COS Weekly News - Friday, 19 January 2024

COS Weekly News - Friday, 19 January 2024

‍‍COS Weekly News - Friday, 19 January 2024

In the news...

‍Local News

Conciliation Officers appointed in ILWU 514 Negotiations

The BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) has advised that the Minister of Labour has appointed three Conciliation Officers - Peter Simpson, Susan Fisher, and Karlene Bateman - following the Notice of Dispute it filed on January 10th.  The Officers will assist the BCMEA and the ILWU Local 514 Ship and Dock Foremen in reaching a negotiated agreement to replace the one that expired on March 31, 2023.  The conciliation period expires on March 19, 2024 and may be extended another 60 days if there is mutual consent by both Parties.

Prince Rupert releases 2023 cargo statistics

The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) announced that 23.5 million tonnes of cargo moved through the Port of Prince Rupert in 2023, five percent less than volumes in 2022.   This marks a third consecutive year of volume decline and reflects challenges of shifting global shipping routes, soft demand for imports, and competition with other North American trade gateways for discretionary cargo. Fairview Container Terminal saw 32 percent decrease in volumes while AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal saw a 13 percent increase over 2022. Trigon Pacific Terminals also saw a strong year, moving 8.8 million tonnes of dry bulk product through its terminal, including 5.4 million tonnes of metallurgical coal. Shipments of that product saw a 51 percent jump over 2022.

Pacific Coast Terminals completes Glycol expansion project

Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT) and MEGlobal Canada ULC have successfully completed a $20.4 million expansion project, significantly enhancing their capacity for handling Monoethylene Glycol (MEG). The upgrade includes 10 new advanced unloading racks, improving the offloading and export processes of MEG, a key commodity used in various products like clothing, eco-friendly bottles, and antifreeze. The project also introduced two modern unloading tracks, boosting the annual glycol handling capacity from 800,000 metric tonnes to 1.25 million metric tonnes. This expansion not only increases PCT's glycol capacity but also enhances the efficiency of railcar traffic.

New $135 million sugar refinery planned for Hamilton

Sucro Can Sourcing LLC is set to build Canada's largest sugar refinery at the Port of Hamilton, Ontario, with a projected annual capacity of 1 million metric tonnes with an investment of CAD $135 million. This initiative addresses the growing sugar demand in North America and aims to boost refining capacity, particularly in Ontario. The strategic location at HOPA Ports was chosen for its logistical advantages and proximity to Ontario's significant food and beverage sector. The project is supported by local authorities and is expected to enhance supply chains and economic growth in the region.

BC Ferries orders four new hybrid-electric Island Class ferries

Damen Shipyards Group has been selected to build four new hybrid electric Island Class vessels for BC Ferries, enhancing capacity and passenger experience. These vessels, adding to BC Ferries' standardized fleet, will improve flexibility and efficiency across routes. The ships, capable of carrying 47 vehicles and up to 390 passengers and crew, align with BC Ferries' Clean Futures Plan for environmentally responsible operations. They will operate exclusively on battery-electric power from renewable sources. Damen, which previously built six Island Class ferries for BC Ferries, will construct the new vessels in Romania. The ferries, expected by 2027, will serve routes between Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island, and Campbell River and Quadra Island. BC Ferries is also planning electrical upgrades at the terminals for rapid charging in line with the delivery schedule.

CN's subsidiary CNTL and Unifor reach tentative agreement

CN, a leading railway company, has announced that its subsidiary CNTL, specializing in first and last-mile trucking container pickup and deliveries, has reached a tentative four-year agreement with Unifor-affiliated owner-operators. This agreement, effective until December 31, 2027, will cover approximately 750 owner-operators contracted with CNTL in Canada. CN expressed satisfaction with the agreement and appreciation for the Union's efforts during the negotiation process. They believe the deal benefits the owner-operators and supports business needs, ensuring the continuation of vital first and last mile services.

Port of Argentia, NL receives investments for expansion from provincial and federal governments

The Port of Argentia in Newfoundland and Labrador is set to expand with a $15.1M investment from the provincial government and an additional $38 million from the federal government. This funding is part of a larger $60 million initiative to diversify and grow the region's energy sector, including renewable energy. The expansion project will develop a multi-purpose marine base, featuring new berths, a Roll-on Roll-Off ramp, and increased dockside space, aimed at boosting offshore and renewable energy projects. This development is expected to significantly increase the port's trade volumes over the next 30 years.

