Check Out What We’re Doing in Prince Rupert!

Check Out What We’re Doing in Prince Rupert!

New Grain Container Stuffing Facility

grain container

Ray-Mont Logistics called Mainland when they wanted to complete a challenging and time sensitive project.

Ray-Mont Logistics is expanding and taking advantage of new transportation routes opening up in Prince Rupert. A new partnership between Ray-Mont Logistics, CN and the Port of Prince Rupert will see the development and building of a new grain container stuffing facility up and running for the 2017/2018 grain crop.

Located on Ridley Island, in the Road, Rail & Utility Corridor, it is the only unit train stuffing facility on Canada’s West Coast. A large endeavor for all involved, it will be capable of handling unit trains and pulse crops for container stuffing and forwarding to final destination.

We are very happy to be working alongside Ray-Mont on this entrepreneurial move to set up the first of it’s kind facility on the West Coast, and are looking forward to continued collaborating on the project.

This is a time sensitive project, with Engineering starting in February and the new facility to be commissioned in September.

We look forward to sharing more as the project advances!

10 Tips: Vetting a Marine Engineering Supplier

marine engineering supplier10 Tips: Vetting a Marine Engineering Supplier 

Anytime you enter into a business relationship with a new vendor or supplier, you need to thoroughly research the company. Any business can offer goods or services. To really understand if a new supplier is a good fit for your company, it’s the details that should determine who you are going to work with. The following are ten tips to consider in vetting a marine engineering supplier

1. Factor in the supplier solutions using life-time costs

When investing in a piece of equipment that is meant to last for a very long time, the number one question to ask is if you’re getting the best value. It won’t help your business if you cut corners on purchasing, only to find yourself replacing that same item because of quality concerns. Consider adding the costs of maintenance, training employees to learn how to use the equipment and potential downtime to your business if the equipment malfunctions

2. Focus on engineering experience

Your potential supplier should have an open book policy with regard to the company’s past engineering projects. The shipping industry is picking up steam and moving at a rapid pace to accommodate the modern designs of vessels and containers. Does your supplier have experience adapting to these emerging technologies?

3. Start the dialogue with suppliers early

You don’t want to wait until your project is in the final phase of deployment before engaging with suppliers. They should be brought onto the project in the initial start-up phase. This way, you’ll quickly find out which supplier can deliver on their performance promises and which ones won’t make the grade.

4. Establish a relationship with the entire supply team

With a new supplier, you won’t be working just with the engineers; but also with sales and business development staff members, including their support team. You need to feel comfortable working with all levels of a company before signing over a huge contract. It’s vital that you get prompt and accurate information from your supplier contact and that the company speaks with one voice.

5. Conduct an onsite review

Before signing the final agreement, you are well within your rights to inspect the supplier’s manufacturing center. If you aren’t allowed on site, then you should seriously consider dropping that supplier. What are they hiding?

6. Demand witness testing

Anything can be made to look good on paper. For example, what if they are using an untested piece of equipment, do you want to take that kind of risk with your business? Don’t wait for the supplier to offer a full test. Demand that one be set up and the results be made instantly available for your review. Better yet, ask to have it done in front of your engineering team.

7. Review the track record

You should be working with an engineering supply company that can prove its track record of success. This includes following up on past client testimonials and third-party reviews. Anyone who is dodgy about sharing past performance reviews is someone you should be leery of.

8. Review material certification

Before ordering any piece of engineering supply, you should be able to examine a sample of that item. You don’t want to be surprised by a shoddy piece of equipment being delivered. Furthermore, ensure you trace the source materials for the equipment.

9. Make sure costs of employee training is covered by the supplier

A supplier shouldn’t just drop off a piece of equipment and be on their way. They should provide comprehensive training for your staff with regard to operation and maintenance of that item.

10. Find out about after sales policies

Tech support has become an important component of every product we buy. That is extremely vital with engineering supplies. The supplier you’ll be doing business with should be able to provide support assistance whenever it is needed.

