Friday, July 20, 2018

Port Stats and the future

The Halifax Port Authority has released statistics covering the first half of 2018 (Quarter 1 and Quarter 2). The question is what to make of these numbers.

First the good news:

Cruise Ships
There has been an early start to the cruise season this year, resulting in a spike in cruise ship calls - 32 so far this year versus 20 last year, with a corresponding increase in passengers, up 37.9% to 41,979 from 30,443 last year. With those additional 11,500 or so tourists flocking the Halifax waterfront someone must be happy.

I wonder how happy the passengers are however. With pier face repairs at pier 22, there is not enough room at the seawall for two large ships and several ships have been shifted to pier 30-31. When that happens the passengers must be bused through industrial activity to reach their ship.

Late in the season when there are three or four ships in at the same time two or even three ships have to tie up at the cargo piers. Not appealing!

 Pier 22 reconstruction has effectively taken one berth out of service.

A major improvement in cruise facilities is warranted - and not just rehabilitating the pier 22 shed. Four berths for large ships are needed. The seawall, when it is in full service, will only accommodate two large ships, and pier 23 is suitable only for small ships.

Insignia at pier 23 takes bunkers yesterday.
At "only" 824 passengers it is small by current standards. 
Note the jib of a crane working on the pier 22 brow in the background.


Non-container traffic
Yes the Port of Halifax port still handles non-containerized traffic, but it is still taking a back seat to containers in terms of notice, but not tonnage. Most of the non-container tonnage is handled by facilities that are not within the Halifax Port Authority jurisdiction, but from private operations such as National Gypsum, Autoport and the oil terminals. Both import tonnage (up 14/3% for the quarter) and export tonnage (up 39.2% for the quarter) reflect the condition of the world economy more than anything else. Gypsum - by my estimation the largest contributor to export tonnage, is wholly dependent on the US building industry and will always skew the figures, now that we have no petroleum exports, precious little grain, and insignificant other export commodities.


 Algoma Integrity sails this morning for Baltimore with another load of gypsum.

Similarly import tonnage is largely petroleum related, and reflects Irving and Esso's refined product coming in for local distribution.


 Atlantic Breeze had cargo for Irving Oil, not for neighbour Imperial Oil.


The only significant non-container import activity within the Port Authority area is imported rail for CN and nickel sulfides from Cuba.

Autoport, while small in terms of actual tonnage, does not release stats on the number of cars imported and exported, but certainly contributes to imports.

Another stat that is not released is the amount of domestic versus foreign tonnage handled by the port. Separating cargo to and from Newfoundland and petroleum from Saint John or other Canadian refineries, would certainly give a better picture of foreign trade.

Containers
June 2018 had the largest container throughput in a decade. TEU totals for the quarter are down slightly (by 1.2%) with imports up 1.3% and exports down 3.7% from last year,. Total TEU for the year to date (both import and export) is up 7%. These figures reflect world trading patterns more than Port of Halifax performance. Although labour stability has been assured by a new labour agreement, the port stats show that Halifax is at least holding its own in a time of considerable instability in the world container trade. Modest import growth is certainly good.

YM Modesty arriving this morning, contributing to modest growth in Halifax tonnage figures.


Overall
Total tonnage for Halifax Port Authority and non-HPA is up 8.4% for inbound and 6% for outbound. As mentioned above the HPA uses the terms "import" and "export" to describe all cargo entering or leaving the port, both foreign and domestic.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rose among thorns

Pleasure craft throng the waterfront with everything from local motor boats to deep sea cruisers. This evening tucked in among these plastic palaces was the sublime Hebridee II, a prime example of the schooner art.



Built in 1953 by Hugh Weagle's boat building yard in Dartmouth, to a design by William Roué, the boat is 27'-5'' long on the waterline, 39' on deck and 42' overall, 8'-9" beam and 5'-8" draft.



In 2009 it was donated to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and over a period of several years painstakingly restored to its original (and maybe even better) form. It re-entered the water in 2017 and is now one of the loveliest sights in Halifax Harbour.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

News from the North

News from the north is generally hard to come by, but a few nuggets have escaped.

