Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Big Box Arrival - Carpathia, USCG, and ZIM

 The were three items of note from Halifax today August 23. In order of occurrence they were:

USCG Tybee

The United States Coast Guard's cutters (all their craft are called cutters*) visit Halifax regularly, but it is more usual that we see their larger vessels, such as the Famous class. Most recently it was USCGC Bear WMEC-901 on July 28 en route to Operation Nanook in the far north. Today however it was one of their smaller craft, USCGC Tybee WPB-1330 an Island class patrol boat. 

The 49 cutters of the class were built between 1985 and 1992 by Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, LA, based on a British design by Vosper Thornycroft. The 34 m (110 feet) boats achieve 29.5 knots and were lightly armed with two machine guns and a chain gun. The compliment of 16 includes only two officers. 

How their sea keeping abilities compare with Canada's Damen design Hero class Coast Guard patrol vessels (140 ft, 26 knots) would be interesting to know. 

USCGC Tybee was commissioned in 1986 and is based in Woods Hole, MA.

* USCG vessels have been called cutters in recognition of the founding of the organisation as the Revenue Service of the United States. Revenue vessels were traditionally fast sailing craft (originally cutter rigged) designed to patrol, deter and chase smugglers, and were (and still are) called cutters.

ZIM Tarragona

A familiar caller on the ZIM Container Service Atlantic (ZCA) route,  ZIM Tarragona made its way into port for the start on the "evening" shift at PSA Halifax. 

 Built by Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipyard in Jiangyin, China in 2010, the 40,542 gt, 50,088 dwt ship has a capacity of 4256 TEU including 608 reefers. 

I suspect its operators were not pleased to have to wait off the berth at PSA Halifax Atlantic Gateway for nearly an hour. The ship at Pier 42 [see the following] did not get away in time for the usual 1700 shift change, so the ZIM Tarragona had to cool its heels, so to speak, in the number one anchorage area until the other ship cleared.


Carpathia for the Big Box 

The so called "Big Box" super stores like Walmart and COSTCO are huge customers for container lines serving Asia to North America trade routes. Frustrated with long delays at major ports (at both ends of the chain), COSTCO in particular has opted to take matters into its own hands and has chartered three ships to carry its own cargo. The first of those, the Carpathia made its first North American call today. The ship sailed from Ningbo July 27, Taicang July 27, and transited the Panama Canal August 14-16. By avoiding the major congested ports in China and the west coast of North America, it has delivered cargo to Halifax in near record time (by today's standards). That cargo can now be delivered to cities in Canada and the US mid-west. The ship sailed this evening (after an hour's delay - see also above) for Baltimore, presumably with cargo for the eastern and southern United States.

With only cargo to unload, and none to load, it is difficult to explain why the ship was late leaving. Not an impressive start for a new service. My reaction may seem excessive, but COSTCO is reportedly paying $US 42,000 per day to charter the ship, so any delays that could result in overtime costs, more days at sea, or missing port schedules translates to money fairly quickly.

The Carpathia was built in 2003 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan, and carried the named CMA CGM Greece from 2004 to 2006. It is a 28,596 gt, 39,443 dwt ship with a capacity of 2826 TEU including 554 reefer plugs [not used by COSTCO]

COSTCO has also apparently leased a great many new containers too, as almost all the visible boxes appeared to be brand new and are labelled for Triton International, a container leasing company.



Also of note, the ship's after deck was completely clear. That space is normally reserved for empties but had no boxes since no empties have been generated yet. It will be interesting to see how the "import only" COSTCO deals with empties as it will have to send boxes back to China to be re-filled. Those "non-revenue" return trips may tempt COSTCO into making space available to other shippers.

The name Carpathia will be familiar to many as that of Cunard's Royal Mail Ship Carpathia that rescued 705 survivors of the Titanic in April 1912. That Carpathia was launched by Swan + Hunter at Wallsend August 6, 1902 and was lost to U-Boat attack July 17, 2018. This Carpathia was launched, coincidentally, on August 23, 2003.


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