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Canadian international merchandise trade, December 2014
Canada's imports increased by 2.3 percent in December and exports rose 1.5 percent. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world widened from $335 million in November to $649 million in December. Import volumes increased 2.8 percent, while prices declined 0.5 percent. Meanwhile, export volumes rose 3.5 percent, while prices declined 1.9 percent. Imports were 7.6 percent higher in 2014 than in 2013 while exports increased 10.3 percent. Consequently, Canada's annual merchandise trade balance with the world swung from a deficit of $7.2 billion in 2013 to a surplus of $5.2 billion in 2014.
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Canada, US reach agreement on new Detroit bridge
A tentative deal between Ottawa, Washington, and Michigan has been reached regarding the planning of a new US Customs plaza for the planned binational New International Trade Crossing.
Vehicle tolls will be reportedly used to pay for the $250-million plaza. Details are still being worked out and a formal announcement is expected to be made in March.
"It's been a long time coming, and we await the finer details, but on the surface this is excellent news," said Ontario Trucking Association president David Bradley, who commended the efforts of governments, stakeholders and business groups on both sides of the border in getting a deal done.
Transportation sector loses 8,600 jobs in January
Although the U.S. economy as a whole beat employment expectations, the transportation sector lost 8,600 jobs in January, according to preliminary data from the Labor Department
There were 4.7 million people employed in transportation-related industries in the U.S. in January.
Trucking led all transportation industries in job gains with an increase of 2,400 jobs to 1.443 million. The couriers and messengers industry saw the most jobs losses in January at 14,100.
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Canadian Pacific girds for strike putting earnings at risk
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is preparing to deploy managers to run trains if locomotive engineers, conductors and other workers walk off the job, Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel said.
A work stoppage by more than 3,000 locomotive workers represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference may start, according to the Calgary-based railroad. Canadian Pacific also is facing a possible strike by Unifor Local 101R, which represents about 1,650 maintenance and safety workers across Canada and has set the same deadline for reaching a deal.
Canadian National Railway ahead of required grain shipment volumes
The Wall Street Journal
Canadian National Railway Co. said it had moved 18 percent more grain by the end of January than in the comparable year-earlier crop year and is ahead of government-mandated grain-shipment volumes.
Last March, the Canadian government ordered the country's two biggest railways to carry a minimum amount of grain each week to deal with a backlog that kept one of Canada's most important commodities from reaching export markets in a timely fashion. The backlog raised the ire of Western Canadian farmers, who said it was in part due to the increased movement of crude by rail. A record crop was also a factor.
Canadian Pacific CFO to step down
Canadian Pacific announced that executive vice-president and chief financial officer Bart Demosky has decided to leave the company as of May 2015.
"After careful consideration and much discussion with Hunter, the Board of Directors and my family, I have decided to step down as CFO," said Demosky. "It was a difficult decision to make as it comes at an exciting time in the evolution of the company, but it also comes at the right time for me to focus on my family and other opportunities."
Ontario government sues CN rail for millions in firefighting costs
The province is seeking compensation from Canadian National Railway over four forest fires in 2012, including $38 million for a massive fire near Timmins.
The province is alleging the fires were started by passing trains. The other three court actions involve another fires near Timmins, Chapleau and Thunder Bay. The damages sought in those cases are between $1 million and $2 million each.
The $38 million court action involves a fire called Timmins 9.
Freightliner dealer to build APG dual-fuel vocational trucks
Harrison Truck Centers, a Freightliner-Western Star dealer in Iowa, will introduce a diesel-natural gas fueling system on severe-duty glider-kitted trucks, using a Turbocharged Natural Gas Dual Fuel System from American Power Group, the two companies announced.
In collaboration with WheelTime Network's Interstate Power Systems, Harrison will install dual-fuel systems and associated natural gas storage tanks at its glider kit production facility in Elk Run Heights, Iowa.
Union reacts to new Port Metro Vancouver trucking commissioner
The Vancouver Sun
The union representing container truck drivers at Port Metro Vancouver claims the hiring of a new trucking commissioner is a "blatant conflict of interest."
The British Columbia government has appointed Andy Smith as the container trucking commissioner, but Unifor spokesman Gavin McGarrigle said that Smith is the CEO for the B.C. Maritime Employers Association. He said that creates a bias because Smith speaks for terminal operators who pay for waiting times.
Hydrogen fuel cell power arrives for medium-duty trucks
As automakers begin to launch hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, Hydrogenics' new Celerity system promises medium- and heavy-duty truck fleets the opportunity to join the fuel-cell fray.
Built on the low-pressure, non-humidified stack technology Hydrogenics has been developing for the past 15 years and used in its other systems, Celerity is an all-inclusive hydrogen fuel-cell system designed for the medium- and heavy-duty truck and bus markets.
Port Metro Vancouver releases statement on new TLS
Peter Xotta, vice-president of planning and operations for Port Metro Vancouver released a statement recently regarding its new Truck Licensing System.
The TLS is part of the Joint Action Plan agreed to by the driver representatives and the provincial and federal governments last year.
"Reforms to the licensing system include reducing the number of trucks approved to provide service to port terminals," the statement read.
Air cargo emissions forecasted to increase
Air Cargo World
IATA has set the goal of achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and reducing 50 percent in net emissions by 2050, reducing the carbon footprint produced by moving cargo by air. It's an important goal, given that the International Transport Forum has estimated that CO2 emissions from freight transport will grow by 290 percent by 2050, and emissions will grow 286 percent in the same period with volumes transported reaching as much as 767 million tonnes.
IATA — Air Cargo ends 2014 on a positive note
The International Air Transport Association released full-year air cargo data for 2014 showing 4.5 percent demand growth compared to 2013 measured by freight tonne kilometers. That is a significant acceleration from the 1.4 percent recorded in 2013 over 2012. Air cargo market expansion gathered momentum as 2014 progressed. The year finished on a positive note, with growth in December accelerating to 4.9 percent, compared to December 2013. The vast majority of the growth in 2014, however, was in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, which respectively contributed 46 percent and 29 percent of the expansion in FTKs. Growth was recorded in all other regions, but was particularly weak in Latin America.
Air Canada and UNITE reach tentative agreement on new contract
Air Canada announced that it has reached a tentative collective agreement with UNITE for the airline's U.K.-based workforce.
The agreement is subject to ratification by the union membership. Details of the agreement will not be released pending ratification and approval by the Air Canada board of directors.
UNITE represents approximately 200 Air Canada concierge service, cargo and clerical staff based in the United Kingdom.
Dubai still reigns as cargo central
Air Cargo World
Dubai Airports, operator of Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central, also called Al Maktoum International, reported that the combined freight handled by both facilities jumped 18.1 percent in 2014, further strengthening the Middle East's position as a world trade center. At nearby Abu Dhabi, freight volume jumped 17 percent in 2014.
Breaking out Dubai's two airports, DXB actually handled 3.1 percent less cargo in 2014, at 2.4 million tonnes, whereas DWC handled 758,371 tonnes, an increase of 262.5 percent.
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Analyst: West Coast port congestion could cost retailers $36.9 billion over 24 months
West Coast port congestion issues could cost retailers as much as $7 billion this year, according to a Kurt Salmon analysis. Work stoppage threats and major trade associations' calls for federal intervention have retailers and consumer products companies on high alert. The National Retail Federation and National Association of Manufacturers estimate that the impact of a 10-day shutdown could be as much as $2.1 billion per day on the overall economy.
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