Cargo airships poised to take flight

Cargo airships poised to take flight

By Keith Norbury

For 20 years, University of Manitoba professor Dr. Barry Prentice had advocated for lighter-than-air ships as a solution to transportation challenges of remote regions like Canada’s north. No such airships have been flown commercially — at least not since the days of the Zeppelins in the 1930s — but their revival is no longer considered a flight of fancy. Several companies — including aviation giant Lockheed Martin — are developing a new generation of 21st century airships that Dr. Prentice expects will take flight within the next few years.

“There’s not a single cargo ship in use,” said Dr. Prentice, a professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management at the university’s I.H. Asper School of Business. “The only ones that are flying are still the advertising blimps. But there’s a lot of interest and people who are trying and are getting close.” (more…)

Massive LNG project poised for cargo

Massive LNG project poised for cargo

By Keith Norbury

It’s going to take a massive amount of project cargo and breakbulk — heavy machinery, steel, modular housing, etc. — to build the $40 billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat, B.C. Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth is already seeing plenty of activity in and around the LNG Canada construction site. Camp modules, such as ATCO trailers, are still arriving daily by truck along the southern stretch of Highway 37, formerly known as the Terrace-Kitimat Highway. The mayor has also noticed the arrival of brand new equipment such as bulldozers and earth movers. “There’s a lot of new equipment coming in for both the LNG site, of course, and also working on the pipeline route,” Mr. Germuth said.

On the water, most of the activity is dredging around the wharf that will become LNG Canada’s ocean terminal. Known as the old Eurocan wharf, for the now defunct pulp mill it used to serve, it was acquired by LNG Canada from Rio Tinto, which operates the nearby aluminum smelter that has been the community’s economic engine since Kitimat was founded in the 1950s. In exchange for the old Eurocan wharf, which will become terminal B, LNG Canada has agreed to build a new terminal A for the smelter. (more…)

Railways bolster cold chain segments

Railways bolster cold chain segments

By Keith Norbury

Canada’s two major railways are embarking on some cool endeavours to build their refrigerated and temperature-controlled cargo business. For instance, the larger of the two, Canadian National Railway, recently wrapped up the acquisition of a major trucking company that specializes in refrigerated cargo. Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific Railway, recently brought into service 423 new 53-foot refrigerated containers and another 363 heated 53-foot containers. (more…)

Brand new container ships enhance Halifax reefer trade

Brand new container ships enhance Halifax reefer trade

By Keith Norbury

Tropical Shipping expects to debut a second brand-new container ship on its Halifax run by this July to transport fresh and frozen foods and other products to the Caribbean. “It may even be earlier, but we’re going public with saying early July,” said Gordon Cole, the company’s Assistant Vice-President for Canada, Hispaniola, and the Virgin Islands. (more…)

Verifying cold-chain integrity among blockchain’s promises

Verifying cold-chain integrity among blockchain’s promises

By Keith Norbury

Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, has the potential to revolutionize the transportation of refrigerated and temperature-controlled cargos. Its promises include verifying that temperatures remain at prescribed levels throughout the cold chain, and tracking perishables from harvest to consumption, thus ensuring sustainability. And, as with the transport of other cargos, blockchain also promises efficiency in settling disputes, processing insurance claims, and paying invoices. (more…)

Research “ping” points bridge-crossing delays

By Keith Norbury

Most of the goods traded between Canada and the U.S., still one of the world’s leading trading partnerships, crosses the border in trucks. And most of those trucks pass over three bridges straddling two rivers connecting the Great Lakes of Huron, Erie, and Ontario. Until recently, however, little was known about long it takes trucks to cross the border. That all changed recently when researchers at the University of Windsor’s Traffic Lab obtained GPS data from nearly 400,000 border crossings by about 60,000 trucks owned by 750 companies. The researchers crunched the data, millions of GPS “pings” in total, to reveal details about how long they waited at the border at different times of the day and year as well as their directions of travel. (more…)