When extensive flooding in Newfoundland cut off road access to Port aux Basques last week Marine Atlantic was forced to shift its Newfoundland terminal operations to Argentia until roads and bridges could be re-opened. Long lineups of trucks both in Newfoundland and in North Sydney, Nova Scotia resulted in some cargo diverting to rival Oceanex. Both containers, RoRo and drop trailers can be handled by Oceanex Sanderling, out of Halifax, but none of Oceanex's three ships (two operating from Montreal, one from Halifax, all directly to St.John's) can accommodate the truck tractors and drivers.
Oceanex Sanderling moving cross harbour from PSA to Autoport
Some of the delayed cargo is perishable, and some other other is needed urgently, so Oceanex is reponding to demand by compressing the Oceanex Sanderling's schedule. Normally the ship sails from Halifax Friday evening and returns from St.John's late the following week, allowing two days to work cargo at PSA Halifax and Autoport. This week the ship returned to Halifax this morning (Tuesday, November 30) and is due to sail this evening. It will not be loading any vehicles at Autoport, but instead will be working containers and drop trailers, and any other RoRo cargo, only at PSA Halifax.
Oceanex Sanderling is now due back in St.John's December 2. Oceanex has not pubished a schedule beyond that date, so I suppose they will respond to demand by shortening turn around time at both ends and making extra trips as needed. This current trip is Voyage #49 for the year, so it is likely they will exceed 52 trips in 2021.
[File photo - 2018]