About The ICS


The British Columbia Branch of the Institute was started in Vancouver in 1962 by Frank Dollman, FICS and Frank Kendrick, MICS., and , at that time, was the second overseas branch after Hong Kong.

The two Franks were keen to develop interest in the ideals of ICS but found it extremely heavy going. The local maritime scene did not include much ship-owning or operating activity and, as most of the bulk exports were sold FOB, there was virtually no local Chartering activity. Apart from a few local members – mostly UK expatriates – ICS was unknown and any local transportation education tended more towards the overall logistics of cargo movements through the ports, concentrating heavily on trucking and rail operations. Diplomas in Transportation studies were available but with very little, if any, maritime content. To add to the difficulties, ICS membership at the time was restricted to British Subjects.

Examinations were offered and conducted locally on occasion and local dinners were sometimes put together at which various shipping matters, both local and International, could be discussed. However, most of the business of local and national maritime activity and involvement in government regulations was conducted through the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia. Transportation education was the prerogative of the local Technical Colleges, and after swimming against a very strong tide for a number of years, it was reluctantly decided in the seventies, to put the branch into hiatus.

However, during this time and subsequently, there were important developments in expansion of cargo volumes in several commodities. Large investments were made in the forest industry and many lumber mills were upgraded and new ones built.  Several new pulp and paper facilities were developed in the interior of B.C., and new markets were developed for substantial export volumes of lumber, pulp and paper, as well as logs and woodchips. All of this activity called for new export handling facilities and for an increase in vessel capacity.

Grain exports increased substantially, and new export volumes of sulphur and potash were developed along with new coal and ore mines also calling for new facilities for export handling. Exports of liquid chemicals and petroleum products were developed, as well as a new aluminum smelter at Kitimat, calling for the import of raw materials as well as the export of the finished product. Inbound facilities for the import of phosphate rock also came into being. Several of the new export markets for these products were developed on the basis of C&F sales so that local chartering activity increased.

It is not generally known that the first container service in the world was developed in Vancouver when the first purpose built cellular container vessel, the 4,000 ton, 336 ft, “Clifford J Rogers”, was delivered in 1955 to operate in an integrated ship/train/truck system between Vancouver and Alaska. The containers were 7x7x8ft and 11 cu.m. capacity.

Special handling systems were also developed for the handling of forest products. The open hatch concept utilising top-handling of unitised cargoes was initially developed for cargo movements up and down the West Coast and was subsequently expanded into international trades in the sixties. Special terminal handling facilities were developed to handle delivery to specialised gantry-craned vessels. Terminals and ships devoted to the handling of large volumes of unitised lumber were introduced, and all of these activities prompted some overseas ship-owners to open local offices to be close to the developments.

In view of this expansion of activity, Vancouver’s increasing prominence as Canada’s “Gateway to the Pacific Rim” became apparent and the Asia Pacific Initiative was set up in the mid 1980’s to examine and recommend various strategies to further that concept. One of the recommendations called for the establishment of an International Maritime Centre (IMC) which would (among other projects) develop and lobby for changes to Canada’s Tax Act that would encourage ship-owners and operators to relocate to Vancouver. The IMC was established and this body worked extensively with the Government of Canada. They were successful and the resulting changes to the Tax Act encouraged several ship-owners and operators to relocate and to call Vancouver home.

Banking regulations were changed to allow for Vancouver to develop as an International Banking Centre. The Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association was developing Vancouver as an excellent location for international maritime arbitrations. So where did ICS fit into all of this activity?

In 1979, Captain Richard Stevens FICS, joined the Chamber of Shipping and set about arranging for the Chamber to host examinations for ICS – only a few at first, but with the increasing activity; there was more interest in education. The main IMC thrust in the mid/late 1980’s was to develop Canada, and particularly Vancouver, as a logical place in which to locate the business of International Shipping and, by doing so, to enhance Vancouver’s profile in world shipping. With this in mind, a large part of this effort was the revitalisation of ICS locally, so that internationally accredited maritime education courses could be offered to assist with the increase and development of the necessary pool of shipping professionals.

