COS Weekly Newsletter - Friday, 06 March 2020


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          COS Weekly Newsletter
          Friday, 06 March 2020

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Local News


COS Annual General Meeting

Last Friday the Chamber of Shipping held its Annual General Meeting and the following directors were re-elected for a further two year term – Richard Chappell (Westwood Shipping Lines), Oscar Pinto (Valles Steamship Canada Ltd.), and George Runyon (Evergreen America Agency).  Special Resolutions amending the society’s constitution and by-laws was passed in accordance with the Societies Act. Following the Annual General Meeting, the Chair – Garth Mitcham (CSL International), Vice-Chair – Peter Amat (Pacific Basin Shipping) and Treasurer – Oscar Pinto were appointed for a second term as the society’s officers.   The Annual Report for 2019 is available on-line.

Business, indigenous, and community leaders calls for Confidence in Canada to be restored

On Thursday of this week, the Chamber of Shipping joined a growing chorus of leaders in Western Canada seeking stability and predictability in the business environment. This communications effort kicked-off two years ago and has gradually gained momentum through the leadership of the Greater Vancouver board of Trade. Thursday’s media statement is available here and you may also access the Confidence in Canada website for further information.

Rail blockades removed but highlight a new Canadian supply chain vulnerability

Earlier this week blockades were removed as the federal government negotiated a proposed arrangement with the Wet’suwet’en Nation that would recognize its hereditary governance system. The Wet’suwet’en are currently consulting with their members to determine if they will ratify the pact.  While the rail blockades have been removed, a week-long protest at the BC Legislature is winding down after five protestors were arrested for mischief.  The protesters refused to stand down until the provincial government cancelled the permits for the pipeline.  Meanwhile members of the Sc’ianew First Nation, also known as Beecher Bay, say that during the protest, Extinction Rebellion entered their lands without permission and is seeking an apology for the group’s disturbing actions.  

CN Rail backlog of 10,000 carloads of grain

As a result of rail blockades across Canada, CN Rail lost capacity equivalent to 10,000 carloads, or 1 million tonnes of grain exports, in February. That lost capacity represents roughly 1% of Canada's total harvest during the 2019-20 marketing year, which runs from Aug. 1, 2019, through July 31, 2020. Just yesterday morning another train derailment 40 km east of Prince George and cause the precautionary evacuation of a school despite there being no danger to public safety as there no fires, injuries or leaks. Since late December there have been more than half a dozen derailments across Canada, with at least three in BC.

Shelburne Ship Repair awarded $12.1-million contract for CCGS Edward Cornwallis retrofit

Bernadette Jordan, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, has announced that Shelburne Ship Repair will be doing a $12.1 million retrofit of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) light icebreaker Edward Cornwallis. Work is expected to start in April and end in January 2021. The work will include the replacement of main engines, a new heavy lift crane, a new bow thruster and hull coating. The vessel will also undergo regulatory work such as pulling and inspecting the tail shafts, seals, stern tubes, propellers, and rudder. In addition, miscellaneous regulatory surveys of the sea bays, sea chests and void spaces will be conducted.

Vancouver Shipping Luncheon speakers attract strong attendance

Attendance at the recent Vancouver Shipping Luncheon – February 27 at the Terminal City Club – drew a record crowd. Speakers included Mr. Vaughan Bassett, Senior Vice President, Sales & Logistics, Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc., and Mr. Paul Hexter, President, Waterfront Shipping who both provided very useful background information as well as updates on company activities. Mr. Bassett highlighted the many benefits of using wood pellets as a sustainable, low-emission alternative to coal, while Mr. Hexter described the benefits of using methanol as an alternative fuel for shipping, noting that it burns at half the energy level of conventional marine gas oil and, while requiring greater storage capacity, is a feasible alternative fuel for shipping that is biodegradable, water soluble and environmentally friendly as well as cost-effective. Mr. Alistair Johnson of the Tig Rig Retro Fit Sail System, provided a brief overview of the system which provides a way to retrofit sails to the world’s existing flat-deck merchant ships, tankers and bulk carriers, resulting in an average fuel savings of eight per cent. The next luncheon will be scheduled at the end of April.