Canada’s Marine Shore Power Technology Program

Canada's Marine Shore Power Technology ProgramCanada’s Marine Shore Power Technology Program

The shore power technology program for ports in Canada, also known as marine shore power, is a $27.2 million dollar program. It allows marine vessels to plug into a local electrical grid when their vessels are docked at a port. Instead of having ships idling and releasing emissions, they will use the port’s electricity for power. The ships, who dock at ports with shore power, will not burn diesel fuel. All of the power needed on the vessel will come from the electrical grid that it is plugged into.

First announced in January of 2012, the goal was to improve Canadian air quality by reducing emissions around marine ports. The Canadian government has committed to reducing emissions, air pollution and greenhouse gases by 17% before the year 2020. Transportation is the largest contributor to emissions, so having electrical power at port docks will help to reach this goal.

Benefits of Shore Power Technology

The Shore Power Technology for Ports program will increase competition in Canadian ports. It will also create new jobs across Canada and present new opportunities for expansion in Canadian tourism. The program will attract new businesses to Canadian ports, because it will significantly reduce diesel fuel costs to ship operators.

Halifax Port Authority Signs Up

In January of 2013, the Halifax Port Authority announced that it was undergoing construction for a shore power system. They are proud to announce that once the system is ready, ships will be able to dock and plug in to the electrical power grid. This will allow the ships to then shut down their engines. This has many benefits for Nova Scotia. Those benefits will include a reduction in emissions, which will help the environment and air quality for the surrounding residents. Since ports are usually close to cities, this particular benefit is important. Another great value for the province will be the increase in economic prosperity.

Transport Canada’s Marine Shore Power Program ran from 2007 to 2012. The Transport Canada funded $2 million dollars to Port Metro Vancouver, so they could effectively create shore power for cruise ships. Additionally, Transport Canada funded $1.6 million dollars for shore power to the Port Authority of Prince Rupert, so container ships could dock and plug into their electrical power grid.

Applying for Funding

The Canadian government made an official judgment for proposals on May 4, 2012. Ports may continue to apply for funding until December 31, 2015. In order to apply, the port must submit a project proposal and a funding application. Eligible participants have to be Canadian Port Authorities and the companies that own or operate marine ports or terminals in Canada.

The shore power program for Canada will reap many benefits, especially with reducing emissions from ships idling and burning diesel fuel. This may also be a great step toward reducing the use of fossil fuels for energy.

Personal Safety in the Shipping Industry

personal safety in the shipping industryPersonal Safety in the Shipping Industry

No one working in the shipping industry ever wants to hear the cry of, “Man overboard!” Thankfully, the advances in technology in personal safety in the shipping industry have improved the chances of rescue, should an accident occur. These developments have happened because of the need of maritime operators to meet certain safety standards for their crews and ships. Leading the charge is the Automatic Identification System (AIS). Every ship would benefit by being equipped with this type of transmission beacon.

When accessed, the AIS can provide a ship’s identity and global position. This can help a great deal in emergencies. Now, shipboard AIS technology has been pared down to a personal transmitter. The AIS Survivor Recovery System will revolutionize the way rescues are performed.

One of the first such transmitters put into wide use is the SafeLink R10 AIS SRS. The design of these units allows them to fit into a pocket or in a special holder on a lifejacket. For especially hazardous zones they can even be sewn into the protective gear worn by crewmembers. Additionally, SafeLinks can be retrofitted into a ship’s life rafts.

When activated, these devices transmit alerts and GPS signals to any receiver in a four-mile radius. Suppose a crewmember does fall overboard. The ship will have the AIS receiver up and running, which can pinpoint the location of their comrade in no time. Thanks to the 60-second update intervals, the location of the device will never be in doubt. Another type of personal AIS manufactured by Ocean Safety has a flashing LED light that helps with nighttime rescues. It also will transmit for 24 hours straight.

The use of personal AIS devices are part of the new safety regulations handed down by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The regulations passed in 2000 specify that all ships of 300 gross tonnages or more, must be equipped with an AIS system for ship-to-ship communication. That is also true of any cruise liner or cargo ship with 500 gross tonnages.

Beyond the professional shipping industry, personal AIS devices are also gaining in popularity with pleasure craft owners and charter fishermen. This has lead to a significant spike in the sales of these devices anywhere there is a marina nearby. Ocean Safety, the makers of the SafeLink, report that there are increased corporate orders for AIS SRS. Apparently, these units are replacing the EPIRB Personal Locator Beacons, whose sales have flat-lined.

