Canada stands out as a trade-dependent country. Thus, it finds its prosperity quite tied towards international commerce. The statement above means that import and export trade constitutes over half the GDP of Canada. For quite some long time in the history of Canada’s international trade, the United States has been the leading destination of Canada’s export merchandise. However, the high Canadian dollar, the Asian economies competition, as well as the thickening of the border have greatly decreased Canada’s trade with the United States. In light of the above, it has become clear that Canada must diversify in international trade in the pursuit of maintaining or improving its balance of trade. Effective and efficient transportation networks stand out as the most important aspects affecting the success of international trade. For a country to utilize all its potentials while finding a place in the global trade, it must figure out the best means with which to transport its merchandise safely, efficiently, and conveniently. The report below will address marine transport in Canada. It will reflect upon various factors and aspects of sea transport about how it best features as the best transportation mode applicable by Canada it its quest for keeping up with the global economy.
As highlighted in the Executive Summary, the decrease of trade between Canada and the United States had to open Canada’s eyes towards diversifying its international trade (Lynch and Sendal 1). Diversifying international trade for Canada means actions such as joining in negotiating in Trans-Pacific Partnership, opening bilateral trade discussions with huge economies of Asia such as India and Japan. Ideally, it is such actions that have helped Canada to stay on track with respect to global trade relevance. However, taking full advantage of the available opportunities in international trade, Canada has invested admirably in transport networks. The rationale for the above is ensuring that both the operations and the infrastructure are reliable, efficient, safe, and not cost intensive. Rail, air, and marine transport feature as the most key gateways opening up Canada for global trade. There are quite some innovations and superior infrastructure developed by the Canadian government for the purpose of utilizing the most out of international trade. Marine transport, however, stands out as the most fitting gateway with respect to the sustainability of all kinds of international trade in Canada. This mode of transportation is the best supporting Canada’s efforts in keeping pace with the global economy through investment and innovation in moving goods in an efficient, safe, secure and environmentally sustainable manner.”
Overview of Canada’s Marine Transportation
Notably, the marine industry in Canada is composed of international shippers that call at various major ports along the country’s coastlines as well as domestic operators who to some extent feature in international shipping as well. The domestic operators operate majorly under four geographical frontiers: the Northern Region, the Pacific West Coast, Region, the Atlantic Region, and the Great Lakes (Government of Canada 1).
The Pacific West Coast features the transportation of cargo using inland waterways such as the Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River. There are many private and state operators in this region such as the Pacific Towering Services Ltd and the Seaspan Marine Corporation. B.C. Ferries also operates some ferries in the Pacific West Coast Region. The Great Lakes Region features vessels with capacity limits stipulated by the St. Lawrence Seaway system. Major marine carriers in the Great Lakes region include the Canada Steamship Lines, Fednav International, and Groupe Desganges – it features private and government-owned investments. The Atlantic Region on the other hand features diversified sea transport activities such as the transportation of containers, the shuttling of crude oil, as well as the provision of winter and intra-provincial ferry services. Also notable from the above region is the fact that it is home to Canada’s shipbuilding history as is the case with Halifax Shipyards. Finally, the Northern Region that features the eastern and the western Arctic marine systems help in playing a very key marine transport role in Canada. Ideally, it stands out as the channel through which community resupply and resource development happen in Northern Canada.
Across all the regions above, the ports and harbors of Canada feature as very integral aspects in the transportation system of Canada. They provide the necessary gateways facilitating economic activities both domestically and internationally. The Marine transport infrastructure in Canada features over 540 standard sea ports. It also boasts of over 940 small fishing harbors (Government of Canada 1). According to the National Marine Policy, the ports fall into three categories: remote ports, regional ports, Canada Port Authorities (CPA). The most important aspect of the Marine transport infrastructure in Canada is the fact that all ports that support international shipping include a direct link to Canada’s railway network.
With respect to safety, the presence of the Canadian Coast Guard enables Canada to administer and ensure good influence over the use of its coastline waters. The rationale for the incorporation of the services by the Canadian Coast Guard is to ensure secure, clean, safe, and productive coastline waters. To arrive at the above, the Canadian Coast Guard features the following activities: marine navigation, maritime security, marine traffic and communications management, environmental response services as well as icebreaking. Pilotage is also a key component of marine transport safety in Canada. Featured across all the four major sea port regions in Canada as highlighted above, it is a practice that facilitates the provision of reliable, safe, and environmentally friendly developments in relation to marine transport infrastructure in Canada.
One sure thing is the fact that the last ten years has been on various economic issues. For instance, the economic downturn and financial crisis spanning between the year 2007 and 2011 impacted significantly on the Canadian economy as well (Government of Canada 1). However, the government initiated various measures to hedge the marine transportation sector in the pursuit of optimizing its efficiency as a tool for expanding international trade for Canada even during financial crisis periods. A good example is the amendments to the Canadian Marine in the year 2008 (Government of Canada 1). The above amendment enhanced the flexibility with which the Canada Port Authorities established initiatives for increasing the generation of revenues through the strengthening of international relations favoring Canada’s involvement in the Asia-Pacific Economic trades.
During the last decade as well, the federal government also updated the governance and legal structural framework for the CPAs seeking to pursue better commercial opportunities aimed at supporting maritime transportation as Canada’s avenue to successful international trade.
Figure 1: Map Showing Port Authorities across Canada
The Canadian Marine Act Amendment of the year 2008, for instance, allowed them bigger borrowing limits thus increasing their investment opportunities (Government of Canada 1). This means that the government believes that maritime transport is the best gateway for international trade excellence for Canada.
