Monthly Archives: February 2020

Blockages causing port headaches.

ACL Cargo Vessel inbound

Recent rail blockages are beginning to severely effect the port of Halifax. Yesterday ACL announced they were no longer calling in Halifax as long as rail service is limited, routing traffic through New York instead. ACL has a contract with CERES until 2022, and calls twice a week with containers and RO-RO traffic.

Hapag-Lloyd, and the Alliance is still calling in Halifax, but is considering re-routing cargo, as is ZIM. Hapag-Lloyd released this statement Wednesday.

The blockades of key rail track and Port Infrastructure facilities throughout Canada continues and the Federal and Provincial Governments remain in dialogue as they seek a resolution with the Indigenous communities across the country.

There have been no material changes to the state of the blockades as communicated in our previous letter. CP Rail tracks remain comparatively clear.

Prince Rupert is now clear and the recovery is underway.

The blockade in Ontario remains in place, and CN’s Eastern Canadian network is more or less shutdown. A limited number of trains are operating in the Halifax/Montreal corridor. Various options to move /divert cargo out of Halifax are being explored.

It is not clear yet how long the protests could last and the disruption continues as the blockades enter their third week. There has been inevitable disruption to the Rail transportation of both domestic and International shipments for which we apologize.

This is a continuing situation and we will provide you with regular updates.

Hapag-lloyd Feb 19 Statement

Some trains working east of Montreal are moving, but as most cargo through Halifax is bound or from beyond the Belleville blockade, those services are affected. The port is stacking cargo bound for Toronto and points west.

Why are we here?

Coastal gas link is attempting to build a Natural Gas pipeline in BC. CGL have signed benefit agreements with several indigenous tribes along the pipeline route, and the project has broad support among elected councils and hereditary chiefs. 5 Hereditary Chiefs oppose the pipeline route across Wet’suwet’en Territory, and were blocking progress in Protest.

The supreme court ruled that the Wet’suwet’en territory is unceeded – it is not subject to a treaty, and the people were not conquered, therefore the Hereditary chiefs have legal title to the land.

Those 5 hereditary chiefs are not against the pipeline. they are against the current routing of the pipeline across their lands. The chiefs have proposed alternative routeing, which is actually in use by other pipelines currently. CGL rejected the proposed new routing, claiming it would delay the project by a year, and Cost 700 million more to build.

CGL went to court, and the BC Court granted an injunction ordering the protesters away. they refused, citing sovereignty over their territory. The RCMP then moved in and enforced the injuction. The Legality of the BC court injunction is likely to be challenged, however that will take time to work out.

In the Meantime, Mohawks have blocked the CN mainline near Belleville in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. An injunction has been issued against this blockade by an Ontario Court, however the OPP have yet to enforce this.

The above are the facts. they are not open to debate.

This protest is not anti-pipeline, its not about the environment, or moving oil. some have latched on to the protest to advocate for those ideas, however that is disrespecting the purpose of the protest- which is about respecting indigenous title to the land, which in this case clearly exists.

The OPP have likely chosen restraint in dealing with the Mohawks, frankly its likely the interruptions could become much more severe were they to forceably remove this blockade. The Mohawks were participants in the Oka Crisis which featured blockaded roads bobby-trapped with incendiary devices. as bad as the rail blockade is, shutting down the 401 would be much worse.

while the Trudeau liberals are rightly getting criticism for the handling of this issue, Calls for the prime minister to order the police to do something are wrong. Politicians do not and should not directly control the actions of the police. Support and calls for Vigilantes, or other citizens to take it upon themselves to intervene is also not a sound approach.

Fundamentally CGL chose to go to court rather then being a good neighbour. CGL, wanting to save time and money is now costing the Canadian Economy millions per day in losses, and several thousand people are out of work until this is resolved. the rest of the country is an externality to getting this pipeline built how CGL want it, and frankly more anger should be expressed to at CGL, and Corporate Canada should be demanding CGL apologize, and change the routing.

MOL Motivator – turnover on EC5

The Alliance has been rotating vessels on its EC 5 service, with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines vessels coming into the rotation as of late. Other recent new callers have Included MOL Maxim, MOL Mission, MOL Maneuver and MOL Marvel. The ships are rated at 6724TEU and were built in 2010/2011, and carry the Marshall Islands flag.

MOL Paramount, MOL Partner,and MOL Paradise have been serving on the EC5 route for a while. Yantian Express, George Washington Bridge remain the only non MOL vessels on the Routes schedule.

MOL is part of ONE, formed as a merger of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), and K Line’s container businesses.

German BSU releases Yantian Express Report

The German Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung or Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation has completed the report into the fire onboard the Yantian Express. We covered the Fire and response to the Yantian Express as it happened, and Once it finally made Halifax with remaining Cargo.

the report has cleared up a few details. First the Crew was transferred to the tug Smit Nicobar, and then transferred to the Dalian Express for transport to Halifax. That cleared up the question of how they got to Halifax.

The Tug Atlantic Enterprise showed up in Halifax Jan 14. It turns out it was enroute to the scene, but was damaged by weather, and came to Halifax instead. the Smit Nicobar had to render some assistance to the tug.

The Fire began in a container of Coconut Charcoal in bay 11, row 7. Bay 11 would be the Forward 20′ container in Bay 12. since the ship turned stern to wind, the spread of the fire forward is not surprising. The container was misdeclared as Coconut Pellets. Charcoal can Self heat, and it is believed this led to the fire. Coconut pellets are basically balls of coconut fiber.

The report indicates Coconut-based pyrochar is characterized by the fact that it burns at a high temperature (600 °C to 650 °C) and produces a very low amount of smoke

Sea Trials Underway.

HMCS Harry DeWolf heads to the basin for the first round of trials.

The HMCS Harry Dewolf is undergoing another round of sea trials this week. the Ship first sailed on Saturday afternoon and to the shipyard 10 p.m. Sunday.

the ship then sailed again on Monday, and is still out to sea. In a tweet, the navy said it was taking the ship out for a test drive – suggesting these are likely part of the acceptance trials program. 

In the Herald: Pandemic Preparations

Anthem of the Seas on a visit to Halifax. The Ship is now being checked in NJ.

this week in the herald, I discuss the impact of the Novel Corona virus on the shipping industry, and what Canada is doing about it.

Since I submitted the article, Japan has identified 10 passengers on a cruise ship that are positive for the virus. A former passenger of the Diamond Princess tested positive for the virus on their return to Hong Kong, prompting the check. The Ship is operating an 8 night Japan/Taiwan itinerary.

there is also another cruise ship quarantined off Hong Kong.

UPDATE Feb 7:
RCCL’s Anthem of the Seas is being inspected by the CDC in New Jersey. the ship calls on Halifax during the cruise season. The number of Cases on board the Diamond Princess has increased to 61, including several Canadians.

Corona virus hears have led to cancellation of LNG imports, Slowness in the Commodities trade, and problems for the container market.

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