Ice conditions in the north are the worst in the last four years according to one report. They are so bad that even Fednav, have had to resort to reinforcements to make up for delays. Their Arctic is contracted to transport nickel concentrates from the Raglan Mine through the port of Deception Bay to Quebec City. However ice was so thick that the ship was delayed from June 1 to June 17 and they risk not being able to transport the required quantities of the ore, both to keep the mine operating, (stockpiling is limited at the port) and to feed the smelter in Sudbury.  They have therefore applied for a coasting license to use one of their foreign flag ships to make one trip in September or October to make up the potential deficit.

Speaking of Arctic this significant ship is due for retirement in 2020, and its replacement has been ordered from  Japan Marine United Corp Shipyard  (the merged Universal and IHI).


It was built in 1978 by Port Weller Dry Dock initially to serve the Nanisivik zinc-lead mine on the north coast of Baffin Island. In 1984-85 it was rebuilt as a combination ore / bulk / oil /carrier with a new bow. It then loaded oil from the Bent Horn field on Cameron Island, transshipping it at Rae Point to Imperial Bedford for refining in Montreal. The ship also landed some of the oil in Halifax for refining.

For some reason two of the cranes are missing their booms.

Nanisivik mine was closed in 2002 and Bent Horn in 1996. production started at the Raglan Mine in 1997.

In 2007 the ship went to Jiangyin China for life extension. The work was to allow the ship an extra ten to twenty years. It then went back to work running from Deception Bay, on Hudson Strait, to Quebec City during the eight month shipping season.

Arctic also carries general cargo in containers to provide supplies to the mine.
Fednav operates two other ice breaking bulk carriers in northern waters. Nunavik and Umiak I, the most powerful ice-class bulk carriers in the world.



Meanwhile the number of pleasure craft passing through northern waters is exploding. In 2017 no less than 23 pleasure craft completed a northwest passage. Two commercial passenger ships, three non-government icebreakers, two cargo ships and a tanker also made northwest passages. All this is on top of the necessary re-supply and ore extraction voyages to the north, and several other passenger ships that made incursions into the arctic waters.

On July 16 the yacht Ice Angel (registered in Douglas Isle of Man) sailed for Nuuk, Greenland, the jumping off point for a Northwest Passage. Built in 2009, and previously named C9 and Cloud 9, the 1307 grt vessel was built by CNM Yachts of Cherbourg, France, and refitted in 2017. It has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. What specific features it may have for arctic work is not known.



 Ice Angel with some of its attendant craft leaving port.

It is the second vessel to sail from Halifax recently giving Nuuk as destination. The previous one was the sailing vessel Kamaxitha which left port July 8.

As reported in Tugfax numerous cargo ships are employed each summer to deliver cargo to remote communities. Most of these places have no port facilities, and cargo must be landed by barge. The ships carry the barges and small tugs to handle all the cargo.

Logistec operates the former Spliethoff ship Qamutik and four other ships for NEAS (Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc and Nunavik Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc).

Transport Desgagnés operates five seven general cargo ships including Sedna Desgagnés and four tankers for northern supply. They have also chartered in a foreign flag ship to meet demand.

Other companies such as Woodward's Coastal Shipping also operate tankers in northern supply. All this activity will stretch the capabilities of the Canadian Coast Guard to cover such a vast area.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Naval Gazing

HMCS Fredericton emerged from under its cocoon earlier this month, then moved from the Graving Dock to the Machine Shop Wharf at Halifax Shipyard last Wednesday. It had been in the shipyard since last fall, most of the time completely tarped in, to allow work to continue out of the weather. It is widely believed that the Shipyard will build a structure over the graving dock to allow for all weather work.



