October 14, 2019
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
The Honourable Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Leader of the People’s Party of Canada
Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Québécois
An Open Letter from the Chamber of Shipping to the Leaders of Canada’s Federal Political Parties
Dear Party Leaders:
Our members, who are the marine transportation companies responsible for delivering Canada’s international trade, are urging political leaders to consider the development of a holistic and cohesive Canadian marine transportation strategy. Commercial shipping results in $30 billion of economic activity annually in Canada and moves more than $200 billion worth of goods to and from global markets.
Canada’s effort to protect its coastal waters is admirable and ambitious, and largely delivered through the Oceans Protection Plan. Notwithstanding, this effort has resulted in diverting limited Federal Government resources away from essential trade development and marine transportation policy initiatives.
Commercial marine shipping in Canada remains negatively impacted by an overly complex regulatory and administrative framework managed by multiple federal departments and agencies with competing jurisdictional controls. This burdensome approach to administering the marine supply chain negatively affects Canada’s competitiveness globally, especially in comparison to ports in the United States. A recent report by the World Economic Forum confirmed Canada’s decreasing competitiveness in the global marketplace.
If Canada is to be serious about growing international trade and moving Canadian goods and products globally while addressing climate change, it needs to significantly increase its focus and resources on addressing the efficiency and productivity of Canada’s Supply Chain. This should include:
- Eliminating the multiple and inconsistent marine safety frameworks for evaluating and mitigating risk from commercial marine shipping – marine carriers need a consistent and predictable operating environment;
- Increasing funding and the allocation of departmental resources to collect and disseminate supply chain data, and assess, benchmark, and resolve inefficiencies in Canadian ports;
- Increasing resources and technical expertise to better evaluate and develop appropriate environmental regulations necessary to address climate change while balancing the requirements of trade and competitiveness; and
- Eliminating the duplication of reporting and establishing a single window for reporting marine conveyance data.
Canada is poised to increase its market access but the absence of a strategic vision that is coordinated between federal departments results in the loss of productivity, creates inefficiencies and adds to the regulatory burdens within the marine transportation system. Failing to optimize the use of the supply chain constrains trade growth and is contrary to Canada’s climate change targets. Protecting Canada’s incredible coasts must include building marine transportation corridors that maximize safety, environmental standards, and efficiency.
Robert Lewis-Manning, OMM, CD, MBA
Chamber of Shipping