‍Government News

Potential Port Montreal strike catches the Prime Minister's attention

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed concerns about the long-term effects of a potential strike at the Port of Montreal, emphasizing the need for a negotiated resolution. He highlighted the risks of permanent supply chain disruptions and customer loss during a Chamber of Commerce event in Montreal. Michel Leblanc, chamber president, questioned if the port should be an essential service, given frequent strikes. Trudeau stressed reassuring workers about their future and balancing the interests of workers, economic growth, and employers. He prefers negotiation over legislation for resolving disputes, recalling a past instance where the government intervened to end a Port of Montreal strike due to its impact on supply chains during COVID-19.

SSB - Guidance on safe transportation of EVs on ferries

Transport Canada has issued Ship Safety Bulletin (SSB) 04/2024 - Guidelines to safely transport electric vehicles on Canadian ferries.  While the International Maritime Organization is developing guidance for the carriage of EVs on passenger vessels, Transport Canada strongly recommends that ferry operators use existing operational guidance and firefighting procedures targeting EVs and take steps to train crew on how to deal with these types of fires on-board their vessels.

‍US News

FMC to hold hearings on impact of Red Sea and Gulf of Aden challenges

The Federal Maritime Commission will hold an informal public hearing on February 7, 2024, to examine how conditions in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden regions are impacting commercial shipping and global supply chains. The hearing will allow stakeholders in the supply chain to communicate with the Commission how operations have been disrupted by attacks on commercial shipping emanating from Yemen, steps taken in response to these events, and the resulting effects.  In addition, the hearing will allow the Commission to gather information and identify any new issues related to these disruptions subject to Commission statutes, including the application of contingency fees and surcharges.

‍International News

Red Sea Houthi attacks strongly affecting war risk insurance premiums

War risk insurance costs for vessels transiting the Red Sea have significantly increased, some reaching 1% of hull value, due to heightened threats from Yemen's Houthi faction. This hike is affecting shipping activity, with companies like Shell, BP, and Adnoc diverting routes to avoid risk. The cost impact is particularly severe for new Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), potentially adding $1.3 million per trip. Shipowners, especially those with perceived Israeli, American, or British links, are finding it increasingly challenging to obtain insurance. Many are opting for longer, safer routes like circumnavigating Africa, adding substantial time and cost to voyages. The situation has led to higher freight costs and potential inflationary pressures due to delayed deliveries. The insurance market is adapting with more dynamic pricing and shorter quote terms, reflecting the escalated risks in the region.

Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd form new Gemini Alliance

Maersk from Denmark and Germany's Hapag-Lloyd have announced the "Gemini Cooperation," a long-term operational collaboration starting in February 2025. This partnership aims to create a flexible, interconnected ocean network with high reliability. It will include a combined fleet of about 290 vessels, totaling 3.4 million TEUs in capacity, with Maersk contributing 60% and Hapag-Lloyd 40%. The CEOs of both companies emphasized the benefits of improved service quality, operational efficiency, and accelerated decarbonization efforts in the shipping industry. Consequently, Hapag-Lloyd will exit THE Alliance by the end of January 2025, coinciding with the termination of the 2M alliance between Maersk and MSC. In 2024, both companies will prepare for the transition from their current alliances to this new cooperation, ensuring continued service to customers during the changeover.

‍Upcoming Events

Jan. 23/24 - Salish Sea Strategy Symposium

Jan. 24 - COS Operations Committee Meeting @ 12:00

Jan. 25 - WCMRC User Group Meeting@ 09:00
Jan. 25 - Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Young Person in Shipping Event @ 16:30 

Jan. 31 - WMCC PACMAR/NANS Meeting @ 10:00
Jan. 31 - Vancouver Grain Exchange Council Meeting @ 13:30

Feb. 8 - Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association Meeting @ 12:00
Feb. 14 - Quarterly Pilotage Operations Meeting @ 10:00



‍Ship of the Week

19 January - Robert Allan RAstar 3200-W tugs

Robert Allan Ltd. has announced that Bay-Houston Towing and Suderman & Young Towing Company have awarded Sterling Shipyard in Texas contracts to build multiple tugs of the RAstar 3200-W design, with the first delivery expected in October 2025. The new tug will be equipped with EMD 16 E23B HD tier 4 EPA-compliant engines and Schottel SRP-610 propulsion units, generating a bollard pull of 105 metric tonnes. Designed for escort operations, it can provide significant steering and braking force at speeds up to 10 knots and will also be fitted with a towing winch for coastal towing. The 105-foot-long escort tug will have ABS notations for various services, including towing, escort, fire-fighting, and low emission. Robert Allan Ltd. will also provide Sterling Shipyard with a comprehensive production design package for the construction.

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