Potential strike threatens Vancouver port again

  • Market: Biomass, Crude oil, Fertilizers, Metals
  • 13/05/24

A labour dispute at the Canadian port of Vancouver could result in another work stoppage, less than a year after a strike disrupted the flow of more than C$10bn ($7.3bn) worth of goods and commodities ranging from canola and potash to coking coal.

Negotiations between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Ship and Dock Foremen Local 514 union have stalled as the two sides try to renew an agreement that expired on 1 April 2023.

A 21-day "cooling-off period" concluded on 10 May, giving the union the right to strike and the employers association the right to lock out the workers. A vote and 72-hour notice would first need to occur before either action is taken.

The BCMEA filed a formal complaint to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) the same day, which had to step in last year in another dispute.

The BCMEA locked horns with ILWU Canada over a separate collective agreement in 2023 leading to a 13-day strike by the union in July. This disrupted the movement of C$10.7bn of goods in and out of Canada, according to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

Vancouver's port is the country's largest — about the same size as the next five combined — and describes itself as able to handle the most diversified range of cargo in North America. There are 29 terminals belonging to the Port of Vancouver.

Terminals that service container ships endured the most significant congestion during last year's strike. Loadings for potash, sulphur, lumber, wood pellets and pulp, steel-making coal, canola, copper concentrates, zinc and lead concentrate, diesel and renewable diesel liquids and some agri-foods were also disrupted.

The Trans Mountain-operated Westridge Marine Terminal responsible for crude oil exports on Canada's west coast was unaffected.

A deal was eventually reached on 4 August.

The strike spurred on proposed amendments to legislation in Canada that would limitthe effect of job action on essential services. A bill introduced in Canada's Parliament in November would update the Canada Labour Code and CIRB Regulations accordingly. The bill has been progressing through the House of Commons, now having completed the second of three readings.


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Houston area refiners weather hurricane-force winds


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Houston, 17 May (Argus) — Over 2mn b/d of US refining capacity faced destructive winds Thursday evening as a major storm blew through Houston, Texas, but the damage reported so far has been minimal. Wind speeds of up to 78 Mph were recorded in northeast Houston and the Houston Ship Channel — home to five refineries with a combined 1.5mn b/d of capacity — faced winds up to 74 Mph, according to the National Weather Service . Further South in Galveston Bay, where Valero and Marathon Petroleum refineries total 818,000 b/d of capacity, max wind speeds of 51 Mph were recorded. Chevron's 112,000 b/d Pasadena refinery on the Ship Channel just east of downtown Houston sustained minor damage during the storm and continues to supply customers, the company said. ExxonMobil's 564,000 b/d Baytown refinery on the Ship Channel and 369,000 b/d Beaumont, Texas, refinery further east faced no significant impact from the storm and the company continues to supply customers, a spokesperson told Argus . Neither Phillips 66's 265,000 b/d Sweeny refinery southwest of Houston nor its 264,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery 140 miles east in Louisiana were affected by the storm, a spokesperson said. There was no damage at Motiva's 626,000 b/d Port Arthur, Texas, refinery according to the company. Marathon Petroleum declined to comment on operations at its 593,000 b/d Galveston Bay refinery. Valero, LyondellBasell, Pemex, Total, Calcasieu and Citgo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on operations at their refineries in the Houston area, Port Arthur and Lake Charles. A roughly eight-mile portion of the Houston Ship Channel from the Sidney Sherman Bridge to Greens Bayou closed from 9pm ET 16 May to 1am ET today when two ships brokeaway from their moorings, and officials looked in a potential fuel oil spill, according to the US Coast Guard. The portion that closed provides access to Valero's 215,000 b/d Houston refinery, LyondellBasell's 264,000 b/d Houston refinery and Chevron's Pasadena refinery. By Nathan Risser Houston area refineries Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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