To prove the merits of their device, Ocean Safety reps took 25 members of the Icelandic Fishing and Rescue Departments on a “rescue mission.” This involved a brave volunteer diving into the icy waters of Reykjavik Habour. He was wearing a survival suit and lifejacket equipped with the AIS. After the moment the lifejacket was deployed, the AIS began transmitting data within five seconds. The volunteer was plucked from the waters with pinpoint accuracy.

The emergency response fleet Svitzer UK has implemented the use of the SafeLink across all 100 of its vessels. With a weight of 120 g and measurements of 27 x 47 x 124mm, users hardly notice they are carrying the device until they need it the most.

Canadian Shipping: Connecting Canada to the Global Economy

Connecting Canada to the Global EconomyCanadian Shipping: Connecting Canada to the Global Economy

Logistic and transport sectors have played critical roles in strengthening Canada’s economy through global trade and commerce.  The Canadian government realizes the importance of an integrated logistics industry for economic growth and is taking a number of measures to ensure transportation is secured and monitored.

Asian countries, such as India and China, are urbanizing and growing, which further emphasizes the importance of an integrated transport network.  The growing population, within the Asian business hubs, makes them one of the biggest consumer markets in the world. Every 18 months, India sees an increase in their population that is equivalent to the total population of Canada. To make a successful transition from a moderate-growing economy to a fast-growing economy, Canada needs to strengthen their shipping and port infrastructure to meet the demands. Additionally, Canada needs to be an active part of the global economy and fulfill the requirements of forging long distance trade links.

Canada’s transportation industry has always played a vital role in supporting their country’s economy. It has made the country a part of the global financial transformation. The sector has also served the purpose of shielding Canada’s economy from the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Due to the location of Canada and a well-developed logistic industry, every country is connected to Canada via roads, marine routes or aerial gateways. This is one of the primary reasons that Canada is considered to be one of the biggest hubs for foreign investors.

Another area of strength for Canadian ports, especially from an international perspective, is how the federal and provincial governments have come together to invest in the Asia-Pacific Gateway. About $9 billion dollars of investment has being poured into the BC ports alone. Comparatively, that is far more than the $6 billion dollar expansion of the Panama Canal. The Canadian government is heavily involved in the logistics’ and ports’ infrastructure. This is a great advantage, since Canada is a trading nation and their ports are critical to the nation’s success. The ports are able to plan for long-term needs in a structured way, which helps both the provinces and the nation. As an example, the ports of the Lower Mainland of BC provide at least $6 million dollars per year in taxes to municipalities, which helps fund municipal services.

There are three main gateways for Canada:

  • Asia-Pacific: Connects Canada to the Asian region
  • Atlantic gateway: Connects Canada to Asia and North America
  • Continental Gateway: The multimodal gateway connects Canada to the United States, Europe and Asia through a wide spread network of rails, airports and marine ports

Dividing the entire logistic sector in three major gateways, helps the government supervise all the operations and ensure secure transportation of goods. Moreover, there are a number of sub-gateways emerging from these gateways, which helps to avoid the problem of traffic congestion. Due to the logistic industry of Canada, Canada headquarters 75% of the world’s mining companies and holds significant shares in the growing consumer markets of India and China.

Canada Marine Port Divestiture

canada marine port divestitureStrengthening the Canadian Marine Ports Network

The country’s location is an asset for the Canadian marine ports. Canada has some of the most important gateways for bridging the gaps between consumer markets all around the world. The Canadian government is taking a number of measures to strengthen the marine port system of Canada. They are divesting the domestic and regional ports, so they can be easily operated by local companies.

Transport Canada is the central authority that is in charge of divesting and monitoring the operations of marine posts. The department has been playing an active role in transferring and divesting regional and local ports owned by the country. Early in 2014, Transport Canada proposed a plan (Economic Action Plan) to divest, maintain and monitor federally administered marine ports. The plan proposes to offer approximately $33 million dollars, which will facilitate the divestiture process of the Canadian federal ports. If executed successfully, the Economic Action Plan is definitely going to strengthen the Canadian marine ports network.

