By Alex Binkley

Kirk Jones has been appointed interim President of the Canadian Shipowners Association succeeding Robert Lewis-Manning, who had been appointed President of the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia.

When Lewis-Manning announced his intention of moving to COSBC, the Boards of Directors of CSA and the Chamber of Marine Commerce decided to explore a merger of the two organizations. A decision is expected this spring. “The discussions have moved faster than anticipated and if a merger is agreed to, it could happen by the end of June,” Jones said. “The key issue is trying to connect shipper concerns with carrier concerns about government policy. “The CSA board decided it needed someone in the CSA Presidency until the merger discussions were resolved,” Jones said in an interview. “If there’s a merger, then there will be a need for a Vice-President responsible for the shipping side. If there isn’t, CSA will need a new President.”

In the meantime, Jones is juggling two full time jobs. “I’ve worked a lot in government affairs with quite a bit of time on Canadian issues. So it seemed natural for me to take over.” Despite 30 years at CSL, Jones says he comes to his CSA duties in the spirit of the brotherhood of the sea. He is also the CSA representative on the Board of the International Chamber of Shipping and a member of the Board of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, and is an observer with the Canadian Delegation to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee.

A graduate of Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology with a diploma in Marine Navigation Technology, Jones began his career on ships in navigation positions where he rose to the level of first mate. However, with four small children, he decided it was time to work onshore and he became involved in various projects including the first electronic chart display system. He’s also earned an Executive Development Program certificate from McGill University.

In April 2012, Jones has appointed Vice-President, Sustainability, Government and Industry Affairs with CSL after serving in various other capacities.

Among the issues he’s working on is ballast regulations for Great Lakes ships. He says Transport Canada has agreed to apply the IMO Convention to Lakes “without a compelling needs analysis. We have to convince the government that the IMO technology will not work in the Great Lakes.” Transport Canada needs to talk with the marine industry on shipping policy, Jones said. “It wants to act like it’s regulating a long distance deep sea fleet when it mainly has a Great Lakes fleet that specializes in short sea shipping.”

In addition to the Department’s out of control bureaucracy, it has a new Deputy Minister, Michael Keenan, who has no previous experience in the Department or transport policy. “We’re trying to get the government to understand we’re a short sea shipping nation.”

Another aggravation for the industry is the number of people involved in the regulatory process along with the poor cousin status of the Eastern Gateway Corridor, which has not received the funding or support Ottawa has provided for the Pacific Gateway and Transportation Corridor.