The Game of Shipping

The Game of Shipping

By Guy M. Tombs

“An old military adage has it that amateurs concern themselves with tactics, but professionals worry about logistics.” So says Richard Fidler in his excellent book Ghost Empire. Reading this recently cheered me, as I am in logistics. But I quickly had the less comfortable thought that clever tactics frequently overwhelm elaborately thought-out logistics. The game we are all in of course demands of us both knowledge and wit. (more…)

Proceedings of the Arctic Shipping Summit held in Montreal

By Brian Dunn

Coordinating the aims of the various stakeholders in Arctic development is a daunting task which needs to be clarified, while competition will likely be centred around sovereignty issues such as the disputed limits of the Continental shelf and economic issues. The remarks were made by Mike Emerson, Director, Marine Transportation Systems, United States Coast Guard (USCG) during the 14th Arctic Shipping Summit in February in Montreal. Global shipping, especially in the Arctic, is not on the U.S.’ radar and there needs to be a business case made, such as a return on investment, to attract American investment in the region, he added. (more…)

Does Canada have a strategic plan to enhance its fleet of icebreakers?

Does Canada have a strategic plan to enhance its fleet of icebreakers?

By K. Joseph Spears

Since Canada is an Arctic nation, there is a strong requirement for icebreaker capability in our Arctic waters. The Canadian Coast Guard, operating within Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is tasked with providing the necessary icebreakers in support of its own mandate and other government operations (search and rescue, hydrographic work and resupply, to name just a few). These are hard-working ships, with experienced crews who often work in hostile environments. Interestingly, former CBC  National news anchor Peter Mansbridge, a former Churchill, Manitoba resident, described his time aboard Canadian Coast Guard heavy icebreaker’s CCGS Louis St. Laurent in the Northwest Passage as among his most cherished moments in broadcasting. Yet, Canada’s icebreakers are old, with the average age of Canadian icebreakers being just shy of 40 years, which adversely impacts their operational readiness and reliability. (more…)

Canada’s Arctic Policy—the search continues

Canada’s Arctic Policy—the search continues

By Joe Spears

In an April 2016 article, Breaking Bread and the Ice in Washington, I examined Canada’s evolving Arctic policy under the then new and shiny Trudeau government. The Joint Arctic Statement communique was unveiled with great fanfare at the Obama White House in Washington, DC. Four years into the Trudeau mandate, the world has seen many changes, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and we are still awaiting a Canadian Arctic policy. It is clearly not a priority. (more…)

Africa perishables – can Canadian exporters learn from the trade on another continent?

Africa perishables – can Canadian exporters learn from the trade on another continent?

By Sam Whelan

Rapid population growth, fast-developing economies and a booming global market for fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables has made Africa a very attractive proposition for perishable logistics players. The African market could top 10 per cent growth this year, according to some estimates, but access to sufficient transport capacity is still the key export challenge for local growers. Additionally, all African exporters must grapple with the unique logistics challenges posed by produce seasonality, says Yvonne Otieno, Nairobi-based agripreneur and director at Miyonga Fresh Greens. “There are seasons when the orders are really low, and then seasons when the volumes required are double or triple the normal amount,” she says. “This makes planning difficult and freight prices often increase five-fold.” Established in 2015, Miyonga grows and exports fresh fruits and vegetables to Europe and the Middle East, including passion fruit, avocados, pineapples, French beans, peas and herbs. (more…)