Queen Elizabeth makes inaugural call to Québec


Cunard Line's all-new cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth, has paid its inaugural visit to Québec City. It was berthed at  Pointe-a-Carcy prior to its scheduled departure on Sept. 28 for Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Flying the British flag, the imposing 294-metre long vessel with GRT of 89,500 and able to accommodate 2,172 passengers, is the Cunard Line's second-biggest ship, just after the Queen Mary ll.

"When a Cunard liner is in port, the excitement can be felt all over town," said Mario Girard, President and CEO of the Québec Port Authority. "I am also pleased to announce that the Cunard Line has already confirmed its presence at our wharves next season."


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U.S. West Coast group evokes 'land border loophole'


In another development in the current cargo diversion controversy in North America, a U.S. West Coast lobby group indicated that it "supports efforts to close the Harbor Maintenance Tax land border loophole that unfairly creates a competitive advantage for Canadian and Mexican ports."

To achieve this end, the U.S. West Coast Collaboration (USWCC) proposes that "federal policy should be modified to ensure equal treatment of all US-bound containers regardless of mode of arrival in the US."

Created in 2009, the USWCC comprises the container ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Oakland, Long Beach and Los Angeles, along with BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.

The USWCC  statement follows the initiative of two Washington State senators asking the Federal Maritime Commission to launch an inquiry on the 'diversion' of US import containers from Asia through Port Metro Vancouver, Prince Rupert as well as Mexican ports.


Oct. 5 meeting to formalize launch of FMC study on cargo diversion


Richard Lidinsky, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington, announced on Sept. 21 that the five-member Commission will meet on October 5 to respond to the request of  two senators to launch a study on the alleged diversion of U.S. import containers from Asia through Canada's west coast ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert as well as Mexican ports.

At a two-day Canada Maritime Conference in Montreal, Mr. Lidinsky said: "I plan to propose that the Commission begin the study that the U.S. senators requested."

And he sought to put a reassuring face on the initiative that has stirred controversy in Canadian port and railway circles, declaring that "our door will be open to all parties to file comments, provide information and to assist in producing workable answers through this neighborly discussion."


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Grain shipments drive Seaway cargo increase


A marked increase in Canadian grain shipments helped to lift Seaway total cargo by 3.5% to 22 million tonnes at the end of August versus the year-earlier period.

Canadian grain shipments attained 893,000 tonnes in August, representing a 35% increase from the same month in 2010. Total grain volume to the end of August amounted to 4.5 million tonnes compared with 3.9 million tonnes.

The Thunder Bay Port authority reported handling 693,000 tonnes of grain in August, compared to 458,000 tonnes.

Bruce Hodgson, Market Development Director of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said decreases in some cargo categories were likely due to normal summer slowdowns.

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Sodes awarded Medal of Merit


The Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) has awarded its 2011 Medal of Merit to the St. Lawrence Economic Development Council (Sodes), which last year celebrated its 25th anniversary. ACPA's highest honour is "made in recognition of outstanding works or service by an individual, institution or organization in the port, shipping and maritime transportation fields."

The award was presented to Nicole Trépanier, President of Sodes, on the occasion of ACPA's Annual Conference and AGM held in Sept-Iles, August 6-10.

Sodes was praised for the significant contribution it has made, through the years, in promoting and defending the interests of the St. Lawrence maritime community.

The ACPA Board of Directors approved the nomination of Sodes made by Pierre Gagnon, President and CEO of the Sept-Iles Port Authority, on behalf of the Association's St. Lawrence Caucus.


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