Wednesday, July 12, 2023

MSC Cornelia - the shift is on

 The long rumoured rationalisation of shipping line allocations between Halifax's two container terminals appears to have started, with MSC Cornelia arriving at PSA Fairview Cove this morning instead of PSA Atlantic Gateway (south end terminal).

The two container terminals were orginally under seperate management and competed with each other for business, but this ended when PSA acquired the management contracts for both facilities.

The size of ship that can be accommodated at Fairview Cove is limited by clearance under the two harbour bridges, which was not much of an issue when the terminal was built forty years ago. With the advent of larger ships the two terminals could not always compete with each other, and Fairview was in danger of becoming under utilized. 

Since PSA has taken over management, some lines that were contracted to use Fairview Cove have sent their ships to the southend terminal on an ad hoc basis - depending on the ships' size - generally ships of over 9,000 TEU.

It has been expected that some shipping lines that normally use ships of under 9,000 TEU would be shifted to Fairview Cove to avoid congestion in the southend. Particularly since there is a major redevelopment project planned within the southend terminal. That congestion will soon become a reality - at least on an interim bassis. New rail lines, rearrangement of the truck gate, truck staging area and staff parking will mean that part of the facility will be torn up for a time. 

Construction of the new maintenance facility (which seems to be taking forever) began last year and is finally begining to show above grade. Infilling of the basins between piers has begun and tenders have been called for demolition of the transit sheds at pier 33-34.That work will eventually result in more laydown area but it will be at least a year - if not longer - before the added space in usable. One new crane may have arrived by then.

MSC Cornelia first called in Halifax on March 17 (St.Patrick's Day) but this time chose to call on Battle of Orange Day July 14 - take your pick. (My Irish ancestors would have had no problem.)

When the ship called in March (photo above) at the southend terminal, Shipfax reported:

"Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing delivered the ship in 2010. The 54,182 gt, 63,069 dwt vessel has a capacity of 5089 TEU. Originally named RHL Fiducia, it was renamed Cornelia I in 2016 and became MSC Cornelia in 2021. It has a capacity of 5089 TEU including 385 reefer points.

"The ship appeared to be well loaded but was only carrying containers four boxes high on deck. Perhaps this was a precaution against potential sea conditions. The ship was built to the SDARI 5100 PMAX standard design (which I assume means 5100 nominal TEU / Panamax) but is listed with a capacity of 3,350 TEU at 14 tonnes each. Therefore depending on the ratio of loads to empties, the deck load may vary. With a glut of empties choking ports world wide, it is likely that the ship would be carrying mostly loads."

Once again the ship was carrying a deck load four boxes in height, but this time perhaps was not as deeply loaded. (I assume that the salinity of Bedford Basin must be close to ocean levels despite recent heavy rains.) 

The MSC Cornelia is west bound on the Turkey-Greece service. Interestingly since leaving Piraeus June 25 the ship called in Haifa (June 27) - that is an addition to the previous rotation and may mean added reefer cargo. It then called in Valencia, Spain July 1-2 and Sines Portugal July 4-5. It is due in Boston July 14. 

The tug Atlantic Beaver on a stern line, lines the ship up for the Narrows on departure July 12.


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