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Introduction to Ag Articles (Updated: 2021-Jun-27)

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Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Sep-17 Thu 16:30
2020-Sep-17 Thu 16:30


And welcome to the Ag Articles section of the 500 Foods website.

As part of the Fall-2020 website overhaul, this is one of the new sections that has been added.  This is a curated collection of news stories covering topics most likely to be of interest to the 500 Foods community. News stories are added as we encounter them, usually about a dozen or so each day. Fewer on weekends because there are fewer news releases published.

RCMP say 21 bricks of cocaine arrived in Kelowna in 2019 with banana shipment

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2021-Jan-20 Wed 05:00
2021-Jan-20 Wed 05:00

Kelowna Regional RCMP say a shipment of cocaine that arrived in the central Okanagan in 2019 was shipped in banana containers.

Heightened grocery sales in Nunavut highlight food insecurity

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Dec-11 Fri 11:15
2020-Dec-11 Fri 11:15

Officials with Nutrition North say they continue to monitor how food supply chains are impacted by the pandemic. What they're seeing, through changes in food distribution following relief funds, is the true extend of food insecurity that Nunavut households face. 

Pilot projects in Alberta and Ontario show hydrogen still a costly and complicated clean-energy source

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Dec-04 Fri 13:45
2020-Dec-04 Fri 13:45

It seems like a no-brainer to use clean-burning hydrogen to offset the environmental negatives of natural gas for warming homes, but pilot projects to do just that starting next year illustrate nothing is simple about this trendy new energy source.

Simulate the light transmission of your greenhouse project with Hortinergy

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Dec-03 Thu 14:48
2020-Dec-03 Thu 14:48

Simulate the light transmission of your greenhouse project with Hortinergy

You can simulate with Hortinergy  the light transmission and heat losses of your greenhouse project with our large library of transparent and opaque covers.

Hortinergy’s latest update includes a complete library of transparent and diffusing covers (glass, plastic, etc.).

The transmission models of plastic foils (clear, diffuse)  have been validated in the research greenhouses at ASTREDHORRATHO with an accuracy of 95% within the Dilight project.

You can see other feature here

ONE Apus may have lost a quarter of its cargo

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Dec-03 Thu 14:46
2020-Dec-03 Thu 14:46

An Ocean Network Express (ONE) vessel that reported a container stack collapse, on 30 November, may have lost up to 25% of its cargo as images of the collapse show a catastrophic event, with almost all of the forward cargo stacks affected.

A consultant master Mariner with experience on container ships told Container News that the loss of cargo, reportedly around 1,900 containers, could be approximately 28% of the total cargo carried by ONE Apus on this voyage.

“We calculated this using eastbound slot utilisation for Transpacific routes as reported, and the image seen on Twitter,” said the consultant, who estimates that the quantity of lost and damaged containers may be in the range of 35% of cargo on board since lost containers will not be included in the collapsed stacks still present on deck.

B.C. announces new programs aimed at helping farmers and food producers

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Dec-01 Tue 20:52
2020-Dec-01 Tue 20:52

The government of B.C. has announced funding for operators of small and new farms as part of a new pilot project.

ONE suspends food imports in reefers arriving at Huangpu Port

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-27 Fri 09:50
2020-Nov-27 Fri 09:50

Ocean Network Express (ONE) has announced a temporary end to bookings of food-related commodities bound for the Port of Huangpu, located in China's southern Guangdong province and operated by the Guangzhou Port Group.

ONE has taken this action due to stricter customs inspections and disinfection requirements for food import commodities (including but not limited to meat, seafood, dairy, fruits and vegetables), which has slowed down inbound reefer container pick-up activity at Huangpu port in southern China causing congestion.

The decision was effective from yesterday, 26 November, according to a company statement.

For containers in transit, the Singaporean line has suggested its customers consider a change of destination to alternative ports, especially for time-sensitive cargoes such as fresh and chilled commodities.

Hapag-Lloyd adjusts Canadian charges

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-27 Fri 09:42
2020-Nov-27 Fri 09:42

Hapag-Lloyd has announced the implementation of a peak season surcharge (PSS) of US$150/container on agricultural products such as dried legumes and other products on the eastbound trade from Canada via Port of Loading (POL) Vancouver to South Europe on the Mediterranean Pacific Service (MPS).