Cryptically referred to as undergoing a "Docking Work Period", it was in the Graving Dock for nine months. At a reported cost of $30 million, the DWP would seem to have included more than just the "routine maintenance and upgrades" phrase also used to describe the work. The Halifax class ship, commissioned in  September 1994, had its FELEX upgrade at the Shipyard from October 2011 to January 2013, then returned to HMC Dockyard for more work, returning to service late in 2014. It is the second ship to have a "DWP" - HMCS Halifax was first.

While gazing at Fredericton yesterday, HMCS Kingston sailed by on its way to Bedford Basin for the day.


Lead ship of the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, Kingston was launched by Halifax Shipyard August 12, 1995. It was the first naval launch at the yard in thirty years, and marked the start of the a resurgence in activity at the yard, culminating in the present day position of the yard as the main driver of the Halifax industrial economy.

Originally built as minesweepers, the ships are now largely relegated to training and flag showing, but have participated in NATO and drug interdiction activities. Their future remains in doubt, as a mid-life refit program was cancelled. Instead it is expected that the 12 vessels will be retired as the five (or six?) Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels now under construction at Halifax Shipyard enter service.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

New Halifax Tour Boat

A new tour boat has broken into the Halifax harbour cruises business with a novel approach. WinStar Cruise offers the usual harbour tours and charters, but also has a lobster dinner cruise, with staff speaking English and Mandarin. The large numbers of tourists (and residents) who speak Chinese has presumably sparked the plan by WinWin Atlantic Holdings Ltd, of Markham, ON, the owners of the boat to set up business here..
The other slight novelty of the operation is that it runs from Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, just steps away from the harbour ferry terminal and transit stops.



WinStar acquired the boat over the winter from Jacques Normand of Baie-St-Paul, QC, who had tried to establish tours from his own home port and from Pointe-au-Pic, QC over the past two summers, but for a variety of reasons was not able to make a go of the operation. Despite an investment of $200,000, not including purchase price, Normand cited Transport Canada regulations, lack of water depth at piers and  poor response to promotion possibilities as factors in causing him to sell off the boat.

 Working from Baie St-Paul in 2016 and...

Pointe-au-Pic in 2017.

I suspect WinWin has better chances in Halifax.

The boat itself is an interesting one, built with aluminum in 1972 by Paasch Marine Services of Erie, PA as American Adonis II for International Boat Tours Inc of Clayton, NY. It then became Island Princess and was located in Florida when found by Jacques Normand. It was then named Cabaret.com (a name Normand decided to keep) and it was a 75 day trip from Stuart, FL to bring the ship to Baie St-Paul where it was refurbished for Canadian service.

WinStar was able to put it into service with very little modification, and will operate with a passenger capacity of 120.

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

I get misty

'Twas a misty day in Halifax with conditions deteriorating as the day went on to rain and fog.
Fortunately most of the action I wanted to capture occurred before it got too bad.


CCGS Cape Roger with its in water refit complete, sailed this afternoon for patrol. With the Coast Guard fleet spead thin these days due to emergency and scheduled repairs, ships are being repositioned, sometimes for from their home bases. An example is CCGS Samuel Risley, which has sailed for the Arctic from its base on the Great Lakes. This is the first arctic trip for the ships since it was built in 1985. In fact it has rarely left the Lakes. One notable exit was for refit in Shelburne, NS in 2004. It also did a replacement stint out of Halifax from July to September 2015. 
Its near sistership CCGS Early Grey, normally based in Halifax has been assigned to Newfoundland to cover for the CCGS Ann Harvey which ran aground in 2015. While under repair the decision was made to make an early start on a life extension program.This necessitated cutting out much of the accommodation to remove the electric propulsion motors for rebuild. That refit was to have been completed last year, but has now been extended to September of this year.
Also CCGS Terry Fox is in drydock for repairs in Port Weller (St.Catharines, ON) and Des Groseilliers in Lévis, QC for life extension.

The most significant arrival of the day had to take back seat to other ships as far as photos are concerned since it arrived and will sail in the dark, and was shrouded in mist during most of its stay. CMA CGM Chennai was delivered to Seaspan International in May and entered a three year charter to CMA CGM (with a three extension option). It is another ship that makes Halifax a member of the 10,000 TEU plus club for large container ships.

