Shipping lines optimistic about 2019 prospects on the Great Lakes

Shipping lines optimistic about 2019 prospects on the Great Lakes

By Alex Binkley

Great Lakes ship operators are divided on their prospects for 2019 with Algoma Central, Canada Steamship Lines and Fednav cautiously optimistic that they will be at least as busy as in 2018. The 6.8 per cent increase in cargo handled by The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in 2018 over 2017 adds to their confidence.

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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…)

Capacity cuts and trade war combine to increase container tonnage laying idle

By Mike Wackett

A perfect storm of radical capacity cuts by carriers and U.S. president Donald Trump’s threat to hike tariffs on Chinese goods could see many more containerships laid-up, according to Alphaliner. Shipping association BIMCO warned that over a quarter of container trade on the transpacific could be at risk from the escalating U.S.-China tit-for-tat trade war. The latest data from Alphaliner, based on a survey on 3 September, records 143 idled ships, for 408,283 TEUs representing 1.8 per cent of the total global cellular fleet. It said: “Idled numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks due to service cancellations for the winter slack season.” Alphaliner noted that that the service cuts announced so far were “significantly more severe” than those in 2017. (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…)

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…)

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…)