The German carrier will introduce this PSS from 1 December in order to "provide its customers with a high level of service, equipment supply as well as vessel space," it said in its announcement.

In the meantime, Hapag-Lloyd has changed its empty containers (MT) return information at short notice in Canada due to the increased congestion levels at CP Vaughan and CN Brampton / Mississauga Intermodal Service Centre (MISC), which has caused both rail operators to enforce restrictions on the return of empties to those ramps.

That means "the need for us to secure additional empty storage capacity at relatively short notice," said Hapag-Lloyd, which also pointed out that, "these facilities are also becoming congested as all lines look for alternative return locations."

Breakdown in trust leaves shippers outraged at vessel operators

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-19 Thu 03:39
2020-Nov-19 Thu 03:39

Beneficial cargo owners believe that there has been an erosion of trust between service provider and customer that has left shippers shocked and angered at the failure of lines to accommodate their customers during this period of the pandemic.

European Shippers’ Council (ESC) members believe that the European authorities should be concerned about the poor service provided by the carriers who are geared to earn profits without providing a service that is fit for purpose.

Alleged US demurrage abuses could lead to legal action

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-18 Wed 08:57
2020-Nov-18 Wed 08:57

Shippers, truckers, and freight forwarders reeling from almost US$150 million in demurrage fees linked to congestion in the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach and New York this year have threatened to take their complaints to US congress to bring an end to carrier abuses.

More than 40 shippers and trucking associations have teamed up to criticise carriers’ failure to respect an “interpretative rule” introduced by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in May that sought to govern conflicts on the issue of demurrage and detention fees.

Members of the Harbor Trucking Association, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, and the Pacific Coast Council of Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers inundated the FMC at the start of the month with complaints about demurrage fees that have reached US$100 million in Los Angeles/Long Beach and US$50 million in New York already this year.

Beyond Meat says its new plant-based burgers are juicier and healthier

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-16 Mon 08:56
2020-Nov-16 Mon 08:56

Beyond Meat isn’t stopping with its cooperation on McDonalds’ plant-based burger. The meat alternative maker has unveiled two new versions of the Beyond Burger that address complaints from those who still prefer beef. The lead burger is reportedly th...

Shippers allege lines are refusing to carry US export cargo

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-11 Wed 08:49
2020-Nov-11 Wed 08:49

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) says it has received a number of allegations regarding the failure of container ship operators to pick up full cargo containers ready for export to China.

According to the FMC commissioner Carl Bentzel the regulator “is monitoring the situation,” with lines required to meet common carrier obligations. Under US law a common carrier must provide its services to anyone willing to pay its fees unless there are good grounds for refusal.

Under these legal obligations the rights of US shippers to export their cargo are enshrined in law, yet a number of allegations have surfaced where shippers believe that the carriers have ignored their responsibilities as common carriers in order to return empty boxes to Asia, taking advantage of the unprecedentedly high rates on the Pacific.

Consultant Jon Monroe, who also works for Worldwide Logistics, said last week, “Exports are hurting with carriers like Hapag Lloyd suspending export agricultural bookings as they move to reposition as many empties as possible back to Asia. As we enter the second week of November, we find that bookings are backed up until the first week of December.”

Container collapse challenges ONE vessel enroute to Long Beach

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-04 Wed 13:46
2020-Nov-04 Wed 13:46


The 2018-built container ship ONE Aquila has suffered a container stack collapse, said to be caused by bad weather, while the vessel was sailing towards the port of Long Beach, according to Hapag-Lloyd, a THE Alliance's partner of the ship operator, Ocean Network Express (ONE).

The incident has affected a number of containers, the total number has not yet been clarified. ONE anticipates that the 14,000TEU boxship will be significantly delayed, considering the terminal congestion expected in the California ports.

The Singaporean line has not yet published a scheduled recovery plan, which will be shared by the company once available.

ONE Aquila is deployed on the Pacific South Loop 7 (PS7), a service operated by THE Alliance which is comprised of Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Yang Ming and HMM.

