COS Weekly News - Friday, 15 December 2023

COS Weekly News - Friday, 15 December 2023

‍‍COS Weekly News - Friday, 15 December 2023

‍In the news...

‍Local News

Canadian shippers concerned with potential Montreal port strike

Contract negotiations between longshore workers and maritime employers at the Port of Montreal have stalled, and a 21-day "cooling off" period has begun, potentially leading to a strike on 4th of January 2024. Shippers are concerned about disruptions and are urging the Canadian government to intervene to prevent further issues following the Port of Vancouver's strike earlier in the year. The Montreal Port Authority has already seen a 12% decline in container volume in 2023 compared to the previous year. Some industry representatives are calling for a legal definition of port operations as "essential services," while the union argues that advance notice of a strike (72 hours) allows ships to find alternative ports.

VFPA names acting VP of Supply Chain Operations and acting Harbour Master

Following the promotion of Peter Xotta as the President and CEO, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) has appointed Capt. Shri Madiwal as its new Acting Vice President of Operations and Supply Chain. Sean Baxter assumes the Acting Director of Marine Operations & Harbour Master position vacated by Capt. Madiwal.  Both have been working actively with industry stakeholders in the development and implementation of the Port of Vancouver's Active Vessel Traffic Management program.

Port of Nanaimo awards transportation feasibility research project to Deloitte

The Port of Nanaimo and the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance have announced that Deloitte has been awarded the Vancouver Island-South Coast Integrated Transportation System research project. This development signifies a significant milestone in efforts to assess how the Port of Nanaimo's expansion potential can enhance supply chain capacity and resilience in Vancouver Island and the Pacific Gateways. This feasibility study aims to improve food and goods security, enhance efficiency, and benefit the broader supply chain network in Canada. They appreciate the support of partners like the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA), Island Coastal Economic Trust, the Province of British Columbia, and the National Trade Corridor Fund (NTCF). Stay tuned for updates as they explore expanding Duke Point's capabilities to meet growing demands.

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence seaway infrastructure investments exceed $8 billion

A binational coalition of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence maritime organizations has released a report detailing infrastructure investments in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system. The report covers a five-year look-back period from 2018 to 2022 and a five-year look-forward period from 2023 to 2027. Key findings include $636 million invested in vessel construction and enhancements in the last five years, $2.1 billion in port and terminal infrastructure investments, and $3 billion in navigation infrastructure investments. The survey aims to provide insights into the economic benefits of Great Lakes Seaway shipping to the region and the nation.

Thunder Bay sees surge in cargo volumes and potash exports

The Port of Thunder Bay announced excellent cargo results for fall, with total volumes reaching 8.1 million tonnes by the end of November, up from 6.8 million tonnes the previous year. This increase is highlighted by a surge in potash exports, with nearly half of the 1.5 million tonnes shipped in the last three months, and October 2023 marking a 22% increase over any month in the past two years. Keefer Terminal also saw record-breaking activity, with cargo volumes including diverse items like steel, wind turbine blades, and phosphate fertilizer, surpassing the 5-year average by threefold. Additionally, grain shipments soared to over 6 million metric tonnes, a 20% increase from 2022.

Container traffic decline at Prince Rupert causing Longshore workers to stress

The Port of Prince Rupert in Canada is grappling with a 33% decrease in container traffic, leading to financial challenges for union and non-union port workers. The slowdown at the port is affecting the entire community, causing financial strain due to the lack of work and high inflation. While some workers have found second jobs, there are concerns that workers may leave the area if the situation does not improve. The port is hoping for diversification of work and potential growth in the coming year.

Province of BC looking at curtailing raw logs export

The province of British Columbia in Canada plans to reduce the export of raw logs by requiring certain types of lumber from the Interior region to undergo manufacturing first. The changes to lumber regulations will require mills to fully manufacture lumber from cedar and cypress trees, producing various wood products like wood veneer, mouldings, shingles, siding, flooring, and fencing. The new regulations are set to take effect in February, and an exemption must be obtained to export wood products that do not meet the specifications, with a fee-in-lieu of manufacturing paid to the province. This move aims to increase the value of wood products and create more job opportunities in the province's forestry sector.

False Creek oily sheen source still remains unknown

An oily sheen has been observed in False Creek in Vancouver, Canada, and despite efforts by the Canadian Coast Guard, the source of the spill remains unknown. The sheen was first noticed more than a week ago during heavy rains. While containment efforts have been ongoing, the source of the spill has yet to be determined. The Coast Guard has stated that the substance is not considered a safety concern for boaters and residents in the area.

Port Montreal awards MSC with Symbolic Key recognizing 25 years in Canada

The Montreal Port Authority has awarded Mediterranean Shipping Company Canada (MSC Canada) a symbolic silver key to recognize its 25 years of operation in Canada. The key was presented to MSC Canada's President and CEO, Sokat Shaikh, at the company's Montreal headquarters. MSC Canada began its operations in Canada on July 31, 1998, and has since grown significantly. The company has invested in the construction of the Viau Terminal, increasing the Port of Montreal's handling capacity. MSC Canada currently operates five shipping services connecting Montreal to ports in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and Northern Europe.

‍Government News

Minister Rodriguez announces expansion of Marine Training Program as part of OPP

Canada's Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, has announced the expansion of the Marine Training Program to the Western Arctic Marine Training Consortium (WAMTC) in Hay River, Northwest Territories. WAMTC will launch its inaugural program in January, offering local residents the skills and qualifications to gain meaningful employment in the marine industry. The Marine Training Program has been successful in reducing barriers and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in the marine sector, with 1,117 students having graduated from various training courses to date. This expansion is part of Canada's Oceans Protection Plan (OPP), which aims to protect and preserve the country's oceans and waterways while supporting economic growth and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and coastal communities.

