Monday, April 15, 2024

Unusual RoRo - the Trica

 RoRo services in the port of Halifax tend to be quite predictable with auto carriers calling at Autoport to deliver import cars and some RoRo cargoes (and sometimes to load exports cars) or at Pier 9C to off load non-auto cargo such as large trucks and mining, forestry and farm machinery. Atlantic Container Line's weekly service also brings in RoRo cargo of all sorts - some self-propelled and some on trailers and Maffeis.

Today, April 15, saw an unusual RoRo delivery on an unusual ship. The cargo was a large number (I hear 200) vans, which were landed at PSA Fairview Cove.  The vans were mostly white, but there were some blue and some red, so it appears that they were for general distribution rather than part of a single customer order. It will be interesting to see how they will be forwarded from Fairvew Cove, since they would normally be serviced and stored then sent by rail if landed at Autoport.

That the vans were delivered to PSA Fairview Cove may have more to do with the ship than with the cargo. There is a major demand for auto carriers, particularly in Asia and with re-routings caused by the hostilities in the Red Sea shippers are looking for supplementary tonnage. Today's ship normally finds itself in the Baltic, so it is certainly well off its usual trade lanes, and would likely not be a first choice for the shipper of cars. However the vans are considerably higher than cars so would have to be loaded on an autocarrier with some moveable decks.

Trica is one of eleven similar ships operated by the Finnish company Transfennica. Founded in 1976 to operate between Finland, Estonia, Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and England, the company has been part of the Dutch Spliethoff group since 2002. (The ship wears the Spliethoff funnel mark and has the unusual Spliethoff type cutwater bow.) The Trica and fleet mates are identified as "Spliethoff class" ships.

Trica was built in 2007 by Szczecinska Nowa in Poland and is a 28,389 gt, 17,499 dwt high ice class combination container and RoRo ship with a capacity of 640 TEU and with 2,963 lane meters for RoRo (about 500 CEU). but more usually carries truck trailers. With an operating speed of 22 knots it normally works scheduled fixed day routes year round.

The ship docked at PSA Fairview Cove because it has a fixed stern ramp, whereas Autoport can only off load ships with a stern ramp skewed to starboard or a slewing ramp which can be adjusted to suit the facilites (for example the Oceanex Sanderling.) Trica's ramp is mounted such that it must work  perpendicular to a berth. PSA Fairivew Cove has a ramp facility that is suited for inline ramps.

The large one piece "tailgate" type ramp covers three loading bays, presumably aligned with ramps to serve the main top deck, which is partially open, and the holds. When closed the ramp serves as a full width gate.

The ship's accommodation and bridge structure is located so as to provide container loading space on a short open after deck with fixed cellular frames and lashing bridges for forty foot containers.

I cannot say if it actually unloaded any containers during its stay in Halifax - it seems unlikely. The ship arrived from and sailed for the port of Vlissingen (Flushing), in the Netherlands, and was very likely a "spot charter" for a single trip with the vans. (It may have been available due to widespread "political strikes" in the Baltic countries that have disrupted Transfennica's usual schedules and routes.)


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