Following recent mudslides and flooding that occurred early last week and after some amazing collaboration by the federal and provincial government and railways, both CP and CN eastbound and westbound trains resumed restricted operations on CP’s mainline between Vancouver and Kamloops. CN anticipates the opening of their mainline late tonight, barring ongoing issues with water diversion. Travel on reopened highways remains slow and limited to essential travel and goods, and detours through US are all taking extra time and consequently adding to the delivery costs. Intermittent road and railway closures will continue to enable access and repairs to affected sites. Repairs continue on the TransMountain pipeline to enable a safe return to operations at a reduced capacity mid next week. There is a significant increase in precipitation anticipated across southwestern BC over the weekend and into next weekend, and crews are working around the clock to rebuild and shore up infrastructure at every opportunity. BC’s state of emergency remains in effect.
The Mexican Federal Economic Competition Commission and the Mexican Federal Telecommunications Institute have given regulatory approval of the proposed merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern. Industry observers will now be turning their eyes onto US regulators, with the Surface Transportation Board just giving its approval of CP’s and KCS’ merger application. The board will accept testimonies from stakeholders through the first half of 2022, with a possible public hearing and final briefs occurring sometime after July 1. The board would issue its final decision 90 days after the evidentiary record closes. CP anticipates STB’s review to be completed sometime in the fourth quarter of 2022.
November has been seafarer vaccination month in Nanaimo. Foreign seafarers calling Port of Nanaimo have obtained Covid-19 vaccinations at berth and at anchor over the last few weeks. Island Health in partnership with Nanaimo Port Authority (NPA) is offering vaccines (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) within the port authority's jurisdiction. The initiative is free of cost to the ships calling the port of Nanaimo and is in line with the port's mission to support the vaccination initiative to protect marine workers. With the positive and appreciative comments received, NPA intends to continue supporting the seafarer vaccination program for the foreseeable future in collaboration with Island Health and Chamber of Shipping.
The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, and the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced that the Government of Canada is contributing up to $4.1 million to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority under the National Trade Corridors Fund to provide relief in the aftermath of the floods in British Columbia. The initiative, led by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, will help ease supply chain constraints and bottlenecks in the Lower Mainland. It will address current supply chain disruptions, which have created delays and service challenges at the port’s container facilities, by delivering additional container storage capacity, through the preparation of an undeveloped 40-acre parcel land within the Fraser Richmond Industrial Lands for the handling and storage of empty containers. Work to prepare the site for storage services and contract an operator will occur over the coming weeks. The site is expected to be used until service levels return to pre-flood conditions.
On October 4, 2021, Canada Border Services Agency’s Pacific Region Intelligence Section, with assistance from the Agency’s National Targeting Centre, identified a container of interest and referred it for examination. Using a wide range of detection tools and technology, and upon physical inspection, CBSA noted discrepancies in the packaging and the substance within the bags. The marine container, imported from Kenya, was declared to contain bags of tea leaves but was found to contain 125 bags (2,061kg) of Khat , a stimulant drug derived from a shrub and indigenous to East Africa and Southern Arabia. Khat is considered by the World Health Organization as an addictive drug of abuse.
The US Coast Guard is conducting a Pacific Coast Port Access Route Study (PAC-PARS). The PAC-PARS will consider whether existing or additional routing measures are necessary to improve navigation safety due to factors such as planned or potential offshore development, current port capabilities and planned improvements, increased vessel traffic, existing and potential anchorage areas, changing vessel traffic patterns, effects of weather, or navigational difficulty. Mariners are encouraged to participate in this study by submitting comments and input to the Federal Register. To submit your comment online, go to https://www.regulations.gov, and insert Federal Register docket number “USCG-2021-0345” in the “search box”. Click “Search” and then click “Comment Now”. Comments and material must be received on or before Jan. 25, 2022.
US Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has named the second vessel of interest in its investigation into the anchor-dragging incident that occurred in close proximity to a subsea pipeline, which was subsequently discovered to be the source of the Orange County oil spill on October 2, 2021. The USCG has determined that the MV Beijing was involved in a January 25, 2021, anchor-dragging incident during a heavy weather event that impacted the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. As a result, V.Ships Greece Ltd., the operator of the vessel, and Capetanissa Maritime Corporation of Liberia, the owner of the vessel, are named as parties in interest to the marine casualty investigation. The first vessel of interest named was the MV MSC Danit, operated by the MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, S.A. The investigation is ongoing and multiple pipeline scenarios and additional vessels of interest continue to be investigated.
A new Dutch foldable container technology will be tested in Chicago in January 2022 that could demonstrate how to reduce empty container handling moves at ports for trucking and rail while reducing the need for empty container storage at container terminals and on ships. The demonstration include the unloading of four import containers and folding the units, using a forklift machine, into the space of a single 40-foot unit container, loaded onto a truck, trucked to a rail yard in the Chicago area, loaded onto a rail car, as a single 40-foot unit, and shipped by rail to either Seattle or Vancouver for transport by ocean carrier back to Shanghai. The expected cost of the 4FOLD will be higher than for standard forty-foot containers but the savings in container handling moves plus the projected increase in cargo-handling velocity could not come at a more opportune time. The estimated savings is up to 200 million tons of CO2 emissions and $25 billion US per year in transport costs.
Nov 29 - National CMAC Navigation and Operations @ 0800
Nov 30 - National CMAC Marine Security @ 0800
Dec 1 - National CMAC Environmental Standing Committee @ 0800 Dec 1 - COS/BCMTOA Joint Meeting on Active Vessel Traffic Management @ 1200 Dec 3 - Vancouver Grain Exchange Annual General Meeting @ 1100
On November 18th the Yara Birkeland, an 80m long battery-electric container ship, took its first and only trip to Oslo before it is put into regular operation in Norway. We featured this vessel as our Ship of the Week when it was in it conceptual phase, so we are pleased to see that she had now completed here maiden voyage. This project not only electrifies the transport of containers, but is focused on achieving full autonomous operation over a two-year test period. This includes an automatic mooring systems and loading/unloading equipment. Commercial operation will start in 2022. The vessel is expected to replace 40,000 diesel-powered truck trips every year. The project was financially supported by Enova, a Norwegian government enterprise responsible for the promotion of renewable energy, which allocated some 133.5 million NOK (US$15.2 million).
Batteries: 7 MWh
Propulsion: Azipull pods 2 x 900 kW and Tunnel thrusters 2 x 700 kW
Capacity: Cargo capacity 120 TEU (120 20-foot containers)
Deadweight: 3200 mt
LOA: 80 m (length)
Beam: 15 m
Depth: 12 m
Draught: (full): 6.3 m
Eco speed 6-7 knots and Max speed 13 knots