The Chamber of Shipping has spoken out in support of the federal government’s announcement last week expanding the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) for an additional nine years with a further investment of $2 billion.
The chamber, which represents ocean carriers, their agents in Canada, and shippers of commodities that trade internationally and domestically, said in a statement it is pleased with the federal government’s acknowledgment of the relationship between the supply chain and ocean protection. Protecting Canada’s oceans and coasts requires effective and efficient ports, and safe, sustainable and competitive marine transportation corridors, it said.
In announcing the new funding, the federal government said 15 new projects will be announced to expand ocean protection initiatives to more regions and fight emerging threats to marine safety. This new funding is in addition to the $1.5 billion initially announced in 2016 and brings the total invested in support of the plan to $3.5 billion.
The new plan will work to protect ecosystems and wildlife, improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of marine supply chains and minimize their impacts on the environment, and improve marine traffic management and incident response.
“We are pleased that the prime minister acknowledged that Canada’s oceans and coasts form an integral component of national and global supply chains,” said the Chamber’s president Robert Lewis-Manning.
“The expanded mandate of the Oceans Protection Plan to address supply chain challenges must be backed by good governance and evidence, as Canada’s marine and connected terrestrial supply chains have shown their vulnerability to climate change, disruption, and trade surges. This incorporation ensures that solutions to supply chain issues are sustainable and that environmental, social, and economic interests are balanced.”
The chamber also urged the government to support collaboration and coordination among all levels of government, including Indigenous governments, the shipping industry and other users of waterways and ports. “Integration is paramount given the complexity of ocean ecosystems, the marine operating environment and supply chain resilience,” the chamber added.
The chamber pointed out that Canadian agricultural products and natural resources are in high demand globally as many countries grapple with the impacts of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the impacts of climate change. “Canada’s marine supply chain needs to have sufficient capacity and resiliency to address trade demands, food security, and any disruption to the supply chain, while minimizing impacts,” it said.
Since its introduction in 2016, the Oceans Protection Plan has boosted Coast Guard capabilities in numerous regions, funded aquatic habitat restoration, supported projects to remove and dispose of abandoned vessels and updated the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund to make polluters pay for oil spills.