In 1992, a delegation from ICS London visited Vancouver to discuss the possibility of a Distance Learning Centre at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and to explore avenues of promoting and enhancing the aims of the Institute towards expanding educational activities in BC. Membership rules had been changed to remove the British Subject requirement so that this was no longer a restriction. Discussions were held with a view to establishing a roster of local tutors and also to evaluate whether diplomas in Maritime Studies, offered by the Pacific Marine Training Institute (PMTI – now part of the British Columbia Institute of Technology – BCIT) could allow for exemption to be granted from some stages of the ICS examinations.

Local interested members came together and formed a Steering Committee to evaluate the situation and to suggest the best way of coordinating the necessary action. It was agreed that a local Branch could do this best and a petition was presented to ICS Controlling Council in London for permission to re-establish the branch. This was granted at the March 1993 meeting of Controlling Council; the Branch was re-established at an inaugural meeting in September 1993, as ICS – British Columbia Branch, and a slate of officers was elected. These were; A.G Roper MICS – Chairman, Capt R Stevens FICS-Vice Chairman, M. Leong FICS- Hon.Sec., J. Seymour FICS –Treas., F.L. McCague FICS, G. McSween FICS, J.P. Richardson FICS.

Education was given top priority and a working relationship was developed with SFU following the earlier discussions of establishing a Distance Learning Centre (DLC). The DLC was established and Tutorship programmes were included in the SFU Brochure.  The arrangement was not generally successful, however, and after two years or so it was agreed that accreditation to SFU be withdrawn and that some courses offered by PMTI could grant exemption from some portions of the ICS Examination.

At that time also, an informal coalition of local maritime organisations had developed, chaired by the Chamber of Shipping, with ICS being part of this group. The group’s mandate was to foster regular exchanges of information among the various groups involved in the local maritime industry and to encourage closer liaison on matters of common interest in light of the worldwide need to attract newcomers into the maritime industry, both sea-going and shore-side. This group developed into the Maritime Coalition on Education.

ICS British Columbia Branch established a programme of Luncheon Speakers which was offered to ICS members and also to members of other organisations engaged in maritime activity – the first such seminar attracted over 80 attendees. The programme continues to offer talks on current matters of interest four or five times a year, and to attract numbers of attendees from ICS and from other local organisations.

Further activities to raise the profile of the Branch were undertaken and social events in the form of a “Pub Night” were established, some for members only, and some which would include others in the local maritime industry. These events continue on a regular basis and have gone a long way to assisting with the raising of the profile of the Institute in the Vancouver area.

Discussions were commenced in 2004 on the possibility of expanding the Branch to include Canadian members outside of British Columbia who were currently in direct contact with London. The Executive committee put together a recommendation to Controlling Council that the Branch be expanded and re-named ICS Canada Branch, and this was approved in 2005.

As we move forward, we continue to expand and develop our membership and activities within Canada. We are actively encouraging members in Eastern Canada to have more input, acknowledging the unique geographical position we are in that does pose challenges but also offers unique opportunities. In recent times we have established an Eastern Representative position on the board and hope that this will continue to develop.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Coalition on Education had come to the conclusion that whilst progress had been made in addressing the training needs of several sub-sections of the industry in B.C., almost none had been made on the issue of shore-side supervisory training needs. Locally therefore, we partnered with the Chamber of Shipping to establish the “Education Committee” which encourages people entering the shipping industry to upgrade their skills, by offering entry level educational programmes based upon the Institute’s educational course work. We aim to expand this going forward to target post entry level candidates and more of the industry at large. The programme has received Canadian Government backing under the Asia Pacific Gateway programme.

We continue with our seminar and social events and look to expand these going forward. We are also aiming to use our influence to tackle local issues pertaining to the Business of Shipping. Membership and value of membership is, of course, key to our aims and we are glad to see that the efforts to increase membership have paid off and ICS Canada Branch continues to look towards expansion in the years ahead.

A.G.Roper FICS

December, 2009


  • December 19, 2017 17:00Montreal: Christmas Pub Night
  • January 17, 2018 12:00Vancouver: ICS Canada Branch BOD Meeting
  • January 25, 2018 17:00Vancouver: ICS Open Day
  • January 25, 2018 18:00Montreal: ICS Open Day
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