United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) is the first US company to be given government approval by the Federal Aviation Administration to run a drone airline. UPS plans to expand deliveries on hospital campuses and eventually other industries. Its subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward, has operated more than 1,000 flights at Wake Forest University’s medical centre in Raleigh, North Carolina. The designation removes limits on the size of the company’s potential drone operation. Flight Forward can fly an unlimited number of drones, and fly drones at night installing the necessary colored warning lights on each drone.
Earlier this year a new national marine sanctuary was established about 40 miles south of Washington, DC to protect the remains of more than 100 abandoned steamships and vessels (referred to as the “Ghost Fleet”) built as part of America’s engagement in World War I. Although the ships never saw action during the war, their construction at more than 40 shipyards in 17 states reflected the massive national wartime effort that drove the expansion and economic development of waterfront communities and maritime service industries. The oldest ships sank there in the 1700s; the most recent ones are from the 20th century. Their skeletal remains rise up in the air, looking like spirits rising out of the Potomac River. It is said to be the first sanctuary to protect not only sea creatures, but also partially covered shipwrecks.
As part of ongoing work to expand regional collaboration on clean energy innovation, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and BC Premier John Horgan announced a joint Clean Grid Initiative and Clean Grid Summit to be held in 2020. The Clean Grid Initiative will include forming an intergovernmental working group to share challenges and best practices and develop a clean grid action plan for the region. To inform the development of the plan, the working group will convene experts from government, industry and research institutions, and solicit input from stakeholders, tribes and First Nations, and other regional partners.
BIMCO has submitted a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to regulate propulsion power of ships in order to sustain the GHG savings already achieved through slower steaming. While it remains a fact that ships’ speed is the single most important variable influencing their CO2 emissions, there are different views as to which regulatory measure is best when it comes to enforcement and achieving the objective of curbing emissions. It has been concluded that limiting ships’ propulsion power can be controlled accurately and at the same time, it has a close correlation to speed. Setting a limit for ships’ power has already been suggested by Japan. BIMCO recommends the power limit should be derived for each shipping sector from an assumed performance of an average ship sailing at current average trading speed within each sector. The proposal will be introduced at the Intersessional meeting of the working group on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships at the IMO in London on 11-15 October. Maersk is said to be already backing the proposal.
Geopolitics are pushing VLCC spot rates towards $100,000 a day, as charterers work around the clock to snap up tonnage in a red hot market. The attacks on Saudi oil installations last month, combined with US sanctions on Cosco’s tankers 11 days later have sent the supertanker sector soaring with spot rates for some routes now in excess of $70,000 a day and a number of analysts pointing out that six-figure sums are on the horizon, backed up by news from tanker derivatives desks in London and Singapore reporting exceptionally brisk trading this week deep into Q4.
Pinger locators have finally found where the Nur Allya sank six weeks ago. After an extraordinary search over thousands of square kilometres, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Commission has located the Gurita Lintas Samudra-owned ship in the Halmahera Sea, north of Buru Island in the Maluku area that sits in the heart of the Indonesian archipelago. The ship’s last contact with its owner was on August 20, after which a giant search and rescue operation got underway. The vessel was carrying nickel ore when it sank with 25 crew onboard, a cargo prone to dangerous liquefacation. None of the crew have been found. Since the incident, Intercargo urged all shipping companies to exercise “extreme caution” when accepting, for carriage, nickel ore and other cargoes that have the potential to liquefy.
Goods volumes are expected to reach 29 million tons in course of 2019, says leader of Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR) Administration. The lion’s share of NSR ship traffic is related to the liquified natural gas produced by Novatek. The company’s Yamal LNG is expected to produce more than 16 million tons in 2019. The number of ships operating on the Northern Sea Route remains low with a total of 743 vessels requested sailing permission year to date. Only a limited number of these vessels carry goods, the official NSR list of vessels shows that almost half are tugs and support and service vessels, most of which are involved in oil and gas-related activities.