Container shipping on the cusp of integration

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Nov-02 Mon 13:16
2020-Nov-02 Mon 13:16

Ship operators in the container shipping sector have a five-year window in which to develop their integrated systems that will allow them to compete with the online freight forwarders and the likes of Amazon, said a former Maersk Line chief information officer.

Speaking exclusively to Container News Adam Banks said that the container shipping sector now has the technology to develop its online systems that will allow them to meet the challenge from the online companies that have evolved over the last 10 years.

According to Banks the three elements that will allow the type of integration necessary for the carriers are the development of reliable sensors that have a battery life of six to 12 months with the global connectivity that will allow the carriers to gain a competitive advantage.

“Being an asset owner gives the carriers a potential advantage over competitors, in the past that wasn’t the case, but now technology has caught up and that makes joined up integrated systems operating in real time a possibility,” explained Banks.

Essentially, as the lines own the assets on which the cargo is transported, the ships, ports/terminals, and trucks and trains to a lesser extent, they will be able to offer services that non-vessel operating companies will not be capable of.

More flexibility added to CEBA eligibility for farmers

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-28 Wed 07:59
2020-Oct-28 Wed 07:59

Businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account can now access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) by opening a business account.

According the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), this has been an important ask from farmers and will help ensure the financial strength of the thousands of small agricultural businesses across the country.

This follows the October 9 announcement of an intent to introduce major expansions to CEBA to increase the limit to $60,000, from $40,000, and double the non-repayable forgivable portion to $20,000, from $10,000. Those expanded amounts will be available soon.

Not counting the number of farmers who are now eligible because of the change announced today, AAFC estimates more than 85,000 farm businesses will have access to the interest-free loans of CEBA, which equates to up to $5.1 billion – one-third of which is forgivable.

“We strongly encourage farmers and food businesses who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to take advantage of the generous terms offered by the CEBA loans,” a statement from AAFC read.

Solar Power Electricity Is Now Cheaper Than Coal

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-27 Tue 09:11
2020-Oct-27 Tue 09:11

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar energy is now cheaper than coal. The IEA is an autonomous intergovernmental organization working with governments around the world to implement effective energy policies for a “secure and sustainable energy future for all.” In the majority of countries around the world, solar photovoltaic (solar PV) generation is […]

Empty boxes backlog in Australia intensifies due to congestion

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-26 Mon 09:18
2020-Oct-26 Mon 09:18

Recent industrial action has caused a massive backlog of empty containers in Sydney and to a lesser extent in other capital city ports in Australia, according to Shipping Australia Limited (SAL).

Ocean shipping companies lose money and revenue-earning opportunities if empty boxes are uselessly hanging about in the country and SAL said in its announcement that one way to tackle the backlog is the use of “sweeper” vessels, boxships to pick up and take away empty boxes.

But the ongoing container disruption in Sydney due to industrial action has resulted in availability issues on additional berth slots, which shipping companies need to bring in the sweeper ships.

2 huge fermenting tanks stolen from new B.C. brewery found before being turned into scrap

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-23 Fri 15:15
2020-Oct-23 Fri 15:15

Two stolen fermentation tanks — worth more than $40,000 — have turned up in local scrap yards. The massive tanks turned up at separate yards, and one is more damaged than the other.

Climate change driving food insecurity in First Nations while government stands by, report says

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-21 Wed 17:46
2020-Oct-21 Wed 17:46

The federal government is not doing enough to support First Nations communities contending with food insecurity problems made worse by climate change — and is aggravating the situation by failing to adequately reduce greenhouse gas emissions — says a new report by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch.

Container pickup charges increase in China

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-21 Wed 16:37
2020-Oct-21 Wed 16:37

Pickup charges for container users are becoming more expensive across Chinese ports due to increasing container imbalances, according to the latest Container xChange report.

European and the US importers currently struggle to return empty containers to Asia, according to Container Availability Index data. As a result, these ports suffer from increasing dwell times and port congestion.

On the other hand, carriers in Chinese ports are setting new regulations to control the imbalances. The German container line Hapag-Lloyd, for example, will now only release empty containers from its mainland China depots for a maximum of eight days prior to the arrival of the sailing.