Built by Jiangsu Yangzi it measures 112,967 grt, 119,000 dwt with a nominal cpacity of 10,100 TEU, including 1420 reefer points.


 
CMA CGM Chennai forms a large gray lump in the left background of the chemical tanker  FMT Knidos.



First named Atlantik Glory when it was built by Selah Makina, Tuzla, Turkey in 2010, the 8,391 grt, 13,214 dwt ship is specially fitted for IMO Type II hazardous cargoes (Type I is most severe and Type III the least severe of the three grades of hazardous chemicals). It took its present name in 2017 and operates in the Team Tankers pool. It has twelve tanks, lined with epoxy, which on this trip contain caustic soda (NaOH), from Freeport, TX for Port Alfred, QC..

Full width bridges often indicate a ship built for winter conditions, but in this case I can find no ice notation, so it is more likely a means of protecting the crew from exposure to dangerous cargoes. 

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Basin Views a Priority

As far as picture taking is concerned, Bedford Basin was the action centre Friday evening.



Priority, a new to Halifax container ship berthed at Fairview Cove for THE Alliance. Also in port was the Atlantic Sea and in a rare occurrence it appeared that all four cranes were at work. Two cranes for each ship. The smallest crane was apparently able to work on the forward container cells of the Atlantic Sea. Usually this crane is too small to work most ships.



Priority is the former MOL Priority built in 2002 by IHI, Kure. The 74,701 grt, 74,453 dwt ship has a capacity of 6402 TEU including 500 reefers. Danaos took over the ship and renamed it in 2014 and it now flies the Malta flag.


At BIO the DFO ship Teleost sailed after a brief stay in port, and Cape Roger took a few turns in the Basin following an alongside refit. Also at BIO for the past couple of weeks is Alfred Needler. All are normally based in Newfoundland.

And although no ships are scheduled for National Gypsum in the near future, there is certainly an adequate stockpile built up.


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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Eimskip's substitute

The Icelandic shipping company Eimskip maintains a regular three ship service calling Halifax weekly (approximately) called its Green Line. The ships run from Reykjavik to Argentia, Halifax, Portland, ME, Argentia, St.Anthony (if traffic warrants) and back to Reykjavik. (Eimskip also has a Orange, Blue, Yellow, Gray and Red lines serving other ports).

This week's arrival would have been Pantonio, which was added to the fleet in January, but has been replaced - at least for this trip - by an almost identical ship, the EF Ava.

Gloomy skies, brought about by tropical storm Chris passing well offshore, greeted EF Ava on arrival this morning.

EF Ava is one of a series of about forty Chinese built ships of the Wawei 700 class. Measuring 7545 grt, 8169 dwt, it has a capacity of 698 TEU, including 120 reefers. Builders Wawei Shipyard in Fuzhou built the ship in 2008 as OPDR Rotterdam, but it was soon renamed OPDR Tanger (OPDR stands for Oldenburg-Portugiesische  Dampschiffarts Reederei). German owners MacAndrews, then Bernhard Schulte and now EF Ava Ltd have operated the ship under the flag of Madeira, the Portuguese international registry.

Sister ship Pantonia was built by the now failed Sainty Shipbuilding Corp of Jiangdu and it has worked for Dutch owners, Marlow Navigation, under Cyprus flag, so there appears to be no connection between the two ships except the standard design.

Pantonio arriving under similar leaden skies in March.

Pantonio is still shown on Eimskip's schedule for today's call and for August 2, but AIS indicates it is in Rotterdam, leaving little time for it to catch up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Peace Boat - updated

The current Peace Boat, Ocean Dream, made its inaugural call in Halifax today. Operated by a Japanese based NGO dedicated to peace, sustainability and numerous other humanitarian causes, Peace Boat operates cruises to provide educational experiences and other opportunities for its passengers. - mainly youth leaders.

