Saturday, December 23, 2023


To avoid being in port over Christmas, the race was onto get as many ships as possible in and out of port today (December 23). The term "Christmas" as far as the port is concerned, starts December 24 and extends through the 25th (actual Christmas Day) and the 26th (Boxing Day). Premium wage rates apply for longshore workers on these holidays, and terminal gates are closed to truck traffic. To add to the volume of traffic was the fact that most of today's arrivals had been holding offshore due to weather for a day or two.

Almost every berth was occupied for the better part of the day today, with coming and going at some.

Starting in the north end of the port, the Baie St.Paul arrived at Gold Bond gypsum in Bedford Basin this morning, to squeeze in another cargo. The Canadian flagged ship may be heading for a Great Lakes port, so is in a rush to load and go before the St.Lawrence Seaway closes for the winter. This season's January 5 closing is the latest for the modern day system, which opened in 1959. (The old St.Lawrence Canals which preceded the Seaway usually closed before Christmas.) The Canso Canal closing date may also be a factor, as the ship would likely take that route. (The Canal / Lock usually closes on December 23 for repair and maintenance work.)

The Baie St.Paul is built to maximum Seaway dimensions, and was reinforced to make short ocean voyages - usually only as far as Halifax. For a ship built as recently as 2012 (by Chnengxi Shipyard Jiangyin, Jiangsu) it certainly appears in hard shape.

Aside from the usual late season "lock rash" that all maximum breadth Seaway ships exhibit, the ship also has the "hungry horse" look. That effect, where  hull plates have contorted between ribs, is usually the result of many years of torsional forces.

The Baie St. Paul is a 24,340 gt, 37,690 dwt ship but when loaded to maximum Seaway draft of 8.08 meters (26'-6")(in fresh water) it loads about 29,650 tonnes of gypsum in Halifax. 

Seaway maximum hull dimensions are 225.5m (740') x 23.77m (78'). Since the locks are 24.4m (80') wide, and ships usually slide along the approach wall to ensure that they enter the lock cleanly, "lock rash" is inevitable. However a factor in the "hungry horse" look is twisting of the the long and narrow hull form, so may also be inevitable over time.

The Baie St.Paul is a perfect fit at the Gold Bond dock in Lower Burnside. The facility's traveling conveyor moves back and forth along the length of the ship for even loading.

 PSA Fairview Cove was all out today with the early morning departure of the storm delayed NYK Rigel alongside since yesterday and Oceanex Sanderling waiting its turn at anchor.

On its weekly run to St.John's, the Oceanex Sanderling may be in no great hurry as it would not wish to arrive in St.John's on Christmas Day. It did manage to squeeze in a brief call at Autoport but in any event there is at least one more ship ahead of it for Fairview Cove.

The ZIM feeder Annie B (see yesterday's post) moved out to anchor this morning, but will likely move back in after the Navios Indigo sails. That ship arrived at PSA Fairview Cove this morning on the ZCA / AL7 service from Mediterranean ports.

 The 4250 TEU ship made its first call in Halifax October19, 2023 on the joint ZIM Container Services Atlantic/ Hapag-Lloyd route from the Mediterranean to North America east coast. That route's easternmost ports are Haifa and Ashdod, with scheduled calls in Egypt, Turkey, Italy and Spain. From Halifax it is due to call in New York, Norfolk and Savannah before heading eastbound again.

At PSA Halifax Gateway it was similarly busy with the Ultra size ONE Eagle alongside Pier 41 until late tonight. MSC Alyssa occupied Pier 42 most of the day with MSC Marianna due to take its place later. Also due is Eimskip's Lagarfoss and an ultra-size, CMA CGM T. Jefferson, is anchored offshore waiting its turn.

Some ice from the recent freezing rain still coats the grass and a picnic table at Point Pleasant Park while cranes work the MSC Alyssa at Pier 42. 

There was also a run on autocarriers trying to beat the deadline. The SFL Conductor made an unusual late night call last night, sailing at 0200 hrs this morning. Morning Concert arrived yesterday afternoon at Pier 9C to offload the usual array of machinery before moving to Autoport this morning to disembark cars. It will sail late this afternoon.

 The Grande Luanda is anchored off Halifax and is due this evening, after dark and is due to sail tomorrow mid-day.

The pilot boat Capt. E.T.Rogers makes its way inbound in glassy calm conditions as Grande Luanda rides at anchor offshore.

 Thr tanker Algocanada is still at anchor. It moved there to wait out the recent storm, but I assumed it would move to Imperial Oil's number 3 dock as soon as conditions calmed down. However another Canadian tanker, the Kivalliq W., arriving from Sarnia, put in this morning - it had been holding offshore due to weather. (The extra overtime rates do not apply at the oil terminals which are privately operated, but the supplies of fuel products are constantly in demand and deliveries are scheduled weeks or even months in advance. Depending on the product being carried some ships would be given priority to offload.)

Algocanada is fully loaded.


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