Atlantic update

By Tom Peters

As container ships and cruise ships continue to get bigger, there is an urgency in several ports in Eastern Canada to accommodate these large vessels to remain competitive and to grow the business in these marine sectors.

The $205 million West Side modernization project in the Port of Saint John has been moving forward at a steady pace. The project will see the lengthening and strengthening of the pier structure at the West Side container terminal as well as the deepening of the main channel. The project is expected to be complete in 2023. Presently, radiation portals are being installed which will allow Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) a seamless transition with no impact to operations during the major wharf construction, says Paula Copeland, the Port’s Director of Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. At the same time, a new bridge is being constructed to allow container wharf access as a portion of the existing wharf will be demolished to build the new berth. Additionally, a number of electrical upgrades are being completed for power supply to future crane and reefer facilities. A summary of other work to date includes the removal and demolition of outdated infrastructure; dredging and disposal of silt; placing and leveling of rock fill for caisson and mattress; construction and installation of caissons and piles; and connecting of existing wharf to new piles. (more…)

Surging oil-by-rail brings provincially owned oil trains as a “stop-gap” – until more pipeline capacity is built

By R. Bruce Striegler

Canada’s oil industry has been facing record-low prices for its exports, a glaring lack of insufficient pipeline capacity to bring its product to market, and an uncertain long-term outlook. None of these factors, however, are stopping Alberta oil producers from increasing production, and relying more heavily than ever on rail to move the product. According to Statistics Canada, the volume of oil on Canada’s railroads has soared by 64.6 per cent in just the past year. And in the past seven years, the number of rail cars carrying oil across Canada has quadrupled. As one pipeline project after another fails to launch, the industry is relying more heavily on rail than ever to ship its oil. (more…)

Despite sharply higher volumes at Trois-Rivières and Belledune, port volume growth generally disappointed in 2018

By Alex Binkley

After strong performance in 2017, with aggregate volumes up 7.7 per cent over 2016, Canada’s 18 Port Authorities generally reported volumes matching those of 2017, or modest increases. 2018 volumes were up over 2017 by 2.4 per cent, which represented only a slight increase over estimated population growth during the period of 1.2 per cent, or 12-month GDP growth of 1.7 per cent. Some ports, notably Hamilton, Trois-Rivières and Belledune, recorded strong increases in tonnage handled during 2018. Will the entry into force in late last year of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership open markets to Canadian products across Asia? And will year two of the European free trade deal boost exports across the Atlantic?

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Will LNG riches now come within Canada’s reach, as the global market continues to grow?

Will LNG riches now come within Canada’s reach, as the global market continues to grow?

By R. Bruce Striegler

It was only a few years ago when many in Canada thought a huge wave of global LNG activity would soon crash over the shores of British Columbia. From an original list of more than 15 proposed multi-billion dollar projects in the Province, only one remains a possibility today. The rich Asian market has been glutted since 2015, following a massive development program across the region which began in 2000. But a policy shift to favour consumption of natural gas in China this year and strong economic growth across Asia has pushed up demand. Several export projects in North America hope for Final Investment Decision (FID) this year, including LNG Canada, a $40 billion, 13 million-tonnes-a-year venture led by Royal Dutch Shell, with PetroChina, Korea Gas Corporation and Japan’s Mitsubishi as partners. The proposed liquefaction plant and marine terminal are planned for Kitimat, B.C. (more…)

Review of 2018 Halifax Port Days

Review of 2018 Halifax Port Days

By Tom Peters

The developing technology to create a more efficient cargo supply chain, the status of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, and CN’s continued investment in safety and equipment to keep cargo moving fluidly, were among the main topics of discussion at the annual Halifax Port Days.

Digitization in the shipping industry grabbed the attention of delegates as a panel of business and technology experts focused on a new blockchain collaboration between Maersk and IBM, called TradeLens. The goal of the project is to develop a highly secure digital ledger system that promotes the sharing of information across the global shipping industry which can reduce costs, improve productivity, increase the speed of the delivery of goods and provide transparency. The Maersk-IBM blockchain will enable the needed safety and security for the digital platform. (more…)

Significant investments in rail, road infrastructure optimize Port of Montreal’s intermodal network

Fluidity is crucial for a logistics chain. More than 800,000 containers are transported by truck each year to and from the Port of Montreal, which is connected to a national network of highways throughout Canada and the U.S. Up to 2,500 trucks move through the port each day.

Another 700,000-plus containers are transported annually by rail to and from the port. The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) operates its own on-dock railway system that is directly connected to Canadian National and Canadian Pacific and their North American networks, with daily departures to Toronto, Chicago and Detroit. Some 60 to 80 container trains move through the port each week. (more…)