The Canadian Pilot

Message from the President

In the last issue of The Canadian Pilot, my comments focused on change and constancy. Despite experiencing significant change at what seem to be faster and faster rates, we all continue to live our lives and carry out our work with largely the same norms, values and principles that have long guided us. This may seem paradoxical, but I believe it is this balance between change and constancy that allows us to move forward in an orderly way.

The recent federal election is a good example of this. As a result of the election, a new Parliament (the 42nd) will meet and it will include over 200 new Members of the House of Commons. There is also a new Cabinet line-up, along with new parliamentary committee members and chairs. This will lead to new orientations in government policy and programs, but these will occur in a context of a government organization and bureaucracy that ensures continuity. And that’s good! Change is sometimes necessary, but it works best in a framework that acknowledges what has come before and is informed by experience and tradition.

More examples of change are explored and discussed elsewhere in this issue. One article identifies global trends that are likely to have a major impact on shipping in the coming years. Other articles feature short notes on new incumbents to government positions of key importance to the transportation sector. All of these developments will inevitably result in changes affecting all of us. For marine pilots, this can mean different conditions under which we practice our profession, as well as new policy approaches that impact marine transportation and safety. It also means that we will need to continue being actively involved in the processes affecting marine transportation, not just so that decision-makers appreciate the role that pilotage plays within the marine sector, but also in order to continue doing our part to ensure that the role of marine transportation itself within the Canadian economy is valued.

Pilots have always been open to change and we welcome the opportunities to explore change that will result from global developments and trends, as well as new government dynamics here in Canada. Our willingness to embrace change is actually made even stronger by our confidence that change will always take into account and reflect what has been accomplished and learned over decades of public service performed well and generating great results.

Simon Pelletier

OUR GUEST: Ms. Kathy Fox, Chair, Transportation Safety Board

Editor’s Note: The CMPA is delighted to welcome the Chair of the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), Ms. Kathy Fox, as the guest columnist in this issue of The Canadian Pilot. Ms. Fox became a Member of the Board in 2007 before being appointed Chair in August 2014. She began her career in 1974 with Transport Canada working in air control towers before taking charge, in 1982, of air traffic control training at the CEGEP Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu,a program coordinated by Transport Canada and the Quebec Ministry of Education.

Ms. Fox left operational controlling in 1992 to accept an assignment with Air Traffic Services Headquarters in Ottawa, assuming progressively senior positions. She transferred to NAV CANADA in 1996 where she eventually became Vice-President, Operations, in 2003. Ms. Fox holds a MBA from McGill University and a Master’s Degree in Human Factors and System Safety from Lund University in Sweden. She is also an experienced pilot, having flown over 5,000 hours, and flight instructor.

Canada’s transportation system is vital to our economy, and our vast network of waterways is a key part of getting goods and raw materials to and from markets. Marine pilots are an important link in the chain, their knowledge and skills helping to ensure each voyage begins and ends safely.

At the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), safety is our goal, too. For over 25 years, we’ve investigated accidents in the marine, pipeline, rail and air modes of transportation. When accidents occur, we dig deep to find out what happened, and then we dig deeper still to learn why. Because it’s only when you understand the causes and contributing factors of an occurrence that you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.

We don’t point fingers either – because blame doesn’t prevent accidents. Moreover, our Act states clearly that witness statements are privileged, and cannot be used against the individual in any legal, disciplinary or administrative processes. That means the people involved can speak to us freely, without blame or fear of reprisal – thereby keeping the focus on what matters most: safety.

Investigations are a collaborative effort, and we work with everyone: first responders, crews, operators, manufacturers, industry representatives, regulators – all to improve safety from coast to coast to coast. And once we’ve learned everything we can, we make sure to inform our stakeholders and the Canadian public and, where appropriate, make recommendations so that those best placed to take action can do so.

Sometimes, though, people still have questions about how we carry out our work – or maybe they’re just curious about how we’ve managed to become a world leader in accident investigation. To make sure we respond to every query, we’re active on social media – including Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. We also produce a blog and have a dynamic website filled with news releases, articles, investigation reports and presentations, contact information, and an occurrence-reporting form (1808). As well, we have a 24-hour confidential reporting program, SECURITAS, which lets anyone report by phone or e-mail any concerns they may have about safety in the transportation system.

