Since 2010 Maersk and CMA CGM have called in Halifax on their jointly operated weekly North Atlantic service, named CAE (Canada Atlantic Express) and St-Laurent I respectively. The normal route is:
Westbound: Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Montreal, Halifax, and
Eastbound: Montreal, Halifax, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Antwerp.
However Halifax seems to be an optional port, perhaps depending on weather, ice or cargo offering. Ships sometimes sail directly from Montreal for Bremerhaven. By my unofficial count this has happened 11 times in the 22 weeks so far in 2022. The most frequent misses were in January, February, March, when ice likely delayed progress on the St.Lawrence, and Halifax was skipped to maintain a weekly schedule. In addition to the skipped calls, what was once a dependable Saturday call has also slipped to Tuesday in the last month.
For most of those years the service has been operated by the 2890 TEU veterans Maersk Palermo, Maersk Patras and Maersk Penang and the 3108 TEU EMKea (a CMA CGM charter), but that is about to change.
Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, June 1, the CMA CGM Montreal (2553 TEU) will arrive in Halifax from Montreal for the first time. In the coming weeks Vayenga Maersk and Vistula Maersk (both 3600 TEU) will be taking up their slots. A fourth ship - yet to be named may be added or the much newer EM Kea may continue for a time. The older "P" class ships are nearing the dreaded 5th special survey and may be short listed for the scrap yard - or resale in a hot tonnage market.
I will provide more detail on the new ships when they arrive, and when I learn the fate of the others.
But to look back on the familiar ships that we will likely see no more:
Maersk Palermo is scheduled to sail from Montreal on June 2, but does not show up as a Halifax caller. It was here last on Tuesday, April 26:
Maersk Palermo April 26, 2022.
All three "P" ships were built by Kvaerner Warnow Werft, Warnemunde in 1998. This one was orginally P+O Nelloyd Auckland and operated as Lykes Pioneer from 2000 to 2002. It then reverted to P+O Nedlloyd Auckland and was renamed Maersk Palermo in 2006 when Maersk acquired P+O Nelloyd.
Even when somewhat scruffy after a hard winter's work, the Maersk blue still looked good in bright sunshine.
Maersk Palermo October 4, 2016.
Maersk Patras was built as P+O Nedlloyd Marseille and was renamed in 2006. Its last call in Halifax was on March 19. On its December 22, 2021 visit it was certainly showing signs of wear and tear.
When fresh from refit it looked good even in low light:
Maersk Patras December 22, 2021.
Maersk Penang was orginally the P+O Nedlloyd Jakarta until 2006. It was last calls in Halifax were on Saturday, April 2, 2022 and Tuesday, May 3, 2022:
Maersk Penang, April 2, 2022
Maersk Penang May 3, 2022
Odd man out in the current rotation is CMA CGM's contribution, EM Kea. Built in 2007 by Stocznia Sczecinska Nowa, in Poland, it is a 35,874 gt, 41,850 dwt ship with a capacity of 3108 TEU. Built as Cap Norte it was renamed Cape Egmont in 2012 and became EM Kea in 2015, the same year it joined this rotation. Its last call in Halifax was on Tuesday, May 10. It is due in Montreal again on June 6.
EM Kea, June 7, 2019
As with most Polish ships, it is much more stylish than its businesslike German counterparts.
EM Kea June 23, 2018.
My favourite view of the EM Kea was not taken in Halifax, but on someone's million dollar front lawn August 15, 2018. (I am sure no clues are needed as to location.)
A previous member of the rotation was the Maersk Pembroke, the former P+O Nedlloyd Sydney Also built in 1998 by the same yard to the same dimensions as the other three "P" ships, it was sold for scrap in 2017 after an engine room fire in the Celtic Sea.
Maersk Pembroke January 26, 2015
Maersk Pembroke January 26, 2015
There have been a few short term substitutes on this service over the years, but noting them would make this post unbearably long.