US lifts steel tariffs from Canada

May 20, 2019 – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration agreed Friday to drop its punitive and controversial tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, ending a bitter dispute between historic allies and removing a key obstacle to ratifying the new North American trade pact. Canada and the U.S. both say they will now work together in the coming weeks to get legal approval of the new continental trade deal — a reboot of the original, 25-year-old NAFTA. The breakthrough was good news politically for an embattled Liberal government that is heading into a federal election in October and must win seats in vote-rich Ontario, where Conservative Premier Doug Ford has mounted a public campaign against the federal carbon tax. The deal is a foreign policy win for Trudeau, whose oversight of Canada’s most important international relationship has been complicated by a bellicose American president unafraid of flinging personal insults, accusing a key neighbour of threatening national security and accusing Canadian farmers of taking advantage of unfair trading practices.

ILWU now has a strike mandate

May 14, 2019 – ILWU Local 500 posted the results of the strike vote held on May 8 and 9 on its website. More than 98 percent of the union’s members voted in favour of supporting strike action against the member companies of the B.C. Maritime Employers Association, if necessary. As noted our previous blog postings, the BCMEA is "cautiously optimistic" that the two sides will come to an agreement, and further meetings have been scheduled.

DP World to acquire Fraser Surrey Docks in Vancouver

May 13, 2019 – UAE — DP World announced the acquisition of Fraser Surrey Docks from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP) today. The acquisition will be effected through DP World’s Canadian subsidiary, DP World Canada Investment Inc. which is owned 45% by Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec (CDPQ) DP World expects the transaction to close in the first half of 2019 and follows on the recent sale of Halifax’s container terminal to Singapore’s PSA. Fraser Surrey Docks is a large, multi-purpose marine terminal located in the greater Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada. It operates over 1,200 meters of berth and 189 acres of yard and is one of Vancouver’s major steel import terminals. It also handles over 1 million tons of grain and serves several container lines, handling approximately 250,000 TEU in 2018.

The acquisition of Fraser Surrey Docks complements DP World’s footprint in Canada and provides an attractive platform to better serve our customers’ break-bulk and dry bulk requirements. DP World’s existing facilities at Vancouver and Prince Rupert have enjoyed strong growth in recent years and we believe that Fraser Surrey Docks will benefit from being part of DP World’s terminal portfolio. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said: “We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Fraser Surrey Docks, which complements our footprint in the west coast of Canada. We are seeing increasing demand from our customers for multipurpose facilities in the region and we believe Fraser Surrey Docks has the relevant infrastructure and is in the right location to service this demand. We look forward to bringing DP World’s best-in-class terminal operations to Fraser Surrey Docks.”

Cooler heads prevail to tone down the threat of a Port of Vancouver strike

May 10, 2019 – The B.C. Maritime Employers Association has advised that further meetings have been scheduled with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union – Canada, beginning Tuesday, May 21 and continuing on May 22, 23 and 24. The meetings will be facilitated by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). This dramatically reduces the chance of labour action until at least closer to the end of the month. Canaan Transport will continue to update progress on its website.

US prepared to increase China tariffs

May 9, 2019 – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is set to publish a notice in the Federal Register on May 9, 2019, that the third tranche of Section 301 China duties will increase from 10 percent to 25 percent ad valorem effective 12:01 a.m., May 10, 2019.

Background: On September 17, 2018, the USTR announced the third set of tariffs on Chinese goods related to the Section 301 investigation. The USTR released a list of 5,745 tariff lines covering approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that will be subject to additional tariffs. Beginning on September 24, 2018, additional duties were imposed at 10 percent. This third set of tariffs will now increase from 10 to 25 percent.

PSA purchasing Halterm in Halifax

May 8, 2019 – Singapore-based global terminal operator PSA International is acquiring Halterm Container Terminal in Halifax from current owner, Australia’s Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, for an undisclosed sum. “PSA has finalized an agreement to acquire Halterm Container Terminal in the Port of Halifax, Canada and Penn Terminals in Philadelphia, USA from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, a fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets,” confirmed a spokesperson for the Macquarie Group. “This transaction is in the process of securing regulatory approvals from the respective USA and Canadian authorities.” PSA reportedly beat out a joint bid by Canadian National Railway CN) and French carrier CMA CGM, along with another bid from Logistec Corporation of Montreal, and other bidding interests. The Halterm acquisition gives PSA International a base on the North American East Coast with which to compete with other terminal operators. The transaction marks the second major entry of PSA International this year in Canada’s transportation sector. In January, PSA acquired a 60% majority interest in privately-owned Ashcroft Terminal, British Columbia’s largest inland terminal which is undergoing a C$28 million expansion. The latter is served by both CN and CP main railway freight lines and targets cargo with the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