Funds will only be allotted to the recipients who meet the eligibility criteria set by the government. The applicant can be a member of provincial, local, municipal or regional government, or the applicant can be a representative of private/non-government organizations. Additionally, any individual with proof of legal entity can apply for this program.

The NASP (National Aerial Surveillance Program) is already keeping a watchful eye to make the marine ports networks are as secure as possible, yet the execution of Economic  Action Plan 2014 will further improve transportation security. Although the plan seems well structured and strategically feasible, will it really strengthen Canada’s marine industry?

  • The divestiture will facilitate maintaining and monitoring ports, because it will be easier to manage several small networks of marine ports, rather than maintaining a single large complex network.
  • The government will be installing aerial surveillance for ships, thus ensuring maximum port safety.

In order for Canada to maintain its competitive advantage as an exporter, there is a critical need to upgrade the ports and terminal infrastructure. This is essential to meet the evolving needs of shippers and trade.  To help meet these evolving needs, the Canadian government has pledged over $4 billion dollars to transportation projects in Ontario and Quebec. In the province of Quebec, the federal government has made efforts to modernize ports in Sept-Îles, Saguenay, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Quebec City. The modernization has helped increase traffic on the Ontario-Quebec shipping corridor.

As one of the biggest and busiest port networks in the world, Canadian ports play a key role in facilitating trade and commerce through marine routes. Therefore, a secure and well-maintained integrated marine network is not only important for Canadian economy, but will also benefit other countries, which rely on Canadian ports for business. The successful divestiture of marine ports will help the government achieve all these goals.

Replacing Marine Port Diesel with Renewable Energy Sources

marine port dieselReplacing Marine Port Diesel with Renewable Energy Sources

Marine ports contribute to both water and air pollution. Although their impact has been well documented, their pollutants are mainly unregulated. Sources report that one container ship can emit almost the same amount of deadly chemicals as 50 million cars (The Guardian). Most of the cruise ships, cargo ships and tug boats are powered by diesel fuel that, unfortunately, affects the health of communities in coastal and inland regions around the world.

Gaps in the legislation have been publicly acknowledged by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. They have gone on record citing that certain matters need urgent attention such as the issues regarding pollution (Maritime and Coastguard Agency).

Marine Diesel – What it is and how it affects our wildlife

There are two types of diesel fuel: a petroleum based product and a low sulfur product. The type of diesel used for marine vessels is a combination of two basic types of marine fuels: distillate and residual. This combination fuel is classified by the environmental protection agency (EPA) as “Marine Diesel Fuel”, which is known as an “intermediate” fuel.

When spilled into the water, marine diesel fuel casts a thick film of dark color. After only days or weeks, it can become hard like asphalt on roads. Additionally, it is very toxic and has a dramatic effect upon wildlife when spilled into our waterways. Short term exposure has the capability to harm wildlife. For example, if sea otters or birds get the heavy oils on them, they may die from hypothermia, because they are unable to keep themselves warm. Animals can suffer from burns, eye irritations and lung damage caused by the inhalation of fumes (University California Davis).

Marine Diesel Alternatives:

Fuel Cells

Renewable energy researchers are excited to partner with the EPA. These researchers are working to develop alternative fuels, since there are more than 100 ports in the U.S. that are using diesel engine fuel. Currently, solutions, such as hybrid fuel cell systems, are being tested. This could increase operational efficiency, while simultaneously reducing polluting emissions. On top of that, noise would be dramatically reduced, because fuel cells are virtually silent.

Some ports have already been successful with alternative methods. One of the largest ports, the port of Los Angeles, has partnered with Vision Motors. The port of Los Angeles has adopted a plan to produce a zero emission heavy duty truck outfit. They have also incorporated the use of electric powered short haul tractors to further their innovation.

Tidal Energy

Tidal energy, or marine energy, is considered to be the most renewable and precious forms of green energy. Although it is a relatively expensive form of energy, we are seeing an increase of plants that are producing and improving it. Tidal energy varies in design. It is considered to have high potential, because it is a form of hydropower that is drawn from orbital characteristics. A tidal generator converts the energy of tidal flow into electricity. It has become apparent that once competition increases, the availability of tidal power may be sizably reduced.