Funding for COVID-19 Ramps Up

To date there have been 48 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Canada with 21 reported in BC.  Number in the US are starting to increase with 259 confirmed cases in the US with 12 deaths reported in King County, Washington.  Meanwhile the MV Grand Princess has been held off at anchorage off the coast of San Francisco as a number of passengers are being tested for COVID-19.  The test results are due imminently.  To continue to monitor reported cases, visit the John Hopkins CSSE site for the latest update. Health Canada has announced $27M for COVID-19 research after concluding the $7M initially planned was not enough.  This morning US President Donald Trump signed a $8.3B emergency spending bill to combat the spread of COVID-19.  Updates on travel advisories for the virus can be found at

Supreme Court will not hear challenges from BC groups on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

The Supreme Court of Canada has decided not to hear five challenges from BC environment and Indigenous groups. The Federal Court of Appeal had overturned cabinet’s first approval in 2018, citing insufficient consultation with Indigenous Peoples and a failure to take the impacts on marine mammals into account. After another round of Indigenous consultations and a second look at marine impacts, cabinet gave a second green light, but the same Indigenous communities and environment groups that successfully challenged the approval in 2018, filed new appeals of the approval in 2019. The Federal Court of Appeal heard and dismissed appeals from Indigenous communities about whether there had been enough consultation but had declined to hear arguments from the environment groups.


US News


Oregon jury reduces damages verdict against longshore union from $93.6 million $19 million

In November, a federal jury found that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union sabotaged shipping traffic and caused productivity to plummet through years of labor slowdowns and stoppages. The union’s workers were pressuring ICTSI Oregon to give them the dockside jobs plugging in, unplugging and monitoring refrigerated containers, taking the so-called “reefer’’ jobs away from an electricians union. Now an Oregon Jury has reduced the initial damages verdict against the longshore union from $93.6 million $19 million. The former operator of the Port of Portland’s container terminal, ICTSI Oregon, has two weeks to either accept the lower amount or seek a new trial solely to determine the appropriate damages.

US supply chains and ports under strain from coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak is straining the just-in-time supply chains on which global business has come to depend, as US ports brace for cargo volumes to drop by 20 per cent or more in the first quarter of 2020. The Port of Los Angeles saw cargo volumes fall by just over 5 per cent in January but expects a 25 per cent drop for February and the Port of Oakland has seen a 20% drop in shipping traffic entering the port due to the coronavirus outbreak in China.


International News


Amsterdam invests in electric vessels ahead of 2025 diesel ban

Amsterdam’s new Green Party mayor is pushing to ban diesel engines from the center’s ancient canals by 2025, helping the city’s efforts to combat climate change. The transition among commercial vessels is well underway, with 75% of the 550 on the city’s water now qualifying as emissions free. The cost of building fleets of new electric vessels would be high, but many companies are converting its existing fleet one by one as they come up for maintenance.

Fuel carriage ban comes into effect

The IMO has issued a news release reminding stakeholders that the carriage ban for non compliant fuel oil has entered into effect. Port state control authorities have begun to enforce the ban, whereby ships without a scrubber can no longer carry high sulphur bunker fuel. Ships face detention if they’re found to be carrying the wrong fuel.

Brazil hurries to prevent potential spill from listing vessel

Following the listing of the giant ore carrier MV Stellar Banner off the coast of São Luís, in northeastern Brazil, authorities are scrambling to avoid a potential environmental disaster. The navy has dispatched ocean support vessels to the site and an aircraft was also set to overfly the ship to assess the situation with the ultimate aim being the removal of the stricken ship from the area. Ardent Global remains on site carrying out an inspection of the structural conditions of the ship and has four tugs for support and response, in case of cargo or fuel oil leak.


Upcoming Events


Mar.  6  - IIMS Canada Conference Canada
Mar. 12 - WMCC Board of Directors Meeting @ 13:00

Mar. 17 - ISSC Board of Directors Meeting @ 12:00
Mar. 19 - COS Operations Committee Meeting @ 11:30

Mar. 25 - WMCC PACMAR/NANS Committee Meeting @ 10:00
Mar. 28 - COS Liner Committee Meeting @ 09:00

Apr.  3  - IMDG/TDG Dangerous Goods Training Course

Apr.  8  - ICS Board of Directors Meeting

Jun. 18 - VGE Golf Tournament



Ship of the Week



Currently sitting at anchor under clear skies in English Bay, the Clear Sky is waiting to load grain at Pacific Elevator 4. Hopefully the vessel name is a sign of the weekend weather.
Vessel Type:                       Bulk Carrier
Year Built:                           2014
Flag:                                   Panama
Gross Tonnage:                  36353 t
Length:                               199.9 m
Breadth                               32.26 m