Monday, November 7, 2022

Make Way for More

 Expansion of the Port's two container handling facilities is well underway. When completed, scenes such as this morning's (November 7) at Fairveiw Cove will be a thing of the past.

Yesterday morning's arrival, NYK Deneb on THE Alliance's AL5 service from North Europe - North America completed cargo work and got underway, while this morning's arrival ONE Hangzhou Bay on the EC5 Asia - North American route, waited for the berth (and cranes) to come alongside.

ONE Hangzhou Bay Bridge stands by as machinery spreads fill off the east end of the pier. Built in 2012 by IHI Kure as Hangzhou Bay Bridge, the 96,790 gt, 96,980 dwt ship has a capacity of 9120 TEU and is amongst the largest ships to call at Fairview Cove regularly. It was renamed in 2021 when the three Japanese shipping companies NYK, MOL and K-Line merged their container lines. (The NYK Deneb was also part of that merger, but was not renamed as it may be a chartered vessel.)

The huge area of fill accumulating off the east end of the Fairview Cove terminal will eventually allow for a near doubling of the size of the current land area.

The November 4 view (with the MSC Jersey  and Nolhan Ava alongside) shows the length of the extension beyond the smallest (inoperable) crane.

Fairview Cove will need more cranes eventually too when it welcomes more ships at the same time. It only has three working cranes at present.

Despite restricted air draft clearances under the two harbour bridges, Fairview Cove can still handle  most of the container ships operating on the North Atlantic. 

NYK Deneb, built in 2007 by Hyundai HI, Ulsan is a 55,497 gt, 65,953 dwt ship with a capacity of 4922 TEU. Ships of this size, once thought to be inefficient, were in great demad post-COVID. However they may soon be victims of the current slump. In any event, 10,000 TEU plus size ships will never completely replace smaller ships on most trade routes, and there will be lots of work for Fairview Cove for the foreseeable future.

With both Halifax container facilities under PSA management, lines and ships can be shuffled to maximize efficiency at the terminals. There are no restrictions for the largest ships to use the southend terminal.

As of today, November 7, filling has started (at least officially) in the Pier A-1 / Pier B basin. The multi-year project will see the elimination of conventional finger pier berths (numbers 34 to 37) at the Ocean Terminals to create more backup land for the PSA Atlantic Hub. Additional cranes and expanded rail capacity are also part of the work.

Before containerization had completely taken over general cargo work the finger piers were lined with cargo sheds and ships took up many of the berths as they loaded or unloaded goods piece by piece. Most of the sheds are gone now and space betweeen the two piers in this 1973 photo will be filled in over the next three to five years.

The Port will bring in pyritic slate from building excavations in Halifax. The form of shale that underlays most of the peninsula and some of the mainland is highly acidic and once exposed to air cannot be re-used as backfill for buildings. To neutralize and store it safely, the material is "sequestered" - immersed in salt water and covered with clear fill. Much of the Fairvew Cove filled area was constructed with the slate, and is now being topped with clean fill. The slate fill operation has now been transferred to Pier A-1 / B. The completion date for the filling will depend on the level of construction activity in Halifax over the next few years.

Coupled with a major re-organization within the southend terminal, construction of new buildings, truck gate, employee parking and pedestrian access, the project will change the landscape of the above photo perhaps beyond recognition.


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