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Québec National Assembly unanimously pushes Ottawa for more shipbuilding work

L'Assemblée nationale du Québec pousse unanimement Ottawa pour plus de travaux de construction navale

2018-12-09

Québec's National Assembly has unanimously adopted a motion in support of the federal government's reform or 'refresh' of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The motion on Dec. 7 called upon the federal government to endorse the House of Commons and Senate's recommendations to proceed immediately with the construction at Davie Shipbuilding of a second Resolve-Class Naval Support Ship as well as a new fleet of icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Seaspan shipyards in Vancouver and St. John-based Irving, chosen to carry out the major part of the shipbuilding contracts, have opposed additional contracts being shifted to Davie. Regarding the Resolve matter, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has gone on record for stating: " We cannot artificially create a need for something that doesn't exist."

During 2017, the Federal government conducted a review of the National Shipbuilding Strategy in order to reform the failed strategy and begin to deliver ships for Canada in a timely and cost-effective manner. The Québec marine industry workers and suppliers are now awaiting the widely anticipated policy adjustment.

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Report of CN offer for Halterm

Rapport sur l'offre du CN pour Halterm

2018-12-07

Canadian National Railway has reportedly made a preliminary offer to buy Halterm Container Terminal in the Port of Halifax. During an interview published by Canada's Financial Post, Jean-Jacques Ruest, chief executive of CN, said the goal of the potential acquisition is to create a "Prince Rupert of the East" - referring to the strong growth of the Port of Prince Rupert in recent years through notably a direct CN network connection with the US Midwest market. The Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert is operated by DP World.

According to the media report, Mr. Ruest indicated CN has a partner in the bid for the Halterm Terminal owned by Australia's Macquarie Infrastructure, but did not identify this partner. He also said the railway was looking at possibilities at two other ports, one in Nova Scotia and another on the St. Lawrence River, without specifying which ports.

The Port of Halifax and the Halterm and Ceres container terminals rely exclusively on CN for reaching markets in Central Canada and the United States. The port currently handles container vessels in the 10,000 TEU class but could handle still larger box ships calling on the East Coast of North America at New York and other ports.

Mr. Ruest said that if CN were successful, it would make changes to the Halterm business model. "We're interested to get behind a terminal to make them ready for bigger things and run them in a way they have not been run in the past."

The CN told the Financial Post that CN wants to expand the terminal capacity to be able to service two large containerships simultaneously and accommodate long freight trains.

The Halifax Port Authority recently began construction of a temporary berth extension at Halterm (slated for completion in 2020), but it would seemingly not be big enough to assemble the longest double-stack trains. "We're willing to put in some of our rail infrastructure to create a solution for the big trains," Mr. Ruest said. (photo HPA)

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Ocean vessels boosting Thunder Bay traffic

Des navires océaniques renforcent le trafic à Thunder Bay

2018-12-05

The Port of Thunder Bay had very high ocean vessel traffic in the month of November, a trend that is continuing in December and making for a strong end to the shipping season. Twenty ocean vessels - commonly referred to as 'salties' - called the Port in November to load or unload with internationally trading cargo. Some of the ocean ships (per photo) carried project cargo which was continuing to show brisk business at Keefer Terminal, accounting for the bulk of general cargo totalling 25,156 tonnes.

This is the highest number of salties to visit the Port in any single month since 2015. Salties typically load grain in Thunder Bay after bringing steel into lower lakes ports through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Grain exported from Thunder Bay in November is en route to international ports in France, Egypt, Dominican Republic and North Africa, among others. Total cargo volumes in November were slightly lower than last year, but a rebound is expected before the season closes in mid-January. Strong saltie traffic, aided by milder weather than last December, will help to boost volumes.

The final month of the season is expected to be the busiest of the year, with a projected 1.4 million tonnes of cargo to be handled. That would be a 25% increase over last December, due mainly to higher grain shipments this time around. Annual 2018 grain volumes are anticipated to be slightly higher than the final tally in 2017. The Port of Thunder Bay is anticipating a total of 400 vessel calls for the season, which is also slightly higher than the 393 calls in 2017, when total cargo was 8.8 million tons. (Photo TBPA).

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