Seaspan Ferries ‘drop-trailer’ business thriving between B.C.’s lower mainland and Vancouver Island

By R. Bruce Striegler

“We move trailers, or ‘cans on a chassis’ between B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, and we do it without the driver and the truck,” says Steve Roth, President of Seaspan Ferries. More than half the cargo delivered to the Island arrives on one of Seaspan’s seven ferries sailing out of terminals in Delta and Surrey. “We are a significant player in providing goods and services to the Island,” says Roth. Seaspan’s ‘drop trailer’ ferries leave the Lower Mainland terminals of Tilbury Island on the Fraser River or the Surrey terminal to make a total of eleven round trips per day, each one-way trip taking three hours. The ferries dock on southern Vancouver Island at Swartz Bay on the north end of the Saanich Peninsula or at Duke Point, mid-island in Nanaimo. Business has been growing annually by between two and two-and-a-half per cent, Roth says, with the company moving more than 500 trailers per day and up to 20,000 automobiles per year. A special truck connects to a trailer, hauling it off the ferry for its customers to pick up. It takes just 20 seconds to hook up a trailer. “We expect about the same growth over the next few years, mirroring growth on the Island.”

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Coverage of 2016 Montreal Annual Shipping Summit

By Brian Dunn

The changing landscape of the Canadian Arctic has also changed the customer base of the Canadian Coast Guard, according to its Senior Director, Safe Shipping and Economic Intelligence. In addition to supporting community resupply initiatives and icebreaking to access arctic communities, the coast guard is becoming more involved with the cruiseship industry and ships operating on the Northern Sea Route.

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Cruise industry of crucial importance to Halifax

As owner of Ambassatours Gray Line, Murphy’s Restaurant, Harbour Hopper and other charter vessels, Dennis Campbell knows the significance of the cruise industry to businesses in the port, the city and the province. For the past 30 years Campbell has watched the port’s cruise business grow “from something that was a second thought in the city” economically “to something today that is without a doubt a major economic generator.”

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Temperature-controlled cargo of key importance to Port of Halifax

Looking out at a modern containerized cargo terminal, an image that jumps out immediately is the wide range of colours. The boxes come in a wide range of colours – bright red, navy blue, several shades of orange – but it’s the white boxes that signify a very specific type of cargo and that is high-value products and goods that need to be held at a certain temperature.

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Canada’s Defense Policy Review: Full Speed ahead on NSS

By K. Joseph Spears

On June 7, 2017 Canada’s Liberal government released its 113-page Defence Policy Review entitled Strong Secure Engaged. The review was a culmination of a year-long process that sought input from Canadians along with that of our allies, parliamentarians and subject matter experts. The goal was to set the stage going forward to 2027 to provide a roadmap for Canada’s Defence policy in a changing world and signify priorities and sustained funding for these policy goals. It also provides a twenty year funding commitment that is set out in the document. The day before, Canada’s Minister of Global Affairs announced a new direction in foreign policy that arguably interacts with the Defence policy review. Both of which demonstrate the need for Canada to have a robust naval capability.

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Nova Scotia pulling together to train women and minorities for non-traditional careers in shipbuilding

By Tom Peters

Irving Shipbuilding’s Centre of Excellence (CEC), in partnership with Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), private industry and other organizations, is bringing a new, diverse group of workers into its shipbuilding hall. In June of this year, 15 women, welders or metal fabricators, graduated from Nova Scotia Community College and were hired by Irving Shipbuilding. A second group of 20 women has completed the 14-week Women Unlimited Partnership program, in preparation for the two-year diploma trades program which begins in September.

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Halifax Port Days always a venue for problem-solving discussion

Delving into deep discussions on marine trade can spark many thoughts and ideas on how to make ports more efficient and thus more competitive. During Halifax Port Days, expert panel discussions have become a highly anticipated part of the event’s agenda with participation not only from highly respected panelists but often from conference delegates who push panelists with insightful questions. This year’s topic promises to be as interesting as those of the past as panelists discuss, “What parts of the supply chain need innovating, including trade-enabling investment, to elevate Canada’s ability to compete globally?”

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Things may be looking up for Europe’s ports, say analysts, but growth is slowing

By Alexander Whiteman

North European ports may finally have rebounded: analysts are reporting a prosperous first half to the year and indicating sustained, if slowing, growth on the cards for the rest of 2017.

In its latest Global Port Tracker, ISL and Hackett Associates report that six European ports – Antwerp, Bremen, Hamburg, La Havre, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge – had increased volumes for the five months to May, with growth forecasts of 5.7 per cent and 3.7 per cent in imports and exports, respectively, for Q2. Year-on-year growth, the report suggests, will last into 2018, however, it notes the pace of growth will slow in the second half of the year, with Q3 and Q4 both down quarter-on-quarter.

Third- and fourth-quarter import volumes are expected to increase year-on-year by 2.1 per cent and 4.6 per cent, respectively, but quarter-on-quarter imports for the final three months of the year are expected to drop by 4.1 per cent. On the export side, forecasts indicate year-on-year growth of 5 per cent (third quarter) and 2.9 per cent (fourth quarter), but again quarter-on-quarter projections indicate a dip, of 2.9 per cent in Q4.

Analyst Ben Hackett said surging strength in northern Europe had increased projections for full-year imports to the North European ports from 1.8 per cent to 3.7 per cent, with most of the growth in the first half, while export projections remained unchanged at 4.2 per cent.

“We expect Rotterdam to benefit the most from the increased traffic as the three alliances focus their transhipment there, except for MSC which uses Antwerp,” said Mr. Hackett. The port of Le Havre is also projected to see a strong comeback for the rest of this year, and if carriers can manage their capacity and not rush into market share wars, we could see a financial recovery. But as supply still outpaces demand, we have a certain amount of doubt about this.”

Reprinted courtesy of The Loadstar (

Impressive transatlantic growth for U.S. imports, but outlook not so bullish

By Mike Wackett

Container exports from North Europe to North America increased 5.7 per cent, year-on-year, in the first five months of the year, but Drewry is “skeptical” that this growth can be maintained for the full year. Data from PIERS and Container Trade Statistics (CTS) shows U.S. imports from Europe up 4.9 per cent in the period to 890,000 TEUs, while Canadian imports flatlined at some 260,000 TEUs, with volumes to Mexico surging by 20 per cent to about 180,000 TEUs

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