--- no photo possible on arrival---will try for one on departure, scheduled for 2000 hrs---

Founded in 1983, it has operated cruises on five different ships, the current one since 2012. The first cruise was on The Topaz, the former Empress of Britain, in 2003. The current trip, which started in Stockholm, has called in Copenhagen, Bergen and Reykjavik, participating in special events in each port, with an emphasis on the health of the oceans.

During its visit to Halifax its voyagers will attend a forum on climate change and ocean degradation, hosted by the Mayor.


The ship was built in 1981 as Carnival Cruise Line's first new build, and was named Tropicale at the builders yard, Aalborg Werft in Aalborg, Denmark. It operated mostly in the Caribbean, from such ports as  Tampa and New Orleans.



Carnival introduced the winged funnel on Tropicale and have used it on all subsequent ships in one form or another.

In 2001 Carnival transferred the ship to Costa where it was renamed Costa Tropicale and it underwent a  major refit. That operation saw the removal of its distinctive winged Carnival funnel and replacement with the signature Costa "stovepipe", which it still carries.


In 2005 Carnival Corp reassigned the ship to its P+O brand, renaming it Pacific Star It worked out of Australia until sold out of the Carnival family in 2008 to Pullmantour Cruises. In 2015 it was sold again to Ocean Dream Shipping Inc and bareboat chartered to Peace Boat. The ship's original tonnage was 22,919 grt, but this has crept up to as much as 36,674 grt according to some sources.

On leaving Halifax the ship will sail for New York where it will host a major UN sponsored sustainable development conference. It has a capacity of 1422 passengers and operates with a crew of 550.

Update
Getting underway on time this evening, and using the tug Atlantic Fir to get off the dock and turn (it used the same tug this morning) the ship obligingly sailed north and west of George's Island, and despite shadows from shoreside buildings, made a good sight.


 




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Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday, Monday

A busy Monday brings up a number of interesting developments.

The merger of the three Japanese container lines, K-Line, MOL and NYK to form Ocean Network Express, called ONE, has included building some new ships, but there will be a lengthy transition for existing ships to adopt common livery and for the introduction of the brand on containers. The merger, which started in 2016 came into effect in October 2017.


Yesterday a white ONE box was spotted on the inbound Berlin Bridge, a K-Line charter from Seaspan International.. However the real news was today's spotting of a new ONE dry container.


There has been some discussion in the shipping industry about the new ONE colour. Called cherry blossom magenta, it is traditionally a symbol of spring in Japan. However there is the question of the practicality of maintaining the colour. The general consensus seems to fit into the "What were they thinking" category. ONE has some ships in service now with this colour applied to the ship's hull. Can't wait to see one here.

ONE is a member of the THE Alliance with Yang Ming and HAPAG-Lloyd, so we are sure to see one someday.

Rebranding is also afoot in the oil distribution business in Atlantic Canada, with Irving Oil purchasing the Ultramar gas stations and convenience stores in the region.


Workers swarm over a former Ultramar station and get the Irving sign into position.

This will likely result in more business at Irving's Woodside marine terminal in Halifax harbour.

Old tanks coming down at Valero, with cars in the background.

The stations were previously supplied by Valero, and I note demolitions at their Eastern Passage tank storage facility. Valero still supplies Petro-Canada, and perhaps other gas stations in the area from their refinery in Lévis, QC, but  the local facility is underutilized. The site of the former Gulf Oil refinery - long since shut down - is right next door to Autoport, and they allow Autoport to use some of their land already. Despite a huge expansion to Autoport's storage facility recently, they will likely do a deal for more.

With no refineries in Halifax it is rare to see a crude oil tanker, particularly a fully laden one. Today's arrival of the Malta flag Patroclus involved some very careful navigation. Despite the tide being relatively high, the ship took to the deep water western channel  and even deviated from that to avoid a high spot. Other ships and boats were cautioned out of the way and the pilot boat stood by off middle ground to help guide the ship. Harbour regulations require two pilots and two tugs for tankers of this size.