In recent months, the Macquarie Group has been divesting some of its worldwide assets.The assets are part of the Macquarie Infrastructure Partners funds, which are 10 year closed end funds so as the end of the 10 year period approaches, the assets are put up for sale. Another holding in Canada, Fraser Surrey Docks, a breakbulk facility in British Columbia in the Port of Vancouver, is also said to be up for sale. Container traffic at Halifax (where Ceres also has a box terminal) has been rebounding in the past few years – attaining 550,000 TEUs – thanks to new services notably with Asia and larger ships of more than 10,000 TEU calling at the Nova Scotia port, where CN offers the sole rail connection with Montreal, Toronto and the US Midwest. As a key contribution to the port’s big ship program, Halterm has ordered a super post-Panamax container gantry crane and associated lifting equipment. The new crane, slated for delivery in June 2020, will be added to Halterm’s main berth alongside four existing super post-Panamax units and one Panamax crane. A planned temporary expansion of Halterm will increase berth length to handle two large containerships simultaneously. Various options are under discussion for a second stage, including a second permanent berth with a first phase cost exceeding C$500 million. Source : American Journal of Transportation

Port of Vancouver strike vote imminent

May 8, 2019 – The B.C. Maritime Employers Association yesterday provided notification that, over the course of two days, today and Thursday, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union – Canada is planning a strike vote and all Locals have been directed to take a “yes vote.” BCMEA presumes that ILWU – Canada will receive a majority “yes vote” for its strike mandate; however, such an outcome does not mean that the Union will exercise its right to strike.

A strike could occur only if the Union:

· receives a mandate to strike;

· chooses to exercise that mandate within 60 days of obtaining it; and

· provides 72-hour strike notice.

BCMEA remains cautiously optimistic that the two sides will come to an agreement, as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) is in the process of scheduling further dates. However, past history indicates that these will be uncertain times until a deal is reached. We will continue to keep our customers informed of this situation and if a strike is ultimately occurring.

Port of Vancouver BCMEA/ILWU negotiations continue

May 6, 2019 – Negotiations are continuing between the BCMEA and ILWU to avoid a possible disruption at the Port of Vancouver. Currently, there is a media blackout so news is hard to come by. The latest schedule indicates that Ms. Kathy Peters, the Conciliation officer appointed by the Ministry of Labour, is meeting on May 6 to 10, with Local 514 Ship and Dock Foremen. Progress reports on last week’s meeting with the ILWU union have not been provided. Canaan Transport will continue to update information as it becomes available.

Cargo flights to and from Argentina affected by one day strike

May 1, 2019 – Labour unions went on strike in Argentina on Tuesday, shutting down public transportation in the nation’s capital and forcing hundreds of flights to be canceled. A spokesman for Aerolineas Argentinas said 350 flights were canceled due to the strike.

The protest was scheduled to last one day. We have notified our customers with affected shipments. These will be moved tomorrow as long as space permits.

Possible strike at Port of Vancouver

April 29, 2019 – Since the present Collective Agreements with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) covering the West Coast of Canada expired in March 2018, The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the ILWU Local 514 have been in bargaining with the goal of a renewal agreement. As key issues have remained unresolved, the Minister of Labour appointed Ms. Kathy M. Peters as Conciliation Officer back in February. A 60-day conciliation period was agreed upon, and already expired on April 13th. The parties are now in a 21-day cooling off period that expires on May 4, thereby enabling either party to strike or lock out at 12:01 am on May 5, provided a strike lockout vote was taken and 72 hours’ written notice was given. Meeting dates with ILWU Canada are scheduled from April 29 to May 2; during this period, it continues to be business as usual in all waterfront operations, BCMEA said. The association said it remains “cautiously optimistic” that the parties will achieve renewal agreements with the assistance of The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) Conciliator in the days ahead. On April 22, CIFFA has written to the Hon. Patricia Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, to express concern on behalf of member firms about the status of negotiations between the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents longshore workers at B.C. ports, including the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The letter notes that, should a work stoppage happen at the Port of Vancouver, it would have far-reaching negative consequences for the Canadian economy and for the workers in many Canadian industries. We will continue to keep our customer’s informed.