COS Weekly Newsletter - Friday, 14 February 2020


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          COS Weekly Newsletter
          Friday, 14 February 2020

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Local News


Canada’s supply chain held hostage

Canada’s supply chain has been encumbered by a nationwide protest in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ dispute over the construction of Coastal Gas Link pipeline in northern British Columbia.  This, falling on the heals of recent mudslides, derailments and the Coronavirus outbreak, has led to one of the most challenging winters for Canadian importers and exporters.
This morning CN service was restored to Prince Rupert after hundreds of train runs were cancelled over the week.  The relief comes shortly after the letter from the BC Premier to the  Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.  The CP intermodal yard in Pitt Meadows was closed temporarily this morning and many travellers across the country continue to be disrupted as commuter trains are shutdown as a result of blockades. Confusion remains on how the federal and provincial governments plan to bring stability back to Canada’s supply chain.  Needless to say, that unless there is a long-term and meaningful resolution, other major projects are vulnerable along with all Canadian businesses and communities that rely on the national transportation system.
The Chamber of Shipping met with the Deputy Minister of Transport this week, and partnered with the BC Maritime Employers Association and BC Marine Terminal Operators Associates to release a joint statement urging the federal and provincial governments to take the necessary action to restore Canada’s supply chain.  This has garnered a fair amount of media attention.

Barge carrying wood chips tips near Salt Spring Island

An investigation is underway following a barge filled with wood chips tipping in the waters between Salt Spring Island and Pender Island Wednesday morning. The barge was being pulled by a Seaspan tugboat when it lost much of its load near the Otter Bay ferry terminal around 1:30 a.m. The Coast Guard has said that the barge encountered strong tides near Turn Point on Stuart Island. By 10 a.m., the barge had returned to a near-upright position. The company is investigating the incident and has notified Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board.

Director recruitment open at the VFPA

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority governance and external relations committee is seeking applications for candidates to be considered as directors on the port authority’s board of directors. They are seeking eligible candidates who have generally acknowledged and accepted stature within the transportation industry or the business community. The deadline to submit applications is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 6, 2020. More information can be found here: nominating process and eligibility criteria

Crofton mill to suspend operations

Paper Excellence Canada plans to curtail pulp and paper production for 30 days at its Crofton operation due to the lack of wood.  The decision will affect about 450 members of two unions, Unifor and the Pulp Paper and Woodworkers of Canada.  Several critical areas of the Crofton mill, including its fibre-receiving facility, will remain open during the one-month shutdown.  On a more positive note, the tentative deal reached earlier this week in the 8-month long dispute between Western Forest Products and the striking United Steelworkers will, if ratified, help restore the supply on the west coast.





Additional measures coming to protect endangered right whales

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan has stated that further measures will be announced in the coming weeks to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. While the new announcements have not yet been detailed, the measures announced last year that will see marked fishing gear identify such things as country, region and fishery, will take effect during the upcoming fishing season.

CBSA releases customs notice Clarifying Proof-of-Report Requirements for Exporters and Carriers

The Canadian Border Services Agency has released a customs notice Clarifying Proof-of-Report Requirements for Exporters and Carriers. See the full notice here:

Canada plans to support ban on heavy fuel oil in Arctic shipping

The Canadian delegation’s position on the proposed ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic for the upcoming IMO PPR7 meetings next week caught many by surprise. While recognizing that the impact will result in higher economic costs for northern communities, the government has taken the position that the environmental benefits from an HFO ban would outweigh these costs. A firm implementation date as not been established, and it can be expected that a transition plan will be developed to mitigate the financial harm to the northern communities. 


US News


Coronavirus expected to impact US retail imports

Imports at major US retail container ports are expected to see a sharper-than-usual decline this month as the coronavirus causes factory shutdowns in China. While February is historically a slow month for imports due to factories closing for the Lunar New Year, many Chinese factories have already stayed closed longer than usual, with no indication of when they may reopen. February is currently forecast to be down 12.9 percent year-over-year at 1.41 million TEU, while March is expected to down 9.5 percent year-over-year at 1.46 million TEU. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the NRF had forecast February at 1.54 million TEU and March at 1.7 million TEU.


International News


Holland America cruise ship now docked in Cambodia after being turned away from five other ports

The Holland America cruise ship, Westerdam, has been allowed to dock in Cambodia after it was turned away from several other disembarkation ports over coronavirus fears. The 82,862 GT passenger ship Westerdam departed Hong Kong on February 1, carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members. It spent two weeks offshore as ports in Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan, Thailand and Guam banned the cruise ship from docking due to the increasing threat of the coronavirus outbreak. The prohibitions came despite the fact that none of the ship’s passengers tested positive with coronavirus. On February 12, authorities in Cambodia granted docking permission to Westerdam and on February 13, the cruise vessel reached the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville. Passengers will undergo required health checks and afterward be sent home.

ICS hits warns of increasing costs at Panama Canal

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has warned owners that ships passing through the Panama Canal may face more than 30% higher costs under new Panama Canal Authority measures and has called on the authority to postpone the introduction of a new charge. The Panama Canal Authority has said it will impose a Freshwater Charge on ships passing through the canal, starting February 15 which ICS calculates the move will increase costs to ships passing through the canal by up to 15%. Additionally, ICS said the Panama Canal Authority 2020 Tolls Modification, which is due to become effective on April 1, could see additional cost increases of up to 17% for ships passing through the canal.


Upcoming Events


Feb.12 - COS Board of Directors Meeting

Feb.17 - Family Day | COS Office Closed

Feb.19 - VGE Board Meeting

Feb 21 - Liner Committee Meeting

Feb.26 - PACMAR/NANS Committee Meeting

Feb.27 - Vancouver Shipping Lunch

Feb.28 - COS Annual General Meeting

Mar. 4 -  Regional Canadian Marine Advisory Council Meeting

Mar. 5  - VMAA Board of Directors Meeting

Mar. 6  - IIMS Canada Conference Canada

Apr. 3  - IMDG/TDG Dangerous Goods Training Course



Ship of the Week


Feb. 14 - Valentine

On Valentine's Day, we thought it would be appropriate to feature the Ro-Ro cargo vessel named Valentine that CLdN Cobelfret Ferries operates on the River Thames with ports of call in Zeebrugge, Killingholme and Purfleet.
Built:          1991
Flag:          Belgium
GT:            23,987
LOA:         162.49 m
Breadth:    25.64 m