The first of these to arrive is Helmut , a 9981 grt, 11,272 dwt ship of 868 TEU. Built in 2006 by the J.J.Seitas shipyard as Helmut, but carrying the name Livland from 2006 to 2009, the ship could best be described as a "short sea feeder" ship. It is in fact a smaller version of Oceanex Avalon built in the same yard in 2004. Normally found on short routes within Europe it must have been picked on the basis of availability.
Helmut's most striking feature is that it is hatchless over its main hold. There have been a few hatchless transatlantic container ships, but they have been few and far between. High bulwarks, special stability and drainage systems allow the centre hold to be open to the elements. The forward hold has conventional hatch covers, and the stacks immediately forward of the superstructure are on deck over the engine room.
I am informed that CMA CGM will follow up with AS Palatia 2602 TEU on June 11 (it is currently in Montreal) and Partici 3534 TEU on June 27. In effect they are putting more ships on than the usual once per month to catch up. (Maersk has been providing their own ships for the other three weeks, but this appears to be in for a change.)
The Canada Atlantic Express service runs Bremerhaven, Rotterdam and Antwerp to Montreal and Halifax.