Friday, November 24, 2023

Firing on all cylinders

 It was a busy day in the Port of Halifax, with ships working at almost every available berth. This is not unheard of - particularly around a holiday. There is no holiday in Canada, but as yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States, ships may well have adjusted their schedules to avoid overtime rates and traffic jams farther south.

Of course with containers and RoRo, the labour needed to load and off load ships is not what it once was, and ships can now arrive and leave in a matter of hours. The sight of ships tied up end to end at every berth for several days is not likely to happen as it did up until the 1960s.


By my count there are fifteen ships in this 1960s photo, occupying berths from Pier 20 to 39. All the transit sheds, except one at Pier 26 are now gone. The gross tonnage of all the ships would still be less than one of the Ultra Size ships that now calls in Halifax.

All those berths have become under-utlized, and that is why the Port of Halifax can expand the South End Container Terminal (SECT) by demolishing the transit sheds and filling in between the finger piers. The new land space will be used to increase the number of containers that can be handled as larger and larger ships arrive.

Even without those giant ships, the SECT was working three ships today, none exceptionally large. The MSC Alina, arrived at Pier 41 on its return, eastbound, leg of the Indusa service from Baltimore, Savannah, Norfolk and Philadelphia to northwest India.

 The ship was built in 2014 by Hyundai, Samho, registering 94,930 gt, 112,171 dwt, with a capacity of about 9,000 TEU. Operating briefly as UASC Tabuk it was renamed Skyros in the same year and became MSC Alina in 2021.

It was joined at Pier 41 by the Nolhan Ava on its weeekly run to Argentia and St-Pierre et Miquelon for TMSI. 


Oddly the Nolhan Ava appeared to be unloading an Eimskip container while the next arrival, the Skogafoss was arriving from Portland, ME en route to Argentia and Reykjavik also for Eimskip.


Also arriving this morning was the autocarrier Grande Halifax for Grimaldi Group. Built in 2018 by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, the ship was officially dedicated in Halifax May 16, 2018 with the CEO of the Halifax Port Corporation as sponsor. On this trip it is arriving from Salerno and Livorno, Italy and Valencia, Spain.

The Grande Halifax is a mid-size ship of 62,134 gt,18,353 dwt with a 150 tonne SWL stern ramp and a capacity of 6700 CEU.

At PSA Fairveiw Cove the Oceanex Sanderling was loading for Newfoundland on its weektly trip to St.John's. It was joined late in the afternoon by Atlantic Sail arriving from Norfolk on its eastbound transatlantic run.

As Shipfax has reported before, eastbound transatlantic cargo levels are extremely thin and the relatively few containers on deck is a testament to this fact. The trade imbalance of imports far outweighing exports is seldom more obvious than in the Port of Halifax where finished goods cargoes are predominantly imports - both containers and autos.

As a follow up to yesterday's post, the heavy load carrier GPO Emerald was preparing to get underway as Atlantic Sail arrived. Having unloaded its cargo of wind farm towers, the ship is headed for Rostock, Germany for more. The ship's deck is clear except for the cradles that hold the tower components, and a crib structure (black colour).  


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