COS Weekly Newsletter - Friday, 06 November 2020


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          COS Weekly Newsletter
          Friday, 06 November 2020

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Local News


Lynnterm Expansion Project Complete

Western Stevedoring has announced that the breakbulk expansion project at their Lynnterm facility in North Vancouver is completed. The expanded site is now fully operational and includes a new 12-acre cargo laydown area with a redesigned layout for efficient cargo handling and storage throughout the site and two new fabric warehouses for storage of weather sensitive cargo.  The expansion in addition to Squamish Terminals brings Western Stevedoring Group of Companies’ breakbulk capacity to over 150 acres in the Lower Mainland.

Damen launches 3rd hybrid-electric ship for BC Ferries

Damen Shipyards has launched the third Island-class hybrid-electric vessel for BC Ferries. The vessel is part of a six-vessel order for BC Ferries and will perform environmentally efficient inter-island ferry services between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The vessels are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in BC. The ferries can carry up to 300 passengers and at least 47 cars.

CP announces best-ever month for Canadian grain transport, exceeds 3 MMT

Canadian Pacific has set a new record for shipping Canadian grain and grain products in October, with 3.04 million metric tonnes (MMT) moved. This is the first time ever that CP has exceeded 3 MMT in a month. This exceeds the highest-ever record for a month, set in April 2020, by 6.9 percent. It also betters the previous October record of 2.66 MMT, set in 2019, by 14.2 percent.

COVID-19 takes a Canadian seafarer in Sarnia

The head cook aboard a Great Lakes freighter that docked in Sarnia due to a COVID-19 outbreak is the pandemic’s first casualty in the Canadian shipping industry.  Renato Battisti, a veteran cook from Quebec City, was quarantined along with the rest of a 19-person crew that arrived at the Sarnia Harbour aboard the asphalt-bitumen-chemical tanker Damia Desgagnés in late September. Battisti died this past Saturday in London hospital at age 61. James Given, president of the Seafarers International Union of Canada, said news of the first – and only – COVID-19 death among their roughly 20,000 members has hit the organization hard.




TSB Releases Report on Vanterm Crane Incident

Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report into the container vessel Ever Summit striking the berth at Vanterm, in the Port of Vancouver. The investigation found that the pilot’s and bridge team’s view of the tugs were obscured, and that the pilot was relying on his memory and mental model of the manoeuvre to keep track of the location and movements of the tugs. Intending to move the bow of the vessel towards the berth by ordering the forward tug to push and the aft tug to pull, the tugs were inadvertently given opposite commands. As the tugs carried out the commands, the vessel’s stern rapidly moved towards the berth. Corrective action was ineffective, and the vessel’s stern struck the berth and crane, causing the crane’s boom to fall on the vessel. Following the occurrence, the British Columbia Coast Pilots Ltd. developed standard operating procedures regarding tug communications during berthing and unberthing operations. The Port of Vancouver and the operator of Vanterm have also reviewed their crane storage practices for arriving and departing container vessels.

Government of Canada announces contribution to a new Marine Acoustic Research Station in the St. Lawrence Estuary

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, has announced $2.5M through the Quiet Vessel Initiative to help establish and operate the world-class Marine Acoustic Research Station (MARS) in the St. Lawrence Estuary. The research station will be comprised of underwater hydrophones that are anchored to the sea bed, and connected to telecommunication buoys in the Laurentian Channel shipping corridor, near Rimouski, Quebec. The research will help address the impacts of underwater vessel noise on the environment and results will inform the development of further Canadian quiet vessel solutions nationally and internationally, and can be used to measure the effectiveness of innovations like new propeller designs, vessel maintenance practices, and new types of hull coatings to help reduce underwater vessel noise.

Underwater acoustic glider successful in detecting right whales

The glider used to help detect the endangered North Atlantic right whales as they migrate to and from Canadian waters in the spring and fall has been deemed a success by Transport Canada. While the department has been testing different technology over the last few years for finding right whales, this was the first year an underwater glider and a drone were added. The hope is that the glider and drone will help researchers better understand the movement patterns of the species, as well as provide earlier detection to prevent ship strikes.

