Tank car phase out will complicate but not cripple crude by rail shipments

Tank car phase out will complicate but not cripple crude by rail shipments

By Alex Binkley

Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s order to phase out two classes of tank cars used in transporting crude oil and condensates will complicate the petroleum industry’s logistics challenge but not completely disrupt shipments by rail, which are at record levels.

Brad Herald, Vice-President of Western Canada Operations for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), said the earlier than expected retirement of the two older classes of tank cars will be a challenge for the industry as it is struggling to clear as much product as possible. He described management of crude by rail shipments as a continental logistics exercise. In addition to making maximum use of the available tank cars, “we have to make sure there is capacity in the freight yards and on the rail lines to move them.” (more…)

Seaway upbeat about 2018 season

Seaway upbeat about 2018 season

By Alex Binkley

There was an upbeat mood in the air as the March 29 official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway approached, fueled by a nearly 9 per cent growth in business during 2017, and warm February temperatures that cooled fears of extensive ice coverage on the Great Lakes as in 2014.

However, threats by President Trump to impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum cast a shadow over the optimism. Bruce Hodgson, the Seaway’s Director of Market Development, said it had become difficult to offer any certainty in predicting 2018 traffic levels.

(more…)

New ships are showing their worth, Great Lakes-Seaway operators say

New ships are showing their worth, Great Lakes-Seaway operators say

By Alex Binkley

The new freighters that have joined the fleets of Great Lakes shipping lines in recent years are showing their worth and even leading to consideration of additional orders.

Canada Steamship Lines has its state-of-the-art Trillium class ships and Algoma Central its Equinox vessels. Built to take advantage of new technology and designs, the vessels address shipowner needs to stress efficiency in their operations.

(more…)

Port community loses two long-serving executives

By Alex Binkley

David Cree will step down as President and CEO of Windsor Port Authority this year, the second veteran port boss to retire in recent months. Last year it was Don Krusel who retired as President and CEO of Prince Rupert Port Authority. Krusel is widely seen as the architect of Prince Rupert’s rise to prominence from coastal obscurity while Cree showed the way to keep a small port nimble and vital to the local community.

(more…)

Ottawa in discussions on icebreakers with Chantier Davie

By Alex Binkley

Such is the political embarrassment caused by the sorry state of the Canadian icebreaking fleet that Prime Minister Trudeau personally announced in mid-January the launch of negotiations with Chantier Davie Canada Inc. for the lease of four icebreakers. The move came a month after Michael Byers, a UBC Professor and Arctic expert, issued an urgent call for Ottawa to change course on its plan to build a heavy duty polar icebreaker when what is needed are four or five medium-duty icebreakers. He said in his report Onto the Rocks that Davie was the logical candidate for the contract because it has already refitted Louis St. Laurent, Canada’s old icebreaker, and converted a container ship into a navy resupply vessel. Davie had already offered to refit American polar icebreakers for service in Canada. The federal-Davie negotiations were continuing as Canadian Sailings was going to press and neither side would comment on the details.

(more…)