Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Whole lot of RoRo goin' on

 Halifax is in the midst of a couple of days of busy RoRo activity. It began this morning, June 7, with the arrival of the auto carrier Sunshine Ace from Emden. The ship has been a regular caller in Halifax for several years, most recently on May 14. On that visit it arrived from Veracruz, Mexico and sailed directly to Emden, arriving there May 25 and sailing again May 27 for Halifax.

File photo: April 21, 2018

 The Sunshine Ace dates from 2009 when it was built by Minami-Nippon in Marugame. The 58,917 grt, 18,858 dwt ship has a capacity of 5,200 cars.

June 7, 2023.

 A bit later in the morning it was the Asian Empire arriving from Goteborg (May 24-26) and Bremerhaven (May 28-30), It tied up at Pier 9C to off load non-automobile RoRo cargo.

As usual it had to transit the Narrows, turn in Bedford Basin and return to the Narrows in order to tie up starboard side to Pier 9C. Typical of most auto carriers, its fixed stern ramp is angled to starboard.

Built in 1998 by Hyundai, Ulsan, it is a 71,383 gt, 25,756 dwt ship with a capacity of 7,645 CEU (Car Equivalent Units).

After unloading maachinery and other RoRo cargo, the ship remains at Pier 9C over night and will  move to Autoport tomorrow morning.

With the Autoport pier occupied and Berth 41 at PSA Halifax also occupied with the container ship ONE Eagle there was nowhere for the Oceanex Sanderling to work its RoRo cargo. The ship's weekly run to and from St.John's includes trailers (loaded and unloaded at PSA) and new cars (loaded at Autoport) and some pickup trucks and cars at PSA. The ship's container cargo is handled at PSA Halifax.

The ship went to anchor for the night.

 Oceanex Sanderling carries a number of 53 foot long containers on deck.

Tomorrow another ConRo ship, Nohan Ava is due on its weekly call from Argentia, NL and St-Pierre et Miquelon. It has recently shifted is operation from PSA Fairview Cove to PSA's southend terminal (not sure why*) but there will be no space there tomorrow, so it will dock instead at Pier 9C. I am not sure how much cargo it can move there (it does have its own cargo cranes), but I doubt that it will be able to handle any RoRo since its stern ramp is not angled, and requires a shoreside ramp.

The Nolhan Ava pictured November 27, 2022, also carries 53 foot containers, and has a fixed stern ramp.

* Foot note: Nolhan Ava's owners TMSI Ltd shifted their operations from the Southend Container Terminal to Fairview Cove only in the last year or so. That made eminent sense as a lot of their traffic seemed to come on ACL ships from France. That cargo had to be unloaded at Fairview Cove, then interchanged over land (presumably in bond) through busy downtown Halifax streets. Now with many of those streets torn up, it seemed to me to make even more sense. 

Therefore the shift back to the South End is puzzling. I recently saw a small car and van on a flat container that had to be lifted from Fairview to the South End, which presumably would add cost compared to a move within the Fairvew Cove terminal. (Vehicles in St-Pierre et Miquelon are for the most part imported from France.)

Added to the container truck backlogs due the huge downtown Halifax road realignment project, the port is welcoming a steady stream of dump trucks for its own five year infill project.

With the Port of Halifax promoting the reduction of truck traffic downtown, it is apparent that not all of their "partners" are listening.


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