Operations News

GVBOT enters partnership with BC government to boost exporting

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) has entered into a partnership worth $2.5 million with the provincial government intended to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) increase their export capacity, with a specific focus on Asia.

“Our role is to seize the opportunity afforded to us as Canada’s only Pacific province, to fulfill our exporting potentiahong_kong_container_terminal_credit_pelikh_alexey__shutterstock_inc.jpg__0x500_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscalel by looking to Asia and the other markets accessible to us through Canada’s Asia Pacific gateway and by counting on our vibrant SME community.”

The plan includes initiatives to partner industry with government and business experts to help build their international trade capacity. As well, it specifically looks at the export potential of First Nations-owned businesses.

“One in five British Columbian jobs is tied to exporting, and there exists a direct linkage between exporting, job creation and increased productivity, said GVBOT CEO Iain Black.

“By investing in these programs, businesses in Greater Vancouver and across the province will benefit.”

Read full article on BIV.com.

Coast Guard hiring for 150 positions in BC, 500 across Canada

The Canadian Coast Guard has announced it is looking to fill 150 positions in B.C. to staff new lifeboat stations, ships and infrastructure projects.

The federal agency is looking to add 500 positions across Canada. While that will not reverse the cuts made under the previous Harper government, it will allow a quicker response to environmental emergencies and search-and-rescue missions, said David Heap, regional director for the coast guard’s integrated business management services.

Some of the new positions on the West Coast will be tied to four new lifeboat stations and several new vessels, part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan announced in November.

The locations of the stations have not been announced, but they will help fill in “some of the blanks that we’ve currently got up and down the coast,” Heap said.

Port Hardy will also get more resources to beef up the coast guard’s environmental-response capacity along northern Vancouver Island and the central coast.

The federal agency is hosting job fairs and looking to hire mariners, navigators, marine engineers and environmental response personnel, as well as technicians and engineers to work on infrastructure such as radar sites.coast

“Everything from electronic engineers who know about microwaves and radar and how they work to labourers that are going out on the work crews to help set up some of the shore-side facilities,” Heap said.

Heap said none of the 500 positions will replace retiring workers. Upward of 20 per cent of the coast guard’s 4,500 employees could soon be retiring, he said.

“We have the same [aging] demographics as other industries, meaning there’s a lot of people looking to retire in the next five to 10 years,” Heap said.

Read full article on BIV.com.

B.C.-backed plant creates jobs in West African community

Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) chairman Ian Telfer was in Senegal recently for the grand opening of one of his latest investments.

It wasn’t a new gold mine, however, but a waste-to-energy plant that takes tires and plastics and turns them into fuel in the township of Nguekokh.

The project was the brainchild of Vancouver businessman Stephen Jenkins and was built and financed entirely by B.C. business people. The $1.8 million plant was designed and built by Vancouver engineering design firm Balanced Power Engineering Inc., which is also an investor in the project.

Balanced Power used to work mostly with pulp and paper mills, and still has clients in that industry, but over the last decade it has changed its focus.

“In the last 10 years we’ve pushed hard on the renewable energy,” said Balanced Power president Todd Walter.energies_du_futur.jpg__0x500_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscale

Jenkins is the founder of a social enterprise called Energies Du Futur, which is working to develop renewable energy projects in West Africa. The new waste-to-energy plant in Senegal, which was officially opened on January 31, is the first of six projects Jenkins is trying to build. A second phase will be a wind and solar energy project.

The plant uses plastics and tires as feedstock to produce a variety of diesel fuels through pyrolysis, a process that breaks up polymers at high temperatures. It can process up to 1,500 tires per day and produce up to 15,000 litres of fuel oil – which raises the question: does Senegal really have that many old tires lying around? Sadly, the answer is yes, Walter said.

“There are that many waste tires,” he said. “By our estimates, we’ve got a 15-year supply. They’re stacked up on the sides of roads everywhere you go. If you go outside of town a little ways, you’ll find gullies. These will be completely full of tires.”

There is a lot of waste plastic around too. Local villagers are paid $15 per tonne to bring plastics and tires to the plant, which employs 40 people.

To finance the project, Jenkins called on Telfer and other friends in B.C. to become investors to raise the $1.8 million needed to build the plant. The township of Nguekokh donated the land for a 5% equity stake in the project.

Read full article on BIV.com.

Uber and other ride-sharing services look set to get the green light in B.C. this year

Five years after its initial attempt to launch in Vancouver, Uber and other ride-sharing services look set to get the green light for B.C. roads this year.

The province announced Tuesday it will be ready to roll out ride-sharing services by the holiday season of 2017, meaning the introduction of Uber or Lyft would have to come after May’s provincial election.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the government, particularly from millennials, to get something that is beyond what the taxis are offering,” said lawyer Bill McLachlan, who represents the BC Taxi Association.

He added the timing of the rollout is not surprising.uber

“If the Liberals get elected, they want to dangle these incentives. And if they don’t [get elected], who knows where these things will go?”

Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender, who handles the ride-sharing portfolio in cabinet, and Transportation Minister Todd Stone said the government would help the taxi industry to stay competitive.

Among the initiatives announced was an investment of up to $1 million to develop a new app for the taxi industry with shared dispatch, as well as hailing and payment options similar to what other ride-sharing services offer.

The province also said it would work with municipalities to allow ride-sharing drivers and taxi drivers to pick up and drop off in different cities.

Currently, a Vancouver taxi driver can pick up in Vancouver and drop off in Coquitlam. But the Vancouver driver would not be able to pick up a passenger in Coquitlam while driving back to his home base.

“It’s very progressive thinking,” said Nitesh Mistry, director of business operations at Vancouver-based Ripe Rides.

Read full article on BIV.com.