Like the renewable energy researchers and the EPA, more partnerships will form as we move forward into the future.  As collaborative efforts continue, we hope there will be more reward for companies who support an ecofriendly future. In the meantime, our government agencies alongside passionate marine and wildlife organizations offer education and support.

Maritime Labour Crisis

maritime labour crisisMaritime Labour Crisis: Canada Marine Sector Facing Labour Shortage

Globally, there is a looming shortage of employees in the marine sector and Canada is not exempt. Canada alone requires around 10,000 new employees, which is just 2% of the global requirement within the next decade. Marine personnel are required to replace retiring captains, officers, marine port workers and engineers. The problem is that the number of students enrolling in marine courses are dropping.

This is a major concern, not only being experienced in Canada, but across the globe; as young professionals are opting for different occupations. One of the main reasons for not joining the marine profession is due to the long time out at sea.

Global trade is dependent on ships to transport bulk cargo over long distances. Therefore, the trillion-dollar shipping industry can’t come to a stop. Canadian shipping companies, government and all stakeholders have been working hard to encourage young professionals to take maritime courses and join the profession. In order to keep the industry moving, there are certain strategies that are being implemented.

Simplified and Easier Acceptance in to Marine Courses

To help encourage more candidates to join maritime courses, pre-requisites have been changed, as well as the requirements for graduation. With a large deficit of over 1,000 marine jobs needing to be filled each year and an insufficient average graduate rate of just over 200 mariners each year, serious steps must be taken. Since the majority of personnel required in the marine shipping industry are related to manual labour jobs, or deck-hands as they are better known, the passing marks for these candidates are being relaxed, allowing more deck-hands to pass.

Remove Limitations Linked to Continuing Education While Still Working

While working on marine vessels, most professionals will need to work up the ladder to achieve higher ranks. Most intend on being promoted, however, a major concern linked to marine courses was the limitation on continuing education, without needing to take a break from work. Even with distance learning, mariners do not have the time to study while at sea. To alleviate this, shipping companies will have to allow for further education while still on duty. This could be accomplished through better communications technology and standard hours set aside for coursework.

High Salaries and Benefits in the Maritime Industry

The maritime industry have some of the highest paying jobs. Furthermore, employers pay for food, transport and all other expenses linked to their employees during voyages. In addition to this, mariners receive a compulsory 16-week paid sick leave, meaning they only work for 8 to 9 months a year, yet are paid for 12 months. With mariner jobs paying between $110,000 and $130,000 to captains, engineers and officers, with a whopping $75,000 to deckhands, those who join the profession can expect to be well compensated in a very short time. These attractive benefits could help lure more candidates in to joining the maritime profession and need to be communicated to the general public.

Pay scales are also expected to increase in this industry, due to the global shortage being experienced. Many international shipping companies are prepared to pay extra to fill their vessels’ vacancies and maintain productivity.

To combat and overcome the maritime labour crisis expected in the next decade, it’s important that all stakeholders work together in educating the public and young professionals regarding the benefits and importance of the industry. Presently, it has been noted that mariners tend to hide the privileges they get from the profession, so as to maintain a monopoly in the industry.

This has slowly grown to be a major problem, which has resulted in the reduced number of professionals joining maritime courses. This in turn, has resulted in the current global mariner shortage.

Canadian Ports Carbon Footprint

ports carbon footprintCanadian Ports Carbon Footprint: Encouraging Energy Efficiency through Incentives

Controlling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and pollution caused by the marine shipping industry has always been a serious problem. Many of the marine shipping vessel companies do implement carbon emission control norms and do their best to bring down their carbon foot print. To help boost the efforts by the shipping companies, Canadian ports have implemented the Echo Action and Green Wave programs to help further encourage shipping companies to control their ports carbon footprint.

Marine ports intend on running each shipping vessel through an emissions test, each time it enters the port. This is to determine the amount of emissions released by the vessel. The vessels will be examined and rated using an A-G rating.