And just like a good bridge team, we’re always keeping one eye on what’s ahead, looking for ways to do our job even better. As the times (not to mention technology!) have changed, so have we. But one thing remains constant, and that’s our vow to earn, and keep, the public’s trust. No doubt, pilots feel the same way. Because there’s not a single person in this country whose life isn’t impacted in some way by transportation, or transportation safety. Which makes what we do – all of us – matter even more.

A Look Back...

St. John’s Welcomes its Largest Cruise Ship Ever!

Two experienced Newfoundland pilots, Capt. Paul Kean and Capt. Lou Power, played a key role last September in the successful visit to St. John’s of the cruise ship Regal Princess, the largest ever to enter the city’s harbour. Safely transiting the Narrows in St. John’s requires having expert knowledge of local conditions and navigational hazards, but this necessity is even more acute for a vessel of the size of the Regal Princess – 330 meters long and 38 meters wide. Here, the cruise ship, with approximately 5,000 passengers and crewmembers on board, has just made its way out of the narrow notch between the rocks of the harbour.

The Marine Simulation Centre Celebrates 10 Years of Excellence!

The Maritime Simulation and Resource Centre, a component of the Corporation of Lower St. Lawrence Pilots, celebrated its 10th anniversary last October in Quebec City. The Centre not only provides training for apprentice pilots and licensed Lower St. Lawrence Pilots but also for pilots from many other Canadian pilotage districts. The Centre also regularly welcomes pilots from outside of Canada and has also played a crucial role in the development of various marine infrastructure projects, both in Canada and internationally. Here, the President of the Corporation of Lower St. Lawrence Pilots, Capt. Simon Mercier (on the right), is with Mr. Mario Girard, President and CEO of the Port of Quebec (on the left) and the Honourable, Jean D’Amour, the Government of Quebec Minister for Transport and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy.

On the Road!

IMPA and CMPA President, Capt. Simon Pelletier, delivered a keynote address at the “Pilotage and Port Logistics” conference organized by the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute in Sydney, Australia, last October before meeting with the Korean Marine Pilots’ Association, in Seoul, where IMPA will hold its 23rd biennial Congress next September. Capt. Pelletier also met with the Japan Federation of Pilots’ Associations in Tokyo. While in Seoul, he also had the pleasure of meeting with the incoming Secretary-General of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, Mr. Lim Ki-tack (on the left) who will be taking office in January 2016. IMPA Secretary-General, Mr. Nick Cutmore (on the right), also played a key role in the various meetings and events that were held during the tour.

50th Anniversary of the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association 1966-2016

In 1966, the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association was formed as a national organization with the objective of promoting marine safety and providing a united voice for pilots. During 2016, the CMPA will commemorate the 50th anniversary of this important occasion through a number of initiatives.

The Spring 2016 issue of The Canadian Pilot will include articles exploring the history of the association and discussing developments in pilotage that have taken place over the last half century. Contributions from readers, particularly in the form of anecdotes and photographs, would be most welcome!

The CMPA also plans to hold a celebration in the first part of the year to mark the 50th anniversary and hope that the event will be on the social calendar of as many of our friends and partners as possible.

Infrastructure, Technology and Economics:
3 Factors that will have a Major Impact on Shipping

Maritime shipping is the lynchpin of the global economy; it remains the only cost-effective method of bulk transport over great distances. That’s why 90% of world trade moves by sea – a staggering 10 billion tonnes of cargo annually. So, it’s worth taking a look at some of the key developments that are going to drive trends in maritime transportation.

1. Infrastructure

The infrastructure most closely associated with shipping is, of course, ports with their gigantic terminals, storage facilities, and surface transportation connections. But it is the huge canal projects just being completed or getting underway that will have the biggest impact on shipping in the next few years, affecting the size of ships and the routes they take.

The Suez and Panama Canals have just completed major expansions to accommodate increased traffic volumes and bigger ships. The Suez Canal has been deepened and a new 22-mile lane created, branching off the main channel, allowing – for the first time – two-way traffic. The reduction in ship wait times will mean significant operating cost savings for shipping lines. The $8.5 billion project could double the value of Suez Canal traffic by 2023. The $5.2 billion Panama Canal expansion creates a new lane of traffic with a new set of locks, thereby doubling the waterway’s capacity. The largest “Post-Panamax” sized vessels will be able to transit the Canal, thereby avoiding longer, costlier routes.

