2020 sulphur fuel cap may spark a crisis for carriers that can’t recover the cost

By Sam Whelan, Asia correspondent

IMO’s 0.5 per cent sulphur fuel cap will cause an “existential crisis” for container carriers, unless they can pass on the added bunker costs to shippers. APL Chief Executive Nicolas Sartini said carriers had little choice but to opt for considerably more expensive low-sulphur fuel from January 2020, since the alternatives – using LNG or fitting ships with scrubbers – were not viable short-term solutions. “We are 100 per cent behind the regulation as it’s good for the environment,” he told delegates at the TPM Asia conference in Shenzhen in early October. “The problem is the new fuel cost is between $250 and $350 per tonne more expensive than the fuel we buy today.” (more…)

Big stuff yet to come at B.C.’s Site C dam megaproject

Big stuff yet to come at B.C.’s Site C dam megaproject

By Keith Norbury

The $10.7 billion Site C hydroelectric dam project in northeastern B.C. entered its third year of construction this summer with more than 3,000 workers on the job. They include more than 700 heavy equipment operators, more than 300 carpenters and scaffolders, about 75 ironworkers, and some 70 crane operators. Photos on the Site C website show dozens if not hundreds of gargantuan pieces of equipment moving earth and erecting structures on the site, which straddles the Peace River at Fort St. John. Many of the cranes, trucks and excavators had to be transported to Site C, along with materials to build the powerhouse, substation structure, and ATCO trailers for 1,600 units of workforce housing. (more…)

CN and CP announce third quarter results

Both of Canada’s major railways announced third quarter results for the period ended September 30, and put in strong performances.

During the quarter, CN’s revenues increased by 14.5 per cent to $3.69 billion. However, operating expenses rose by 19.2 per cent and, as a percentage of revenues increased from 57.2 per cent to 59.5 per cent. Higher expense levels were primarily driven by higher fuel prices, and higher labour and training costs to enable the company to deal with expected increases in volumes. Cash flow from operations increased to $1.56 billion from $1.4 billion, and “free” cash flow, the amount remaining from operating cash flow after subtracting net investments made during the quarter and dividends paid to investors, increased to $508 million from $373 million. However, during the first nine months of the year, “free” cash flow declined to $1.20 billion from $1.44 billion. From Jan 1 to Sept 30, CN spent $1.521 billion repurchasing its own shares (about the same amount as in 2017), and paid $1.0 billion in dividends. As of September 30, the company’s equity stood at $17.6 billion (as compared to $16.7 billion as at December 31, 2017). Total debt increased to $22.6 billion from $21.0 billion (Dec 31, 2017). (more…)

Caisse de dépôt and Fonds de solidarité FTQ invest $112 million in Groupe Océan

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (la Caisse) and Fonds de solidarité FTQ (le Fonds) have announced that they are purchasing a minority stake in Groupe Océan for $112 million, shared equally between the two investors. Groupe Océan is a Québec-based maritime services provider that primarily operates in Canada, and now also internationally. Groupe Océan will use the proceeds of this investment to expand its Canadian activities, to continue its global growth and to acquire new equipment. (more…)

The day I went to prison… A personal note on the antitrust investigations that rocked the air freight industry

By Niall van de Wouw

The weather on the day that I visited prison was perfect for the occasion: it was grey, dreary, cold. Along the interstate leading up to the ‘correctional facility’ stood countless small churches with large billboards providing advice on how to find redemption. This put a smile on my face, despite the circumstances. But it soon disappeared when I arrived. The facility, with its watchtowers and barbed wire, was no smiling matter.

The security guards checked me for illicit goods, then let me in. I was escorted to a table in a large hall. All around me were inmates in distinctive khaki overalls, talking to their spouse or playing board-games with their kids. (more…)

Port technology the key to unlocking efficiency and smoother supply chains

By James Leeson, head of port commercial at DP World London Gateway

Reliable port infrastructure is critical to the effectiveness of the UK’s supply chains and can unlock solutions to some of the pressing logistical challenges. Moreover, with more than 60 per cent of all global seaborne trade being moved in containers, box ports are crucial.

Containerization has boomed since its conceptualization in the 1960s, significantly simplifying intermodal freight transport. According to Statista, $12 trillion-worth of goods were moved around the world by container in 2017. A great chunk of that trade was moved between Asia and North Europe, routes used by the world’s biggest containerships. (more…)