The Port of Nanaimo and DP World have finalized a 50-year lease agreement for the Duke Point Terminal. The new agreement will provide a long-term port-to-port solution for short-sea shipping between Nanaimo and Vancouver, as well as expand direct access from Nanaimo to global import/export markets via direct calls to Asia. The signed agreement is an important first step in the planned terminal expansion, currently estimated at $105 million. The project includes an extension of the existing berth from 182 metres to 325 metres and the construction of a new truck gate, warehouse and administration and maintenance building. The existing diesel quay crane will be replaced with two 16 container-wide electric quay cranes. The terminal’s container yard storage area will be increased, creating an overall terminal operational capacity of 280,000 TEUs. The project is funded by a mix of public and private investment, including a $46.2 million federal contribution through the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) and a $15 million provincial contribution as a part of B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan.
The International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) is demanding that Transport Canada puts formal safety management systems in place for undersized tugs and undermanned fleets along the BC coast and rivers. This follows the tragic incident of the tug Ingenika that capsized south of Kitimat on Feb. 11, resulting in two fatalities. The union is also requesting regulations for vessels under 15 gross-tons with sufficient oversight, including manpower and an enforcement budget, be established to ensure that operators follow any new regulations and procedures governing hours of work, risk assessment, training, communications and towing arrangements.
Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) has raised concerns the Port of Vancouver's conflict as both a regulator and operator. The WGEA is urging the federal government to update the Canada Marine Act that governs port authorities to ensure that the port runs efficiently while keeping costs in check. Among the WGEA asks are an adequate appeal and independent dispute resolution process. The WGEA’s members are Canada’s biggest grain companies who handle more than 90 per cent of the nation’s bulk grain exports.
The Office of the Auditor General of Canada has published its report on the National Shipbuilding Strategy and has concluded that the Strategy has been slow to deliver ships to meet Canada’s domestic and international obligations. National Defence and the Canadian Coast Guard have put in place measures to maintain operational capabilities until new ships are delivered, but these interim capabilities are limited and cannot be extended indefinitely. The impact of the delays and construction costs have been significant and media has reported that some vessels have seen a tenfold increase over original costs. Public Services and Procurement Canada has responded to the Auditor General's report noting key improvements have been made to place the Strategy on a more viable path.
Transport Canada and United States Department of Transportation have issued a joint statement that recognizes that the transportation sector constitutes one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions for both nations. In light of the integrated nature of the countries' transportation networks, both are committed to reinvigorate bilateral cooperation to fight climate change and limit the environmental impacts from transportation networks on land, air and sea. They plan to work together to accelerate policy actions that help our transport sectors grapple effectively with the climate challenge.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, has launched the Net-Zero Advisory Body to help deliver on the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act that enshrines Canada's goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 into law. Initial work by the independent group of 14 experts from across the country will include a focus on identifying actions that set a strong foundation for achieving net-zero emissions while also growing the economy and enabling a strong and resilient economic recovery following the pandemic.
New details have been released on the United States’ first Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV), which is seen as critical to developing the nation’s offshore wind industry. The newbuild vessel is currently under construction at the Keppel AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville. The 472-foot vessel is designed by GustoMSC to handle turbines of 12 megawatt or greater. It will also be capable of the installation of foundations for turbines and other heavy lifts. Dominion Energy is in the process of developing the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, a 2,600 megawatt commercial offshore wind farm that is set to become the largest in the United States. Part of the project includes a 12MW pilot project, 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, that is expected to become the first in US federal waters.
Maersk Tankers and Cargill have formed a strategic partnership to combine their bunker volume. While the initial goal is to procure bunker fuel for Cargill and Maersk Tankers’ combined fleet of over 900 vessels representing annual bunker volumes of 3.5 million tons, the partnership will offer a new bunker procurement service to tramp shipping companies and trading houses. Launching April 1st, the increased scale and combined approach will give access to better prices and services, leveraging relationships with key suppliers in the world’s busiest bunkering hubs to ensure optimal service and bunker premiums.
A unique cargo ship set sail this week from France. Called Grain de Sail, the company is combining the production and sale of chocolates with the operation of an ecological cargo ship, primarily driven by sail power. The 72-foot long aluminum hull cargo ship set sail on November 18 from St Malmo on the Brittany Coast of France bound for New York. Using a schooner-type rigging and with a crew of four, the vessel has a capacity of up to 50 tons of cargo. They can load 28 pallets into the refrigerated hold cooled with green energy. Loaded on board for this first sailing the sailing ship is 14,000 bottles of French organic wine. The wine will be delivered to a distributor in New York. After off-loading the wine in the United States, they will sail to South America where they will load cocoa and coffee for the return voyage to France.