Unloading the ship Onego Bayou at Pier 27 has been a laborious process. It has probably been made more so by cold weather and snow since the ship's arrival February 21. The cargo of rails that the ship is delivering for CN must be craned off the ship in small bundles 12m (39 ft) long, then stockpiled on the dock, much liked stacked lumber, to be held until needed by CN. It is then loaded on special rail cars and sent to Winnipeg for welding into continuous welded rail (CWR) ribbons to North American standard 400m (1/4 mile) lengths. [See Shipfax for February 22 .]
Today, February 28, with draft barely reduced since it arrived, the ship moved out to anchor to free up berth space for another ship.
That other ship is the Puka - the oft renamed Nirint Line vessel, with a cargo of nickel sulfides from Cuba. See November 25, 2022 Shipfax post. (It has sailed for Nirint as Trinitas, Hollandia and Nirint Hollandia).
Puka's cargo for Halifax consists mostly of bulk bags (approximately 1m x 1m x 1m / 33" x 33" x 40") which must also be craned off the ship in groups. Once on the dock the bags can be forklifted for storage in the transit shed or loaded onto waiting railway gondolas for shipment to Fort Saskatchewan, AB.
Unfortunately the port now has only one berth for breakbulk shipments like the steel rail or concentrates where a large laydown area is needed and a number of rail cars must be accommodated. Richmond terminal (Piers 9 to 9C) does not have enough laydown area to store the rails, nor rail siding capacity for either cargo (besides being very awkward for rail access). Pier 30-31 was decommissioned as part of the southend container terminal expansion, leaving Pier 27 as the only remaining open pier. The other Ocean Terminal piers do not have overhead clearance for cranes because of grain galleries.
While the rail and concentrates break bulk cargo may not have the profitability and scale of container traffic, it is an important and regular part of the port's business and having only one berth will inevitably lead to conflicting demand such as it did today.
Puka is expected to complete unloading tomorrow by late tomorrow March 1, allowing Onego Bayou to move back to the berth on March 2.