Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Autoport strike

Autoport, Eastern Canada's transshipment facility for import and export automobiles, is located in Eastern Passage, an arm of Halfax harbour. Autoport is owned by CN Rail and receives European imports, processes them, stores them, then sends them out to the rest of Canada by truck or train on a "just in time" delivery method. It also sends domestic vehicles to Newfoundland weekly on the ship Oceanex Sanderling. Some export vehicles go out from Autoport and some smaller industrial vehicles such as farm tractors may be imported. The widely quoted figure of the number of vehicles processed each year is 185,000. [See yesterday's post for more on CN Rail].

Today, February 27, operations were disrupted by a strike of 239 workers. Among the duties of these workers is to move automobiles within the facility to storage areas, and it is reported that CN has brought in replacement workers as part of their contingency planning. It is also reported that the strike has prevented unloading of today's auto carrying ship. I can't confirm that, and in fact suspect that there was some unloading.

Today's arrival is the Wolfsburg the second of two new ships that have recently been built to fulfil ten year charters (with a two year extension option) to Volkswagen. The first ship, the Emden was here February 9.

The Wolfsburg was delivered in November 2023 by Guangzhou Shipyard International and is a 69,470 gt, 19,203 dwt ship with a capacity of 7,000 Car Equivalent Units on thirteen decks. Its main engine is an MAN (a Volkswagen subsidiary) and is rated for dual fuel. With two 1.675 cubic meter LNG fuel tanks, it has a range of 15,000 nautical miles. 

Owners SFL Corp (Ship Finance International Ltd, controlled by John Frederiksen of Norway) has a fleet of 73 ships, mostly tankers. SFL's fleet includes seven autocarriers and they will take delivery this year of two more of the 7,000 CEU class ships for long term charter to K-Line.



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