Patroclus returns from the deep water western channel to the main channel as the supplier Venture Sea and a pleasure craft move toward the western channel. The stern escort tug Atlantic Oak is out of sight moving the ship's stern.

It is not immediately apparent where the ship is coming from, but its course approaching Halifax was from the south. Its destination will be revealed when it departs later this evening - watch for an update


The ship was built by Hyundai Ulsan in 2009 as Astro Patroclus but was renamed in the same year. At 79,890 grt, 158,267 dwt it is not the largest ship to call in Halifax, but it may be one of the deepest. Due to the position of tugs and shadows I was not able to read the draft marks, but the web says it is 17m (55.7 ft). However based on the way the ship was handled I suspect it was in excess of 17.7m (58.07 ft) - the figure requiring special permission from the Port. Update: on departing the ship reported a draft of 16.95m, and gave Saint John, NB as its destination.



Patroclus brings up in number one anchorage in preparation to take bunkers.

Bishu Highway was unloading cars at Autoport this morning when BMW announced that it is raising car prices because of the current trade and tariff war. What this uncertainly will mean for Autoport, and Canadian car buyers remains to be seen, except it is likely not good news.



Bishu Highway dates from 2009 when it was cranked out by Shin Kurushima Toyohashi. With a gross tonnage of 56,978 grt, 17,649 dwt, it has a capacity of 6,135 cars on 11 decks. The ship has called in Halifax many times, averaging about one call a year, although it was last here as recently as March 13.


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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Some weekend activity

There was lots of activity in the harbour over the weekend as usual. Among the more interesting:

The small asphalt / bitumen tanker Feng Huang AO sailed on Saturday from the McAsphalt dock in Eastern Passage after delivering a cargo. Since it is paving season, demand for the commodity is high, and Irving Oil, among the producers have chartered the a US tug and barge combo Coho and Penn No.92  for two trips under a coasting license. One trip was last week and another is to follow in August. However McAsphalt needed more so brought in another load - probably from the Caribbean on Feng Huang AO.

 Feng Huang AO makes the turn around Ives Knoll as it heads to sea and Tarragona, Spain, in ballast.
 
The ship is registered in Hong Kong and was built by Qingshan Wuhan in China in 2016, with tonnages of 10,377 grt, 12,799 dwt, and has the extra boilers and equipment needed to keep the cargo hot. Among the more interesting features of its design are the full width bridge and the main deck which slopes upward towards the accommodations and toward the forepeak.

In a reversal of the usual pattern the tanker Atlantic Breeze arrived from Saint John, NB. Usually these foreign flag product tankers come from the Netherlands directly to Halifax, then on to Saint John.

 Tugs assist the Atlantic Breeze alongside Irving Oil's Woodside terminal. Not seen is a third tug, Roseway, operating as line boat to take the ship's headlines to a shore bollard.

It is a typical mid-range tanker of 29,266 grt, 49,999 dwt, built by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan in 2007. It also flies the Hong Kong flag.

Imperial Oil had only just cleared the tanker Seabreeze from its number 3 dock - so there was lots of breeze on a hot day.



Sunday was likely the busiest pleasure craft day of the year in Halifax harbour - not just in sheer numbers, but also in tonnage.

The container ship Berlin Bridge managed to thread its way in, despite having to make at least one warning signal for an inattentive sail boat.


Once round George's Island headed for the ferry track, and still well clear of other vessels it passed the monster yacht Kamaxitha getting underway from its berth at Purdy's wharf and heading for sea.



Built in 2012 by Royal Huisman the all aluminum vessel has an overall length of 53.75m (bowsprit included) and 41.22m at the waterline. Its breadth is variously reported, but seems to be 9.07m. Displacing about 270 tonnes, it features all the excesses one might expect on a vessels of its size.
 
It put to sea using its 805 bhp MTU main engine, but may have decided to sail once outside the harbour. It gave Nuuk, Greenland as its next port - and why not. Its air draft is reported to be 57m. Incidentally the maximum air draft under the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge is 46.9m.

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