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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With rejuvenated rosters, shipping lines prepared for new Seaway season

By Alex Binkley

With steadily growing rosters of modern vessels, Canadian shipping lines are hoping for a strong start to the 2017 season so their new assets can show their worth. Louis Martel, Executive Vice-President and Incoming CEO of the CSL Group, says tough times in the global maritime industry in recent years have his company clearly focused on ways to improve its bottom line. “Amid the continued volatility, we at Canada Steamship Lines are staying focused on reducing costs, gaining efficiencies and improving the overall performance and flexibility of our operations by taking full advantage of our modern fleet and leveraging new technologies. Shipping markets are by nature cyclical, but the uncertainty we have witnessed in the past few years is unprecedented in recent history, and putting enormous pressures on shipping companies worldwide. We hope to see a market recovery in 2017, but we’re not counting on it,” he added. “Although the 2016 Great Lakes shipping season was better than originally expected thanks to an uptake in grain demand in the fall, we are very far from the types of results we were seeing in previous years.”

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Trump’s Arctic: Making America Great in the region

By K. Joseph Spears

Has America’s Arctic policy changed with the election of President Donald J. Trump? His November 2016 election came as a surprise to political pundits and mainstream media. The previous Administration of Barack Obama made climate change a cornerstone of U.S. Arctic policy. Obama’s Arctic policy was the subject of articles in the March and November 2016 issues of Canadian Sailings. It is an understatement that the new President has been less vigorous in his approach to climate science and the underlying causes of climate change. Whether this impacts U.S. Arctic policy remains to be seen: it is still very early days. President Trump has made it clear that he wants to make America great again and thicken the borders of continental America and this must also include the northern border along the coast of Alaska. These efforts will impact Canada.

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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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The case of Clipper Adventurer: Between a rock and a hard place

By Kiley Sampson and K. Joseph Spears

On January 27 2017, Mr. Justice Shawn Harrington of the Federal Court handed down an interesting decision that examined potential liability of the government of Canada involving the grounding of adventure cruise vessel M/V Clipper Adventurer which ran aground on an “uncharted rock” in Coronation Gulf in the Canadian Arctic on August 27, 2010. Before his appointment to the bench, the judge was an experienced admiralty law practitioner. This article will examine both the findings of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and the Federal Court decision with respect to liability of the vessel owner. The grounding, and the subsequent TSB Marine Investigation and Federal Court decision are of interest to students of Arctic shipping. The grounding provides an insight into issues with respect to government of Canada’s obligations to provide Arctic shipping infrastructure and hydrographic charting, and the liability of vessel owners. It has been said that litigation is “an expensive way to learn.” This was a costly learning lesson.

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Capacity crunch on box ships to Asia: Maersk first to stop taking bookings, as air freight awaits boost

By Mike Wackett and Alex Lennane

On March 1, Maersk Line stopped booking export containers from Europe to Asia and the Middle East, according to market sources, while capacity is said to be extremely tight for other lines. Air freight could feel the benefit, if the capacity crunch continues, according to one forwarder.

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Bad news for carriers in contract talks as transpacific spot rates soften

By Gavin van Marle in Long Beach

Container shipping lines operating on the transpacific trade, hoping pre-Chinese New Year gains in spot market eastbound rates would lead to higher 2017 annual contract rates, could be disappointed. Delegates at the TPM conference in Long Beach heard that, although there was an unexpected boost to spot rates levels in the early part of the year, the market has subsequently begun to soften, and on the sidelines of the conference talk was of annual rate levels that will do well to better $1,000 per 40ft.

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Bullish HMM announces new transpacific services and strives to ‘rebuild trust’

By Mike Wackett

As the transpacific contract season begins, restructured South Korean carrier Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has announced plans for its U.S. west coast service after it exits the G6 alliance in April. According to Alphaliner data, HMM will offer three Asia-USWC links, deploying 19 vessels of 6,300-6,800 TEU capacities, with a weekly capacity of some 19,000 TEUs. The PS1 loop will call at Long Beach, PS2 will serve Los Angeles and Oakland and PS3 will call at Tacoma and Vancouver.

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