A wave of optimism with Seaway opening

By Alex Binkley

When it comes to the prospects for a new navigation season on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes, Terence Bowles and Craig Middlebrook have to sound optimistic. This year might justify upbeat comments the President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the Deputy Administrator of Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation offer in separate interviews.

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OPINION – Is Canada facing its Pearl Harbour?

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

I came to Canada in 1967, a year of momentous importance to Canada which, at the time, celebrated its 100th Anniversary, and welcomed the world through Expo ’67. As a young immigrant from Holland, Canada seemed to be a dream come true. I found a well-paying job one day after arrival in Montreal, and the money I earned was sufficient to pay my rent, buy groceries, and enjoy wonderful evenings and weekends at Expo ’67. Life was good. Eager to learn about Canada, its system of government and its economy, things got even better as I learned that “Canada Inc” was well financed, with very low budget deficits, and negligible debt. Practically speaking, unemployment did not exist, and neither did inflation. In my first few years in Montreal, it was not uncommon for me to receive annual pay increases of 10 per cent or more which, because of stable income taxes and near-zero inflation, amounted to sizeable increases in spending power. Unfortunately, the good times did not last and by the early seventies it became evident that things were becoming more difficult.

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A mandatory Polar Code – How does it affect shipping?

By Captain David (Duke) Snider, FNI FRGS

The IMO’s mandatory International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) came into effect in January 2017. How does the Polar Code make the playing field of Arctic Shipping different? The biggest difference is the mandatory nature of this new IMO instrument. After a series of voluntary polar shipping guidelines that have existed since the 1990s, the Polar Code is the first mandatory IMO instrument focused on shipping in the Arctic and Antarctic. The new Code sets in place baseline goal-based standards for design, construction, operation and crewing, and environmental protection measures for ships operating in Polar Waters. In the coming months, governments will be required to bring their national regulations and requirements into line with the Polar Code. Transport Canada is currently in the process of doing exactly that, consulting with stakeholders on changes to the Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations to enable compliance with the Polar Code onboard Canadian ships and in Canadian waters.

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Madeleine Paquin talks about future opportunities for Logistec

By Brian Dunn

Logistec has enjoyed a proud history since the company was founded 65 years ago by Roger Paquin, father of current President and CEO Madeleine Paquin, including 47 consecutive profitable years since listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1969. Much of the company’s success can be attributed to management’s philosophy of embracing innovation, Ms. Paquin told a recent luncheon meeting of the Canadian Club of Montreal. “This approach has directly contributed to our growth over the years and enables us to have a positive long-term impact on the communities we serve.

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NEAS to benefit from infrastructure spending and northern mining activities

By Brian Dunn

NEAS Group President and CEO Suzanne Paquin is relieved that business in 2016 was better than it was in 2015, when ice and unfavorable wind conditions delayed the start of the Arctic shipping season by several weeks. “Things went quite a bit smoother than in 2015, although we had some (late) ice in Ungava Bay last year. We’re getting good cooperation from the Coast Guard as the delivery of goods is an important service to northern communities. We did 11 voyages in 2016, compared to an average of 12 most years.”

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Quebec Port Terminals anticipates major growth in its Arctic operations

By Mark Cardwell

When Jack Watt took over as operations manager at the Quebec Port Terminals (QPT) terminal in Bécancour in 2008, the loading and unloading of ships bound for a fledgling open-pit gold mine in Canada’s Low Arctic was a small but promising part of the facility’s business. That is set to change, however, as Agnico Eagle begins to invest more than US$1.2 billion into opening two new mines in the same region.

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Eimskip sees major growth opportunities for its Halifax hub

By Tom Peters

Icelandic shipping line Eimskip is increasing its service through the Port of Halifax by nearly 60 per cent, says Jeff Simms, Managing Director, Eimskip Canada, Inc. Simms says Eimskip will increase its calls into Halifax from 21 to 35 annually. The increase has been generated by an increase in business through Portland, Me.

Eimskip’s Green Line, which calls North America, channels cargo from Portland, Halifax and Argentia (Nfld) through Reykjavik where it will be now transloaded for markets in Europe, Greenland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

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Coal moves again from B.C. mines under new ownership

By R. Bruce Striegler

In 2011, U.S. coal giant Walter Energy paid $3.3-billion in cash and stock for Vancouver-based Western Coal Corp. According to analysts, the company thought it was creating a dominant North American metallurgical coal producer for years to come. The market was on fire, and the Canadian operations provided Walther with one of the best production growth profiles in the industry. Unfortunately for Walter, the deal backfired in almost every way. Coal prices dropped, the company ended up in a proxy fight with a former Western Coal shareholder and in April 2014, Walter announced it was closing all the Canadian operations it bought through the Western acquisition. Combined, these operations produced 3.6 million tonnes of coal in 2013, and employed more than 695 workers. Walter Energy, Inc. announced later in 2015 that its wholly-owned subsidiary Walter Energy Canada Holdings, Inc., had obtained creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada). Walter Canada’s operations consisted of three surface mines: the Wolverine Mine, the Brule Mine and the Willow Creek Mine.

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EDC: Mexico on the brink?

By Peter G Hall, Vice President and Chief Economist

It looks like trouble is on the way. Who would have known? For multiple reasons, Mexico has been something of a market darling, and I have said as much in the past. Canada’s relationship with Mexico has blossomed and grown in recent years as a key player in our move to more integrative trade, and as a result there is a lot of interest here in Mexico’s welfare: on speaking tours, I am invariably asked questions on Mexico, and my commentaries on the Mexican economy are close to the top of the ‘most popular’ list. That engaged curiosity is doubtless turning into great concern. What lies ahead for Mexico?

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Surging steel price boosts scrap value of redundant containerships

By Mike Wackett

A sharp increase in steel prices has prompted a new wave of vessel scrapping, bringing the supply-demand ratio in container shipping further into balance. According to the latest report from London shipbroker Braemar ACM, containership scrapping this year has already reached 56, amounting to 185,500 TEUs. This compares with 16 ships (45,000 TEUs) in the same period of 2016.

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