Hanoi says Beijing’s survey and coastguard vessels are widening their activities in disputed, energy-rich waters. Vietnam accused a Chinese oil-surveying vessel and coastguard escorts of territorial violations after entering the country’s exclusive economic zone and operating within offshore blocks for three months. The region contains unexploited hydrocarbons that the US says could be worth US$2.5 trillion. Vietnam has become increasingly isolated in its efforts to push back against China, which is nearing a deal with the Philippines for joint energy exploration in a contested area of the sea and just set up one-on-one talks with Malaysia to settle disputes in the waters.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) today announced that MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. have jointly obtained "Approval In Principle (AIP)" from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) for the design of a hard sail system. The system converts wind energy to propulsive force with telescopic hard sail, and is a fundamental technology of the "Wind Challenger Project" that MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding are spearheading to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by using wind energy. It is estimated that emissions will be reduced by 5% on a Japan-Australia voyage, and about 8% on Japan-North America West Coast voyage. The long-term goal is to develop a widely accepted solution to achieve the IMO target in combination with other measures to reduce GHGs by equipping vessels with multiple sails.
Melius Energy has successfully transported the first container of bitumen from Edmonton to Prince Rupert via CN Rail and with its safe delivery, the company has plans to grow its export market overseas. Melius is establishing relationships with refineries in Asia and is working to provide a long-term, stable supply of BitCrude™ for the products such as asphalt and low-sulphur diesel. BitCrude™ is transported as a semi-solid, and is a non-dangerous good and non-flammable for transportation purposes. It floats in both fresh and saltwater and is non-toxic to marine life. The BitCrude™ process uses a state-of-the-art electrically powered diluent recovery unit (DRU), avoiding further fossil fuel combustion and requires no chemicals, additives or diluent, creating both a safer product, and a facility with a reduced green house gas footprint. The DRUs are modular, stackable and scalable; all to reduce environmental impact and improve efficiencies. “BitCrude™ partnered with Melius Energy to commercialize and market the product.
TransLink’s newest seabus, the Burrard Chinook has arrived but unfortunately is not ready for service. The catamaran built by Damen Shipyards sits too low in the water compared to the rest of the fleet. The catamaran will need to have its dual hulls increased in size as the weight came in heavier than anticipated thanks to a larger onboard air conditioning system and an advanced emissions control system that puts the Chinook’s emissions at about 75 per cent lower than the Burrard Otter II. The modifications are expected to be completed by the end of the summer 2020.
The cargo ship MV Sun Sea is set to be demolished in Nanaimo, a process that is estimated to take three months. The ship was intercepted by the Canadian Navy in 2010, carrying 492 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Canada. Canadian Maritime Engineering was awarded a $4.1-million contract to convert the vessel to scrap metal at Nanaimo Shipyard.
BCIT Marine Campus is hosting an open house on Friday, October 18 for potential students to explore how BCIT prepares mariners to navigate some of the largest ships or operate their sophisticated engine rooms. The open house will include bridge and navigation simulators, an engineering simulator, life raft and sea survival demonstrations, and more. Find more information here: https://www.bcit.ca/ppl/marineday/
With volumes down by almost 30 percent at some of the six largest West Coast ports, the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma have sent a joint letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to pursue fair and mutually beneficial trade agreements. The organizations have shared concerns that the long-term impacts of the escalating trade conflict between China and the United States will create irredeemable economic harm to employers, workers, residents and international partnerships along the West Coast and throughout the entire country. The letter also highlights the latest impacts related to back-and-forth tariffs between the United States and China.
Mediterranean Shipping Co. has regained privileges via the United States trusted trader program after a temporary suspension stemming from the June 17 seizure of 20 tons of cocaine from a vessel at the Port of Philadelphia. After the largest US drug bust took place on board on the MSC’s ships, US Customs and Border Protection placed a 90-day suspension from C-TPAT which ended on Sept. 16. MSC vessels have been involved in three other drug-related incidents this year.
CMA CGM has dropped a proposed detention/demurrage processing fee for US ports only 48 hours after telling customers about the charge, that was planned for October 15. The original customer advisory stated the carrier would “assess an administrative fee of US $50 for each per diem/daily usage charge for the later return of equipment beginning Oct. 15. The charge was dropped after significant pushback was received from beneficial cargo owners (BCOs). The FMC is engaged in an interpretive rule-making procedure regarding demurrage and detention under the Shipping Act. Separate from the CMA CGM issue, the FMC on Friday announced it had extended the public comment period to Oct. 31.
The Port of Long Beach is instituting an incentive program which seeks to attract more containerized cargo. This announcement comes a year after the Port of Los Angeles launched a similar program. The one-year program will go into effect on Oct. 1. Container carriers will be given a payment of $10 per TEU for additional cargo that moves through the port over and above the cargo they handled the prior year and over and above the general growth in the trans-Pacific trade. The program applies to both loaded import and export containers, but payouts are capped at $2 million per carrier.