CBSA kicks off Assessment and Revenue Management program

The CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) digital initiative is bringing significant changes to how CBSA handles the assessment and collection of duties and taxes for commercial goods imported into Canada. To prepare for the upcoming changes, importers and other participants in the trade chain must register and adjust their systems and operational procedures before May 2024. Taking proactive steps to align with CARM now is crucial to avoid potential disruptions and delays in the future. Importers should prioritize business registration and the appointment of a business account manager within the CARM system. Customs brokers should assist their clients in the registration process and may require new software to adapt to the changes. Trade consultants, financial security providers, and other trade chain partners should also familiarize themselves with the necessary steps to initiate their involvement with CARM.

‍US News

USCG issues Shipboard crane wire-rope hazard safety alert

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has issued a marine safety alert highlighting the hazards associated with shipboard crane wire ropes following an incident where a wire rope parted during the offloading of a 69-ton wind turbine nacelle. The incident resulted in significant vessel damage and a total loss of cargo, although no personnel casualties were reported. The investigation revealed that corrosion, wear, and monotonic ductile overload were the main factors contributing to the wire rope failure. The alert emphasizes the importance of implementing robust inspection and testing protocols for shipboard crane wire ropes to ensure safe operation.

Carbon capture project on containership to be piloted by Crowley

Crowley and onboard carbon capture and storage startup Carbon Ridge Inc. are partnering with the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) for an advanced pilot project aimed at reducing emissions from shipping. The project will involve the installation, measurement, and optimization of Carbon Ridge's carbon capture technology on the Crowley containership Storm, serving the US and the Caribbean Basin. The pilot system will be housed in two 40-foot containers on the vessel's main deck, with an additional 20-foot ISO-certified tank for storing captured liquid CO2. The project aims to capture one tonne of carbon per day from the ship's main engine.

‍International News

Recent attacks put Suez Canal transits in jeopardy

Maersk has said it is pausing all trips through the Red Sea following a spate of attacks on vessels launched from a part of Yemen controlled by the Houthis - an Iran-backed rebel movement. There was a near-miss incident involving Maersk Gibraltar yesterday and yet another attack on a container vessel today. The area of concern is the Bab al-Mandab strait - also known as the Gate of Tears - is a channel 20 miles (32km) wide, and known for being perilous to navigate. It sits between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea on the African coast. Other vessels are likely to follow suit which could have a significant impact on Suez Canal traffic, and global supply chains overall.  About 17,000 ships and 10% of global trade pass through the Suez Canal every year. Any ship passing through Suez to or from the Indian Ocean travel this route.

Panama Canal Authority to increase daily transits starting January 2024

The Panama Canal has announced that it will increase the number of daily transits to 24 starting in January 2024, up from the current 22 vessels per day. This decision is in response to the challenges posed by low water levels in Gatun Lake, caused by drought induced by the El Niño phenomenon. October 2023 was the driest October on record for the Canal Watershed. While previous plans had called for a reduction in transits to as low as 18 per day in February, the positive outcomes of water-saving measures and better-than-expected November rainfall have led to this adjustment, which will allow most vessels to have a better chance of obtaining reservations. These measures will remain in effect until conditions warrant changes.

COSCO to retrofit container vessels to run on methanol

COSCO Heavy Industry Shanghai will retrofit four main engines on COSCO Line's 13,800 TEU Camellia-class and 20,000 TEU Virgo-class vessels to run on methanol, under a contract with MAN Energy Solutions. The ships will be the first in COSCO's fleet to use methanol. The retrofitting is part of the shipping company's decarbonization efforts, and the deal includes an option for the methanol retrofitting of an additional nine vessels. The S90-LGIM engines are expected to start retrofit in Q2 2025. More than 300 vessels around the world currently have S90 engines.

Maritime Carbon Solutions launches emission estimator

Maritime Carbon Solutions (MCS), a collaboration between maritime software firm OrbitMI and Swiss maritime services provider Ifchor Galbraiths, has introduced an emissions estimator tool. The tool calculates CO2 emissions for over 15,000 voyages and computes the Emissions Trading System (ETS) cost, as well as the International Maritime Organization's Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) score. With the EU ETS set to begin in January 2024, voyage expenses are expected to rise. Shipowners will need to allocate EU Allowances (EUAs) or carbon credits to cover their annual emissions under the ETS, initially covering 40% of emissions, increasing to 70% in 2025, and reaching 100% in 2026. The tool enables users to create a voyage route, inputting origin and destination ports, canal transit times, and port activities to calculate metrics such as CO2 emissions and exposure to the EU ETS.

‍Upcoming Events

‍Dec. 25 - Christmas Day - Office Closed

Dec. 26 - Boxing Day - Office Closed 

Jan. 1 - New Year's Day - Office Closed
Jan. 9 - ISSC Board of Directors Meeting

Jan. 10 - COS Board of Directors Meeting
Jan. 23/24 - Salish Sea Strategy Symposium


‍Ship of the Week

15 December - HaiSea Kermode

The Haisea Kermode, a powerful LNG duel-fuel tugboat designed for harbour and escort services in an environmentally sensitive region, can run on either diesel or liquefied natural gas (LNG) and complies with IMO Tier III emissions standards thanks to its diesel exhaust after-treatment system. Based on the RAstar 4000 DF design from Robert Allan Ltd., the tugboat boasts a bollard pull of over 100 tonnes. The tug is 40.2 m in length, with a 16 m beam and maximum draft of 7.1 m, and can generate indirect escort forces of approximately 200 tonnes when coupled with its sister tug, the Haisea Warrior. This LNG-powered vessel is part of a series intended for LNG Canada's new export facility in Kitimat, British Columbia, contributing to emissions reduction in the marine industry.

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