Average pickup charges for container users

Stretch Average of PU Charge (in US$) Antwerp - Mundra 56.5 Shanghai - Tacoma, WA 61.4 Port Kelang - Karachi 82.25 Port Kelang - Nhava Sheva 91.08 Qingdao - Moscow 241 Shanghai - Moscow 243 Shanghai - Duisburg 617 Shanghai - Waersaw 735 Shanghai – Gothenburg 739.5

For this table, Container xChange looked at the most used stretches on its platform in the last four years. The company noticed that the average price to pickup equipment varies between different locations and container types. On average, container users pay US$256 to pick up containers on the platform (if pickup charge > 0).

Rural North Carolinia residents will soon get their meds delivered by drone

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-20 Tue 09:41
2020-Oct-20 Tue 09:41

Drones have already shown that they can reliably deliver vital shipments of blood across Rwanda, drop off prescriptions to senior citizens in Florida, and help quarantining families stay safe with contactless deliveries. Now they’re going to be buzzi...

Federal government invests in small nuclear reactors to help it meet net-zero 2050 target

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-15 Thu 15:20
2020-Oct-15 Thu 15:20

The federal government says it's investing $20 million in the nuclear industry to help Canada meet its target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Watch Einride’s autonomous truck take on the ‘Top Gear’ track

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-15 Thu 13:55
2020-Oct-15 Thu 13:55

Einride recently revealed its revamped autonomous delivery truck, which is more aerodynamic than the previous version. To give a glimpse of the Pod in action, the Einride team put the AV through its paces on the Top Gear track in Surrey, England.It’s...

Measuring pollution is key to GEODIS’ eco-freight drive

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-13 Tue 12:05
2020-Oct-13 Tue 12:05

GEODIS' online emissions calculator that determines the carbon footprint of a freight shipment is freely available on its website.

Accessed via, the calculator measures air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions generated by an individual shipment’s journey, comparing the performance of different modes of transport (air, rail, road, sea, inland waterway, etc.).

For each shipment of goods, the calculator gives an overview of the various options, making it an invaluable aid in choosing the most environmentally friendly transport, said GEODIS. At the same time, the tool performs calculations that take into account the goods being shipped, their origin, destination and mode of transport before providing a quantitative evaluation.

Hoogendoorn Growth Management introduces IIVO

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-09 Fri 13:26
2020-Oct-09 Fri 13:26

Connecting nature and technology

On October 8, 2020, Hoogendoorn Growth Management organized an exclusive launch event to launch its biggest innovation yet: IIVO. Not just a new all-in-one process computer, but so much more than that. IIVO is a next level climate computer.

Complexity made easy IIVO provides smart technology for greenhouse growers. A combination of smart software and state of the art hardware. This truly unique system is capable of monitoring, controlling and maintaining any greenhouse. Allowing you to grow more, at higher quality while using minimal resources. Not only is the system highly effective, it is also extremely efficient and sustainable, generating maximum results. Whether you were born in a greenhouse, or never been in one. With self-learning controls and integrated security, it is undoubtedly the future of horticulture, and the first step towards automated growing.

Effortless growth IIVO constantly and consistently monitors every aspect of your greenhouse environment, including climate conditions, irrigation and energy management. But the system is capable of so much more. The system collects and archives data to create a complete and holistic overview of the conditions inside your greenhouse. IIVO can then be used as an advanced control computer to determine the specific needs of your crop at any given moment.

Amazon unveils its first custom, all-electric delivery van from Rivian

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-08 Thu 09:44
2020-Oct-08 Thu 09:44

Amazon’s fleet of delivery trucks is finally getting a little greener. This morning, the e-commerce titan revealed its first custom electric delivery vehicle: A big, surprisingly cutesy van built in partnership with electric transport startup Rivian....

B.C. blueberry farmers brace for impact as U.S. sets sights on berry and produce tariffs

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-05 Mon 13:51
2020-Oct-05 Mon 13:51

After waging war on Canadian dairy, steel and aluminum, Donald Trump's White House is setting its sights on foreign berry farmers and vegetable growers.

How the pandemic helped B.C. tree planters have one of their 'healthiest years ever'

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-04 Sun 14:33
2020-Oct-04 Sun 14:33

It might sound counterintuitive, but COVID-19 led B.C.'s tree planters to have one of their "healthiest years ever," according to an industry representative.