Meanwhile, a rather controversial plan to construct a new canal in Nicaragua would provide another connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The $50-billion, 173-mile project would be longer than the Panama Canal and would provide another transit option for Post-Panamax vessels carrying LNG and oil. Prospects for the waterway’s completion are, however, clouded by unresolved environmental questions and uncertainty about its Chinese-based financing.

Chinese interests are also behind several Central and South American transcontinental rail projects, one of which is described as a “dry canal” across Colombia, linking the Caribbean to the Pacific. Another sea-to-sea project is proposed for Honduras, involving two ports and 375 miles of rail line. Yet another rail project – this one 10 times as long – would stretch from one coast of the continent to the other, across Brazil and Peru. The realities of politics, environmental concerns, wariness of China and, most recently, China’s own economic troubles, all mean these projects may never see the light of day. If they do, however, they would constitute game-changers for shipping interests.

2. Technology

The wider canals, just now going into service or being constructed, will help drive the trend already underway to create new designs for larger ships in response to the elimination of what has been known as the “Panamax constraint”. These new vessels promise a cleaner and greener future for maritime transportation. It will certainly be more fuel-efficient: the larger the ship, the less fuel it uses, as measured per tonne mile of cargo it carries. Fuel savings could be as high as 16%.

One of the most promising new technologies for these new, larger ships is something called “air lubrication”, a cover of air bubbles that encases the hull of the ship. Air, blown out of holes in the ship’s hull, acts as a lubricant between the vessel and the water, reducing drag by up to 80%. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has started to commercialize what it calls the “Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System” and its general application is expected to follow.

Another eco-driven emerging technology is focused on the ship’s engine room. Relatively small vessels (300 feet) are now being commissioned with generators and batteries as well as diesel engines to allow for hybrid motive power. The possibility of energy savings in the order of 25% is being touted for hybrid propulsion systems.

3. Economics

Global GDP is expected to grow at around 3% per year over the next several decades. While growth of non-OECD countries, especially in Asia, will continue to outpace that of OECD countries, the difference will narrow.

From over 7% per year over the last decade, non-OECD growth will decline to around 5% in the 2020s and to about half that by 2050, whereas growth within the OECD will rise over the same period from averages between 1 and 1¾% to 2¼ and 3% per year. Despite this trend to balancing the growth rates of Asia and the West, the relative size of world economies will continue to change. Faster growth in China and India will result in their combined GDPs surpassing that of all the G7 economies by 2060.

For the shipping industry, these projections imply continued growth in cargo volumes as economies expand. It also suggests a new balance in the relationship between the world’s two major trading blocs – the West and Asia. Continued economic growth in countries like China and India will result in an ever-expanding middle class, with the purchasing power to acquire the same type of manufactured goods that have been staples of Western consumer societies for decades. For the last few decades, the traffic pattern has been raw materials moving to Asia and manufactured products making their way back to the West. The growth in Asian economic purchasing power and consumer demand will mean more balance in terms of the products moving between west and east.

Tensions in the Middle East and North Africa remain a dangerous geo-political reality and could very well only get worse in the years ahead. Because some of the world’s most important shipping lanes cross through this unstable region, maritime traffic will continue to be exposed to significant risk and extra cost. Piracy, conflict between states and terrorism all pose serious security threats to commercial vessels and their crews. Unfortunately, early resolution to any of these problems is not likely.


Despite the inevitable challenges facing global shipping, there are exciting new developments on the horizon that are likely to result in an industry that is more efficient and more cost-effective. The future also promises continued growth, but challenges exist particularly related to safety and security. Diligence and collaboration will be more important than ever.

New Government Leaders in the Marine Sector

On 04 November, Canada’s 29th Ministry was sworn in by the Governor General and marine pilots join many others in extending best wishes to the new federal Cabinet. In particular, CMPA welcomes the Honourable Marc Garneau as Minister of Transport and looks forward to working with him to ensure Canada has a safe and efficient marine transportation system.

Marine pilots collaborate with a number of federal government agencies with responsibilities related to the maritime sector, and some of the most important of these agencies have relatively new leaders. While their appointments are not quite as recent as Minister Garneau’s, the Deputy Minister of Transport, the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Chair of the Canadian Transportation Agency have all taken on their new roles this year.