Federal government investing in new research projects to improve safe transportation of dangerous goods in Canada

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, has announced that research is underway through 23 new projects involving the transportation of dangerous goods. A total of $3.6 million has been allocated for the projects, which will be implemented from 2020 to 2023. Funding for the projects was provided to Transport Canada from court settlements paid largely by Irving Oil related to the Lac-Mégantic disaster. The selected projects cover topics such as tools for emergency response; dangerous goods containers; lithium batteries and other energy storage systems; risk assessment and analysis; and other emerging issues.


US News


CMTS launches COVID-19 Working Group

The US Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) has launched a COVID-19 working group. The group seeks to ensure a coordinated approach to the continued efficient operation of the supply chain. The working group serves as a forum for facilitating high-level interagency discussion, communication, and actions in support of the MTS under and after Covid-19. Led by the Maritime Administration and US. Coast Guard, the group is made up of 19 participating agencies.  On Nov. 18th the working group will host a webinar to discuss COVID-19 Testing Strategies for US Merchant Mariners.

SCPA says Charleston terminal set to spur volume recovery in 2021

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) has indicated the Charleston’s Leatherman Terminal is set to spur new volume and be a key player in recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed imports from Asia and Europe. The terminal received two ship-to-shore cranes last week and is on track to open next March. The Leatherman terminal will be the first new US container terminal to open since 2009. Once open, it will have five ship-to-shore cranes of 169 feet of lift height, 25 hybrid rubber-tire gantry cranes, and one berth capable of handling a 19,000 TEU vessel. The SCPA is also investing in making the Wando Welch terminal big-ship ready. By the end of 2021, there will be 15 ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height, capable of handling three 14,000 TEU vessels simultaneously. In late 2021 or early 2022, the entire Charleston Harbor will be dredged to 52 feet, the deepest on the East Coast.

Young pitches Jones Act waiver to aid cruise ships

Rep. Don Young has pitched waiving the Jones Act to help the US recover from the covid-19 pandemic. He believes that the best way to help the hardest hit industries in Alaska, the aviation and tourism sectors, is to get the Lower 48 economy producing again. To that end, he is working on finding ways to make sure cruise ships can get to Alaska if the passenger demand materializes next year but Canadian ports and border crossings remain closed. As it stands, large cruise ships, nearly all of which are foreign-flagged, departing from the West Coast must stop in Vancouver before sailing to Alaska.


International News


Shanghai set record, handles more than 4m teu in a month

Shanghai has surpassed it own monthly container handling record, becoming the first port in the world to handle more than 4M teu in a calendar month. Shanghai, the world’s largest boxport, handled 4.2m teu in October, up 15.7% year-on-year, and surpassing the previous monthly record it had set in July by 297,000 teu.

Australian wheat exports to china face ban threat

Reports indicate that China is expected to ban imports of Australian wheat amidst rising tensions between the two countries. From Friday, products such as barley, sugar, red wine, timber, coal, lobster, copper ore and copper concentrates coming from Australia are likely to not enter China, even if the goods have been paid for and have arrived at ports. The ban on wheat is likely to follow. Chinese importers have been told that they will have to bear the expense of any uncleared goods. They were also told to suspend all orders for commercial reasons. Shipments arriving at the ports before Friday will be released, but those arriving after will stay at the ports.

Asia container shortage worsens

Container shortages at Asian ports are now so severe that carriers with premium trans-Pacific services are sometimes unable to guarantee that equipment will be available at the Asian load ports they serve. The result is that some vessels are leaving Asia without full loads because there is not enough equipment available. Several carriers have been offering premium services during the surge in volumes, which guarantee customers equipment and priority loading at Asian ports, shorter transit times, and priority discharge at the US port for premium freight rates. But the inability of carriers to guarantee equipment negates the purpose of the premium service.