Rewards of Meeting the Canadian Port Energy Efficiency and Pollution Standards

The reward for achieving low carbon emissions and pollution standards will be a 10% discount of the vessel’s sea harbour dues. This may not seem like much, but with vessels paying harbour dues based on the tonnage being loaded and offloaded from the vessel, the total costs are large and saving 10% is a great incentive for any shipping company. Many vessel owners visiting the Canadian ports have been noted to take radical action towards reducing carbon emissions and meeting the required pollution level recommendations.

Other areas that port authorities examine and evaluate on each vessel include:

Engine fuel consumption with relation to exhaust emission levels

When measuring a ship’s pollution level, the test begins from the tail pipe, where the exhaust is released by the vessel. Combustion gasses released through the exhaust are the most damaging to the environment and health, since they escape freely in to the atmosphere. Today, there are several technologies developed to help manage exhaust gases released by marine vessels, but the most efficient are carbon scrubbers. Carbon scrubbers help filter the exhaust gases, retaining the majority of Co2 in the scrubbers’ filter, which can later be disposed of in a safe manner. Vessels that use or install the scrubbers are more likely to score better grades and secure more discounts from the Canadian ports.

Oil and lubrication waste management

Vessels also require lubrication like oil and grease to function properly. Oil lubrication is one example of a lubricant which can be used and repacked for proper waste disposal or recycling. This means that shipping vessels must maintain an accurate record of all incoming and used lubrication, which will also contribute towards determining the vessel’s energy and fuel efficiency.

Human Waste Management

Another important area which shall be closely examined is the management of human waste. This includes sewage, laundry and any other polluted water which requires being treated and neutralized before being released in to the open ocean. There is also the concern linked to solid waste produced by the vessel’s employees while on voyages. In this case, a record of food stocks, consumption and the amounts of solid waste, like packaging, will be evaluated to determine how the vessel’s staff has been managing their synthetic waste. More waste will generally mean they stored synthetic packaging for proper processing while at port, while less waste will suggest they have been dumping their solid waste out at sea which is bad for marine life.

The discount incentives being offered by the Canadian ports have seen many of the regular shipping vessel owners taking the necessary steps to improve the energy efficiency of their ships. This is because being able to pass the test on just 10 visits will result in the company having saved full trip dues at the harbour.

Arctic Shipping in Canada

arctic shipping in canadaArctic Shipping in Canada: Is it in our future?

Global warming has been viewed as a drawback by many industries, but it brought with it a silver lining; the promise of some important arctic shipping lanes and routes in Canada being opened up. However, recent reports show that the opening of arctic shipping routes may be more of an illusion than a reality. The hesitation has been linked to the melting of sea ice, due to the climate change. Shipping insurance companies, as well as shipment clients are concerned regarding delays. Specifically, what if shipments are trapped or even sink in the arctic, due to the floating ice?

Since they have a wider choice of service providers, consumers have become much more sensitive and are not willing to compromise with the quality of the service they receive. As the competition in the shipping industry intensifies, shipping companies must take every aspect in to consideration to ensure they remain competitive.

Some major concerns raised regarding arctic shipping in Canada have been the shallow, unmarked passages which pose the extreme danger of the shipping vessel running aground. This could result in time wastage, damage, as well as extra costs linked to freeing vessels while in transit on the Canadian arctic shipping routes. Marking the arctic shipping lanes does not assure that the shipping companies will opt for this route. There are also additional constraints such as special modifications required on the hulls of arctic ships. The shipping vessels have to be modified to be icebreakers, in order to be able to use these shipping lanes.

Arctic shipping vessels are also considerably smaller than open ocean vessels, which is a major concern for any shipping company. Smaller means less cargo transported, which translates in to having to push up the cost of the cargo being shipped. In today’s competitive world, whereby the consumer is paying very close attention to cost, shipping companies cannot afford to hike shipping prices, as it will definitely result in loss of business.

It is these major concerns that have resulted in the proposition of Arctic shipping routes in Canada becoming more of an illusion then a reality. However, all’s not lost, since the arctic shipping lanes will remain very useful with respect to the transportation of mined raw materials. In demand resources such as coal, ore, oil and gas must continue to be shipped out of the region, despite the hardships and costs of shipping.