Other than the development and establishment of factors promoting Canadian maritime ports, Canada also participated in various other activities intended to promote maritime transportation with the aim of opening Canada further in terms of international trade. Since the year 2008, the government of Canada has either acceded to or ratified over a dozen of IMO Conventions aimed at protecting biodiversity, goods, vessels, and individuals with respect to maritime transportation environment. In terms of security, ports, terminal operators, maritime vessel operators and maritime facilities have also been made able to apply funds aimed at improving their security measures as stipulated under the provisions of the MTSR (International Maritime Organization 1).
Economic Infrastructural Framework
The choice of maritime transport as the best mode applicable in helping Canada feature the most in global trade also stands out as a result of the nature of maritime transport about international trade. As mentioned earlier, the diversification of Canada’s international trade from just the United States to other huge economies in Europe and Asia leaves maritime transportation as the most economically logical gateway transport system (Lynch and Sendal 1).
The rationale for the above finds its basis upon the geographical location of Canada. Notably, Canada lies in a geographical area that harbors numerous international shipping routes that provide easy and fast links opening up North America to numerous other world regions, as shown in the figure below.
Figure 2: Canada and it Oceans
For instance, most of the present international container lines have establishments in Canadian ports – both as independent lines or as members of the container shipping companies. The above can be seen through the establishment of the following giant container lines in Canadian ports: Maersk, OOCL, APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hanjin Shipping, Mediterranean Shipping, and CMA CGM (Government of Canada 1). The presence of international container lines makes it easy to internationally ship break-bulk cargo across various trade routes within numerous fixed schedules. As a result, they make international shipping easy, reliable, affordable and easily affordable. Ideally, the only gateway for international trade between Canada and the large economies in Europe and Asia are air and maritime transport. However, with respect to the profit maximization and business sustainability, sea transport features as the most economically efficient of the two. As a result, investing in maritime infrastructure in the process of promoting Canada’s international trade relevance stands out as the most rational way forward.
In the current world, the issue of environmental conservation is one key aspect that determines the efficiency of any economic activities applied across various industries. In light of the above, even the choice of the best transportation system to feature in the pursuit of utilizing global opportunities. Canada’s maritime transportation system meets quite significant environmental standards as expected by the international community. This is one key aspect that makes sea transport the best choice with respect to the application for global trade. The fact that there are various initiatives to avoid or control pollution issues makes it a green field for investors seeking approval from the international community.
In July 2011, Canada joined the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in establishing the first efficient energy international standards aimed at reducing green-house-gas emissions from cargo ships. In light of the above, new ships made after the year 2013 now include a Shipboard Energy Efficiency Management Plan that details the action a ship plans to take in the pursuit of increasing its efficiency. Canada participated a lot in the funding towards a study by IMO’s Secretariat aimed at examining the reduction of green-house-gasses emissions in the shipping industry. Such actions and participation in global environmental conservation measures with respect to maritime transportation stands out as a good promoter for investment in the maritime transportation industry in Canada. That is, according to the current global trends, initiatives with environmental conservations backgrounds attract more investment opportunities. Among all Canada’s transportation modes, maritime transportation stands as the one with the best environmental measures within its structure, thus the best to apply for global economic expansion purposes.
Canada is proud of large, safe and one of the most secure maritime transport systems in the entire world. Such a status is very crucial towards creating the best atmosphere for trade with regards to positively driving its general prosperity in terms of playing bigger roles in the global economy. The security of a transportation system is one vital necessity that investors, both domestic and international lay much emphasis upon before undertaking any investment measures. The presence of the Maritime Transportation Security Act helps a lot in ensuring the security of all state-owned and private marine transport related investments in Canada. The provisions of the act include security measures relating from major terroristic attacks to minor unlawful inferences. The implementation and of the above act of maritime security, maritime security operations falls under the jurisdiction of Transport Canada.
However, there are various other regulatory initiatives around the maritime transportation systems in Canada that together with Transport Canada work towards ensuring that maritime transport stands out as the best mode of transport to invest in with reference to Canada’s efforts to feature in global economy. There is the Interdepartmental Maritime Security Working Group (IMSWG) that has ensured the best government driven maritime security approach since its establishment in the year 2001 (Government of Canada 1). Essentially, IMSWG’s responsibility is to analyze any security gaps within Canada’s maritime transportation system and to address them as soon as they appear. The major security activities undertaken by IMSWG in the attainment of the above include Safeguarding, Marine Domain Awareness, Resilience, Responsiveness, and Collaboration. Other key regulations ensuring the safety of maritime transportation in Canada include Marine Transportation Security Regulations (MTSR0) that was established and amended in the year 2004 and 2012, respectively (Government of Canada 1). The Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program (MTSCP), established in the year 2007 is also a key regulation that promotes secure maritime transportation in Canada, thus promoting investment in that industrial sector.
In light of all matters highlighted above, it is clear that of all gateways leading in and of Canada, maritime transport is the most fitting with respect to expanding international trade. To start with, road and railway transport are limited to border countries – in Canada’s case that is just the United States. That leaves air and water transport. However, considering the efficiency of bulk cargo transportation to overseas economies in Europe and Asia at economical, environmentally friendly and secure means, maritime transport receives the upper hand above every other mode of overseas transport.
Government of Canada. 'An Act to Amend the Canada Marine Act, The Canada Transportation Act, The Pilotage Act And Other Acts In Consequence'. Laws-lois.justice.gc.ca. N.p., 2015. Web. 18 July 2015.
Government of Canada. 'Marine Transportation - Transport Canada'. Tc.gc.ca. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 July 2015.
International Maritime Organization. 'What's New During 2015’? Imo.org. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 July 2015.
Lynch, Kevin, and Kathy Sendal. 'Diversifying To Asia: Canada’s Energy Opportunity'.Policyoptions.irpp.org. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 July 2015.