CMC Annual Meeting set for May 21st, 2009
The Annual Meeting of Members of the Chamber of Marine Commerce will be held on Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 10.30 a.m. at the Renaissance Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre, Collingwood Room, 801 Dixon Road, Toronto, Ontario. Members are welcome to attend the Annual Meeting in person or participate by conference call.
CMC members are also invited to submit nominations for candidates to serve on the board of directors. The deadline for receiving nominations is April 8, 2009. For further information, please contact Stephen Brooks.
European free trade bill moves closer to becoming law
Bill C-2, the Canada-European Free Trade Bill, moved another step closer to becoming law last week as it finally reached 3rd reading in the House of Commons. While Bill C-2 will implement a number of treaties already signed by Canada, the important treaty for the marine industry is a multilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between Canada and the member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), i.e., Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
Of particular interest to the marine industry, C-2 will gradually eliminate the 25% tariff on imported vessels from EFTA countries over a phase-out period of up to 15 years. Although this bill as been generally opposed by Canada's shipbuilding industry, Gerald Keddy, MP (South Shore–St. Margaret's) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, notes "This gives our shipbuilders a considerable amount of time to adjust to a duty-free environment, and represents the longest industrial tariff phase-out period ever obtained on a Canadian import in any of our free trade agreements."
GLPA hikes tariffs
Following meetings with marine industry stakeholders, the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority (GLPA) has gone ahead with changes in tariffs for 2009 amounting to a net 8% increase. The GLPA cites existing debt and the need to maintain an oversupply of employee pilots due to its lack of flexibility to meet fluctuating industry demand for pilots as reasons for the increase. "High delay cost to the users would result in the event GLPA could not increase pilot numbers in a timely fashion," wrote GLPA President, Robert Lemire.
U.S. HMT bill re-introduced in Congress
On January 14th, Congressman McHugh introduced H.R. 528, the Short Sea Shipping Act of 2009, a bill to encourage the development of short sea shipping services. The bill provides an exemption to the Harbor Maintenance Tax for non-bulk cargo transported between any two U.S. Ports, or, transported between a Canadian port and a U.S. Port on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System. The legislation includes the entire United States (this is not a “Great Lakes only" bill). Further, the legislation redefines the Seaway System so that Nova Scotia ports are included.
The U.S. Harbor Maintenance Tax has been a key impediment to the establishment of new shipping services. Because the Harbor Maintenance Tax is only assessed on cargo if it moves by ship, the tax serves as a disincentive to move freight by water. As such, the tax actually encourages greater highway congestion and resulting fuel consumption and air pollution.
Guy Dufresne honoured with prestigious award
Last month in Denver, Colorado, at the Annual General Meeting of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (AIME/SME) in front of a record 4,600 attendees, Mr. Guy Dufresne was awarded the Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal "For leading the financial restructuring of Québec Cartier Mining Company (now ArcelorMittal Mines Canada) while maintaining operational excellence, which positioned their iron ore products to serve niche markets and the company for future growth.¨
Mr. Dufresne held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Québec Cartier Mining Company from 1992 to 2006 and served as Chair of the Chamber of Marine Commerce for 11 years.
Gordon Houston retires, Port Metro Vancouver appoints Robin Silvester
Port Metro Vancouver has appointed Robin Silvester as the new President and Chief Executive Officer, replacing Gordon Houston, who retires after serving with the port for 20 years, most recently overseeing the impressive amalgamation of the three area ports.
Silvester is currently based in Australia as Chief Executive of United Group Services ANZ, an organization that focuses on property and facilities management in Australia and New Zealand.
“The Board is confident that Robin has the knowledge and experience to successfully lead and grow our business to deliver optimum economic benefits to our country, and do so in consideration of the environment and our local communities,” said Port Metro Vancouver Chair Sarah Morgan-Silvester.
Government of Canada delivers marine simulator to Nova Scotia
The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, recently
announced the transfer of a world-class marine training simulator to the Province of Nova Scotia, along with federal funding for the Province to modernize the simulator.
Nova Scotia Community College is the recipient of the simulator, which will contribute to the continued regulatory training and certification of Canadian seafarers at the College's Nautical Institute in Port Hawkesbury.
"Our Government is taking action to create new jobs and expand our economy by investing in this state-of-the-art marine simulator," said Minister MacKay. "Given the forecasted increase in global marine traffic and shortage
of mariners, this simulator will ensure that the Nova Scotia Community College is equipped to respond to the increased Canadian and worldwide demand for qualified sailors."
Industry continues with lawsuit against NY
The Chamber of Marine Commerce is party to a marine industry lawsuit against the State of New York's proposed regulations for EPA vessel permitting pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act.
Early in the New Year, the industry coalition involved in the suit registered some success in gaining acknowledgement -- and a waiver -- to an original regulatory condition which would have prevented laker vessels that begin transits upbound east of Montreal from transiting through New York waters without first going back out to the Gulf of St. Lawrence to flush ballast tanks.
Notwithstanding this win, other important issues remain, including future ballast treatment requirements that require ships to clean ballast to a degree not even capable by existing technology, as well as issues related to other vessel discharges, and the question of how New York can regulate vessel ballast water even for vessels that transit yet do not discharge in New York waters.
U.S. Seaway gets green light on asset renewal program
The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation's (SLSDC) ambitious program to overhaul the locks and channels of the American section of the St. Lawrence Seaway has received a major boost as the U.S. House of Representatives approved the conference report on a funding bill for the U.S. Department of Transportation which should fully fund the first installment of the SLSDC's Asset Renewal Program, the most comprehensive infrastructure investment made by the SLSDC since the system opened for business fifty years ago. The legislation now goes on to the Senate which is expected to make few, if any, changes to the final document before the bill goes to President Obama's desk for signature.
Port of Toledo appoints new leader
The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Board of Directors has selected Michael J. Stolarczyk as the new President and CEO. Mr. Stolarczyk will assume his new role on April 1, 2009.
“Mike has an impeccable background and brings a new perspective and the cohesive management skills and expertise that our board sought after in a new leader”, says William J. Carroll, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Chairman.
Mr. Stolarczyk was most recently employed as Senior Director, Business Development, with Exel Inc., a contract logistics provider in the Americas with over 500 sites throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America.