Jean-François Tremblay
Deputy Minister, Transport, Infrastructure & Communities

Transport Canada is the lead department responsible for policy regarding maritime safety and security. In addition to overseeing the work of the country’s four regional pilotage authorities, the department enforces federal legislation governing water transportation. Transport Canada also has an oversight role in respect of the country’s principal ports, the St. Lawrence Seaway and international shipping protocols.

Appointed Deputy Minister in June 2015, Mr. Tremblay says his role is “to serve the public interest by promoting safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible transportation in all modes.” Previously, Mr. Tremblay served as a Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, advising on a range of issues including regional development, social policy and regulatory affairs. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Université Laval.

Looking ahead, the Deputy Minister cited the imminent report of the panel reviewing the Canada Transportation Act as an important milestone that could impact governance and service delivery models for key federal entities such as the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Canadian pilotage authorities, the Seaway, and port authorities.

Mr. Tremblay says maintaining strong relations with stakeholders such as CMPA is “one way I can learn more about our transportation system. Our relationship is critical to promote safe and efficient marine transportation in this country. Many thanks to your association for helping maintain the high standards of the marine sector in Canada.”

Jody Thomas
Commissioner, Canadian Guard

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is a Special Operating Agency under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, delivering a number of marine services. These include maritime security, marine navigation and vessel traffic services, icebreaking, search and rescue, and environmental response services.

Jody Thomas was appointed Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard in January 2015. She is the first woman to hold the job. Commissioner Thomas has 25-year career in the federal public service. This includes roles government offices in British Columbia, with Passport Canada (as Chief Operating Officer) and, most recently, at the Canadian Coast Guard as Deputy Commissioner. She has also held numerous positions at sea and at Maritime Command HQ.

Commissioner Thomas holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University and a Commission in the Navy (Naval Reserve).

“Bringing the most modern and effective navigation technologies into service is a never-ending challenge, and one in which I believe Canada excels. An example is the success of our e-navigation portal, where pilots can gain immediate access to reliable, real-time navigational information, from ice to weather to the movement of other vessels and more,” Commissioner Thomas said. “We remain deeply committed to continuing what has been a very fruitful partnership with pilots for the benefit of all Canadians and indeed all mariners who travel through our waters.”

Scott Streiner
Chair, Canadian Transportation Agency

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is an independent tribunal that makes decisions on a wide range of economic matters involving all modes of transportation. The Agency is responsible for administering certain provisions of transport-related federal legislation, including the Canada Marine Act and The Pilotage Act. The CTA also serves as a dispute resolution authority for certain transportation rate and service complaints, including port authority user fees, pilotage authority tariffs, the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act, and contested coasting trade applications.

Scott Streiner, a long-time federal public servant, was named Chair of the CTA in June 2015. Most recently, Mr. Streiner served as the Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet for Economic and Regional Development. In this role, Streiner worked closely with the now-Deputy Minister of Transport, Jean- François Tremblay, who was also advising Cabinet at that time. This past collaboration bodes well for cooperation in their current roles at Transport Canada and the CTA.

Moreover, Mr. Streiner previously worked at Transport Canada, serving as Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy. The understanding he gained there of key transportation policy issues will be a considerable asset in his role as CTA Chair. Mr. Streiner says this is an exciting time to be leading the 111-year-old regulator and independent tribunal. “Canada’s vast size and integration into global markets mean that individuals and businesses rely on transportation services to connect them to each other and the world – and will increasingly do so, given trends in travel and trade. The Agency is ready to play its part in ensuring that the transportation system meets those needs and contributes to the country’s economic and social well-being.”

Mr. Streiner holds a BA from the Department of East Asian Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a MA in International Affairs and a PhD in Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa. In addition to his full-time responsibilities at the CTA, Streiner is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science at Carleton.

From Your Vantage Point

This issue’s Vantage Point is courtesy of Capt. Simon Pelletier, from the Lower St. Lawrence pilotage district, and was taken on the Saguenay River. Cover photographs are courtesy of Capt. Martin Mangan, from the Upper St. Lawrence pilotage district (photograph on the left), and of Capt. Pelletier.

Marine pilots operate around the clock, coast to coast, at times in fair weather and in spectacular surroundings and, at other times, in conditions that are extremely challenging. We welcome all photographs that convey the experience of pilots and highlight the nature of their work.