Friday, 22 February 2019 16:33

Alberta leases 4,400 rail cars to ship crude

549 rail

The Alberta Government is spending $3.7-billion plans to lease 4,400 rails cars to ship Alberta crude. The cars are expected to be in service by July and will ship 120,000 barrels of crude a day. The province has signed contracts with Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway to transport the cars. Crude rail shipments reached record levels last fall largely owing to pipeline constraints, but they have fallen since the beginning of the year. Several large producers have said the current price differential has made shipping by rail uneconomical. CP and CN have both experienced a drop in petroleum shipments by about a third since December.



The Chamber of Shipping and the US- based Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) have issued a statement urging the federal governments to collaborate in protecting the Salish Sea. The marine transportation industry is committed to doing its part in supporting the recovery of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale and protecting the environment and hopes that the two nations  will come together to find joint solutions that further support these efforts. 

548 Vancouver Rail


The Port of Vancouver, Canadian National Railway, and the Canadian federal government signed an agreement on Thursday, to build a second track to move more cargo and increase trade through Vancouver’s harbour. The project involves double-tracking a 4 km section of rail that links expanding import and export terminals on the south shore of the Burrard Inlet to the national rail network. A timeline has not yet been published.



Friday, 15 February 2019 13:34

VFPA increases noise reduction criteria

port of vancouver


As of January 1, 2019, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has expanded the eligibility criteria for its EcoAction Program to include more underwater noise-reducing options and emissions reduction options.  Those ships that qualify will receive discounted harbour dues of up to 47 per cent. The EcoAction Program now accepts quiet ship notations from five different ship classification societies and five propeller technologies, all of which can help reduce underwater noise emissions. 



548 Vancouver Ports


Cargo coming through the Vancouver Ports has increased over the last month, pushing facilities to 85 percent utilization (compared the maximum industry standard of 80 percent). This has caused a doubling of container dwell times at rail facilities, underscoring the need for additional infrastructure to handle future growth. Last week, container dwell times at Deltaport were in excess of seven days, while Centerm’s dwell times averaged three to five days, and Vanterm’s dwell times averaged five to seven days. Main causes of the excessive dwell times include rail service issues, increasing container volumes, and the unprecedented container discharges from mega-ships. 




Following the issuance of a joint notice of dispute on January 25th, the Minister of Labour has now appointed Ms. Kathy M. Peters, Regional Director – Pacific Region, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) as Conciliation Officer to assist the BCMEA and the ILWU Canada in concluding a renewal collective agreement within 60 days (April 13th) unless an extension is mutually agreed upon.  On the 21st day following termination of the conciliation, either party can issue 72 hours strike or lockout notice.



Friday, 15 February 2019 12:08

Whales in our Waters tutorial

539 whales

In advance of World Whale Day tomorrow, Saturday, February 16, the Whales in our Waters tutorial for mariners was launched today. Just as World Whale Day seeks to raise awareness on the continuing need to protect whales, this tutorial was developed for mariners to build awareness of local whale species and best practices to implement when navigating ships in their presence. It was developed by the ECHO Program and BC Ferries, in partnership with Ocean Wise. The media release is available on both the Port of Vancouver and BC Ferries websites and the tutorial itself can be accessed here.



Friday, 08 February 2019 11:41

Passing of Caroline Simister

Caroline Passing 2019


We are sad to advise that Caroline Simister passed away on Wednesday, February 6th after a courageous battle with cancer.  She was the Chamber of Shipping Office Manager from October 2000 to October 2012 when she left suddenly after being given a terminal prognosis.  Her strength and determination certainly helped exceed all expectations. For those of you who remember Caroline, she was instrumental in organizing our events and supporting the Vancouver Grain Exchange secretariat over the years and earned a great deal of respect from many in the industry for her hard work, sense humour, and candid approach to everything.  Our condolences go out to her family.  We have been advised that a celebration of life will be held in a few months time.



547 CP Train Derailment


Three Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. employees are dead after a freight train lost control and plunged about 200 feet off a bridge into the Kicking Horse River between Lake Louise, AB, and Field, BC, early Monday morning. Before the crash, the crew notified the dispatching centre that the train was out of control. The train had three locomotives and 112 cars. Investigators with TSB are investigating the cause of the derailment.



547 marathassa


The cargo ship Marathassa, which spilled 2,700 litres of fuel oil into English Bay in 2015, has been dismissed on all charges. In April 2015, a ring of oil was seen around the hull while it was anchored in the Vancouver bay. Most of the fuel was recovered or dissipated within 48 hours of the spill, however, there was an environmental impact on the shores of English Bay and four migratory birds were smeared with patches of oil. The Marathassa was accused of: discharging a pollutant into the waters; discharging a substance that was harmful to migratory birds; and, failing to implement its shipboard pollution emergency plan by failing to take samples of oil in the water and by failing to assist with the oil containment. The judge concluded that the ship did discharge the pollutant but the incident was caused by two unforeseeable shipbuilder defects in the high-level alarms and a valve on the newly built vessel. Both had been tested on a weekly basis with no concerns arising from the tests. The Marathassa had also implemented its emergency plan by taking samples of oil in the water and helping with containment.



547 Canola

A political dispute between China and Canada over the arrest of a Huawei executive is slowing canola shipments through Chinese ports. Shipments are taking longer to clear Chinese customs and obtain GMO permits needed to import genetically modified crops, including canola. China buys some $2.5 billion of Canadian canola per year, and the delays have caused some importers to hesitate to buy from their biggest supplier. Canola futures prices have stayed firm since the arrest, but brokers say worries about China have caused prices for canola to miss out on a boost in sales of other oils.





547 BC Ferries


BC Ferries is ramping up its service on its northern routes for the Mid Coast Connector, Inside Passage and Haida Gwaii routes for the next three weeks, in preparation for the All Native Basketball Tournament. The tournament is entering its 60th year is a big draw for Indigenous communities across British Columbia. As many team and fans will use the ferry system to travel to and from Prince Rupert ferries are expected to be filled to capacity. The schedule will return to normal on Thursday, February 21.



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