ICS launches global diversity tracker for shipping industry

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has released a Diversity Tracker and 50-page report looking into the state of diversity and inclusion in the global shipping labour force. The Tracker, which surveyed more than 200 shipping companies across the world, sets baseline targets for improved corporate diversity and inclusion policies in the coming years. While the report revealed that 30% of companies employ women in board-level roles, and close to 60% of companies have female officers on board their ships, just 7.5% of total seafarers were female. Research also revealed that the average ship has a mix of at least three nationalities on board, and sometimes as many as thirty. Three languages were the minimum spoken on the average ship. The full report discusses the value of diversity, inclusion, and individual differences; information from the International Labour Organization (ILO) study, Recruitment and retention of seafarers and the promotion of opportunities for women seafarers; results of the ICS Diversity survey conducted in Autumn 2019; and, key conclusions and recommendations based on the report and survey. See the full report here:

OOCL orders seven 23,000 TEU boxships at Cosco yards

OOCL has entered into shipbuilding contracts with two yards Cosco yards for the construction of seven 23,000 teu mega containerships. Three of the vessels will be built at Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering and the other four at Dalian Cosco KHI Ship Engineering. The total price of the seven ships is around $1.1bn and delivery is scheduled in 2024.

SSI and IHRB launch project for delivering on seafarers’ rights

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), have announced the launch of a new project focusing on seafarers’ labour and human rights. The project, otherwise known as Delivering on seafarers’ rights, will seek to develop a human rights code of conduct for charterers, and a roadmap for tackling systemic challenges which create human rights risks for seafarers. This project will see charterers play an active role in raising the industry’s bar through the development of an industry code of conduct for actors across the shipping value chain. Based on international labour and human rights standards and principles, this work will bring charterers, shipowners, and operators together for collective action, increasing transparency and driving positive change.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines Suspend Cruises Through Year End

Cruise operators Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd have announced that they will be extending the suspension of cruises through to the end of 2020. The announcements come in the wake of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issuing a framework for a phased resumptions of cruise ship operations as the no-sail order issued in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic expired on Saturday.

Norway’s Top Court Starts Hearing on Arctic Oil Exploration

Norway’s top court has begun hearing arguments on the legality of awarding offshore oil licenses in the Arctic, in a landmark case that could stop the industry’s expansion. The lawsuit, led by environmental groups Greenpeace Norway and Nature and Youth, is part of an emerging branch of law worldwide where plaintiffs seek to use a nation’s founding principles to make the case for curbing emissions. The lawsuit claims that the Constitution says that everyone has a right to healthy environment, and that cannot be achieved if oil continues to be drilled. Two lower courts, however, have found the government’s 2016 decision to award 10 licenses to oil firms in the Barents Sea to be legal. Norway has pledged to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 1990, though environmental groups are skeptical about the country’s ability to meet this pledge if it continues to drill for oil.


Upcoming Events


Nov 10 - National CMAC – Pilotage

Nov 11 - Office Closed – Remembrance Day

Nov 12 - VMAA Board of Directors Meeting

Nov 13 - National CMAC – Environment Standing Committee

Nov 19 - COS Operations Committee Meeting

Nov 25 - PACMAR / NANs Committee Meeting

Dec 2 - COS Board of Directors Meeting

Dec 4 - COS Liner Committee Meeting

Dec 10 - VMAA Webinar – Mr. Justice Giaschi on the Wartsila Decision

Dec 11 - Vancouver Grain Exchange Annual General Meeting


Ship of the Week



The world’s first liquefied petroleum gas-powered Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC), BW Gemini, has successfully completed sea trials and is readying for its return to service. The vessel is owned and operated by BW LPG, a company registered at Oslo stock exchange. The vessel was retrofitted this year with Wärtsilä’s LPG Fuel Supply technology. This is the first of 12 BW LPG ships to be retrofitted for operating on LPG fuel with the Wärtsilä system.
  • Built: 2015
  • GT: 47922
  • DWT: 54561t
  • Length: 225.13m
  • Breadth: 36.63m