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.

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.

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.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Mac, why is the pier face work going on now are they late or delayed?