handling and storage facility at PCT’s Port Moody terminal on Monday. The facility will be the export outlet for KSPC’s new multibillion dollar Bethune mine in southern Saskatchewan with potash destined for China, Southeast Asia, India, Brazil and other international locations. KSPC, a subsidiary of the K+S Group, an international resources company headquartered in Germany, celebrated the Grand Opening of the mine in May of this year and commenced production the following month. Modifications to the site include a railcar unloading facility; underground and above ground conveyor belts; new transfer towers; and a 263 metre-long storage warehouse with capacity for 160,000 tonnes of product. The facility is able to unload a 18,000-tonne train in just four and a half hours.
BC Ferries has taken delivery of its latest addition to the fleet in Greece on August 30th. The Northern Sea Wolf will provide a new direct service between Port Hardy and Bella Coola starting in the summer of 2018. The name is inspired by a First Nations legend in which the Sea Wolf is a manifestation of the Orca and symbolizes family and loyalty. The spirit of the Sea Wolf protects those travelling their waters. Northern Sea Wolf is a secondhand vessel built in 2000 and is able to accommodate a minimum of 35 vehicles and 150 passengers and crew. The vessel is scheduled to arrive in British Columbia this fall, where it will undergo upgrades.
The Federal Court of Appeal has granted the BC provincial government the right to be an intervenor in a legal battle over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The approval comes with a tight turnaround, and several conditions, including a deadline for the government to file its submission by today, September 1st. As part of the decision, the judge ruled that BC may not introduce any new issues and must pay $7,500 to Trans Mountain which will have to to prepare a late response to the arguments.
This year's Mission to Seafarers cycling event in Vancouver was a great success with nearly 90 riders and several local organizations taking part in this annual fundraiser. The Chair of the Mission to Seafarers Board of Directors, Stephen Brown, says "On behalf of the Board and management team at the Mission to Seafarers, may I offer thanks to everyone involved in making the August 26 Cycling for Seafarers event a resounding success. A very special thanks to the organizing committee, our volunteer helpers, corporate and individual sponsors, our rest station teams and last, but not least, to our many riders."
On August 22nd, the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, with a 14,855 teu capacity, became the first ultra large container vessel (ULVC) to transit the Panama Canal. The vessel is deployed on the new OCEAN Alliance’s weekly South Atlantic Express (SAX) service, which connects Asia and U.S. East Coast ports via the Panama Canal. By transiting through Panama, the vessel saved 29,561 tons of CO2 by bypassing the Cape of Good Hope. For this voyage the vessel will also call the Port of New York and New Jersey, which recently completed a four year, US 1.6 billion project to raise the Bayonne Bridge to 215 ft. in order to accommodate larger ships.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has now released its report on the May 24 2016 collision of two tugs near Gabriola Island. In the 6-8 seconds it took the master of the CT Titan to move from the flying bridge to the wheelhouse the tug veered to port and struck the bow of the Albern on the starboard side, causing the vessel to capsize and sink. The investigation determined that it was the vessel’s tendency to veer to port or to starboard when the steering controls were unattended, as well as the rudders’ misalignment to port, that likely led to the CT Titan veering to port. Following the occurrence the company sent 10 masters and 10 deckhands to attend a situational awareness and bridge resource management training course at a local training institute.
The second week of the Haro Strait Vessel Slowdown Trial (August 14-20, 2017), saw a total vessel participation rate of 68% with 65 of 96 piloted vessels reporting participation through the Haro Strait vessel slow down area. This represents an improvement of almost 10% over last week’s participation rates. In total, agents flagged 73 of 96 transits as potential candidates for participation and 65 of those participated, indicating that pilots were able to successfully carry out agent requests 89% of the time. As with last week, the primary reason recorded for non-participating vessels was a concern of not meeting schedule. Thanks again to all the agents, pilots, masters and owners who made efforts to participate this week. The ECHO Team is extremely encouraged to see the participation rates increase over the first week’s rates and look forward to reporting continued progress on a weekly basis going forward.