Sunday, November 12, 2017

Disappearing cranes

Both Halifax container terminals are disposing of old, obsolete or broken down container cranes. This is not a positive sign for increasing the port's capacity since neither of the terminals has revealed plans for more cranes.
Clearly something must happen soon or further ship delays and reduction in throughput time will only worsen.

Two of the three large cranes work the YM Express this afternoon at Fairview Cove. Demolition is  underway on one of the older (and much smaller cranes) at the west berth.

Ceres at Fairview Cove, there is now only one berth operational. The west berth has large post-Panamax size cranes, but the terminal needs two working berths (or more) to meet demand. Ships are forced to anchor awaiting availability. Tomorrow the arriving Bayonne Bridge will anchor in the Basin all day until Itea clears the berth.

With lots of room for berth space, the terminal will need more cranes to meet demand.

Fairview needs at a minimum two more cranes, but three would be better, and all need to be able to handle (old) post Panamax ships, since those ships can fit under the bridges and reach Bedford Basin.

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Work is well advanced on the second of three cranes to be dismantled at Halterm.

At Halterm, three obsolete cranes that have not seen service for several years are being scrapped. The first is gone and the second is about half-way down. A fourth crane that has been out of service for months may also be on the list. It served pier 36 and the two ships that regularly call there (it is also a RoRo berth) have not had crane access.


 The 10,062 TEU ZIM Djibouti awaits its turn at Halterm, anchored outside the port limits.

Despite tremendous growth in container traffic this year, both terminals need to work ships without delay, and anchored or waiting ships is not a good sign in the container business.

Halterm needs one more large cranes on the pier 41-42 berth (and another 500 feet or more of berth length) just to meet current needs.


My short term plan for relieving pressure on Halifax street traffic would see at least four if not five lines move from Halterm to Fairveiw Cove, since all use small ships and rely on truck delivery for a high percentage of their cargo. These are:
St-Pierre et Miquelon (containers and RoRo)
Melfi
Maersk / CMA CGM
Tropical
Oceanex (containers and RoRo)

This move would certainly justify a berth extension and new cranes at Fairview, and relieve the pressure on Halterm while necessary enlargement of berths takes place. But quick action is needed, since container cranes cannot be delivered over night. Fairview Cove would also need more land area (which is available) and more rail capacity.

Halterm would still have the large ships traffic from ZIM and CMA CGM  and the ability to use all its cranes to move the containers to trains more quickly and to an inland distribution terminal for transfer to trucks.

I estimate it will take five years (if there is a start today) to expand Halterm to meet demand from these expected larger ships.

This week another 21,000 TEU ship came into service on the Asia Europe run. Once thought to be science fiction, these huge ships are all too common now, and will force the previous behemoths of 10,000 plus size to move to smaller routes. Even ships of 10,000 TEU (the largest yet to call in Halifax) need six to eight cranes to move cargo with any kind of decent speed. If two ships of that size arrive at the same time.....

Six cranes work the 13,092 TEU Hanjin Gold in Hamburg in 2016. 
Three more cranes work the 9,580 TEU CSCL Pusan directly astern.
 
Projections for 2018 are that there will be 78 container ships of over 10,000 TEU delivered new from shipyards. With a world container trade increase expected to be near 5% the new deliveries (allowing for a substantial number of ships to be scrapped) keep supply ahead of demand by less than 1%. Even so, bigger and bigger ships will continue to call in Halifax, and only Halterm will be able to handle them. The pressure they will put on roads will clearly be intolerable unless there is more ship to rail transfer.

A proper multi-modal logistics park is clearly needed, well out of the built up area of Halifax. Since the current rail line is well underutilized, such a facility would serve both container terminals, but in my mind it must start by getting Halterm truck traffic off the streets. Terminal to terminal transfers must also be reduced and that would be accomplished to a certain extent by the shipping line relocations mentioned above.

I hear that heavy negotiations are underway between the Port, the City and CN, and I hope that there will be some announcements soon.

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Got 'em (all) - (oops) better late than never


 I intended to post this on October 14, but it somehow got stuck in my "drafts" file. Here it is late. 
 
It isn't often that I get the chance to capture every arrival and departure on a given day, but the combination of excellent weather, and a free Saturday made it possible.

First in was the Norwegian Jade. This is the first time I have seen this ship, built in 2006 as Pride of Hawai'i for Norwegian Cruise Lines' ill-fated American venture. After the line had huge losses, it was reassigned to Europe in 2008 and renamed, but apparently kept much of its Hawaiian themed décor. Until March of this year that is, when it was given an intensive three week refit and re-do.


By this time the sun was fully up (and directly in line with arrivals), so I skipped the next arrival, hoping to get it later on departure. Fritz Reuter (see below) tied up at pier 42.

The CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell left the Coast Guard base at BIO at 0800 for exercises offshore with Zodiacs.


Stationed in Newfoundland, the ship has been in these parts for a month or so replacing CCGS Earl Grey for the time being.

Built in 1985 in Marystown, NL as a supply ship on spec for the Newfoundland government, the MoT purchased and converted in 1987 for search and rescue work. It was removed from service and de-stored in a cost cutting purge in 2013, but was re-activated. It had a major refit this spring so should be in service for several years to come.

While in Dartmouth I noted the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth tied up at the Irving Oil Woodside terminal. This may be a first.


When Algoma took over harbour bunkering, the fuel supplier was the Imperial Oil refinery. When the refinery shut down  Stirling Fuels (part of  Miller/ McAsphalt Industries) secured the fuel provision contract. At various times the ship has gone to Point Tupper to load at NuStar's tank storage, or has received fuel brought from Central Canada aboard McAsphalt's own tug/barge.
Since Stirling is not a refiner in its own right, I guess they can buy fuel wherever they want, so perhaps this time they have sourced in from Irving Oil.
Algoma Dartmouth can carry diesel or heavy fuel oil as needed.

 Next in was the small cargo / container ship Hollandia working for Nirint Shipping. It arrived with nickel cargo from Cuba and has been a regular caller since 2014.

 
It was built in 2007 by the Damen Okean Mykolayiv, Ukraine shipyard and finished by Damen Hoogezand, Foxhol, Netherlands. Launched as Trinitas it was renamed Nirint Hollandia on delivery. It measures 8,999 grt, 12,000 dwt and carries two 80 tonne cranes. It was renamed in 2012.

The largest arrival of the day was the impressive CMA CGM Thames. With is split superstructure it looks much bigger than its container capacity would suggest. At 95,263 grt, 113,900 dwt, that capacity is reported to be 9365 TEU, including 1458 reefers.


Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company built the ship in 2015.

At one point late in the afternoon all four Halterm cranes were alongside the ship, but only three were actually working. The southernmost crane (near the bow) was moved out of the way of the departing Friz Reuter - see below.

There was one more arrival, this morning, the cruise ship Seabourn Quest following on the heels of CMA CGM Thames.

 The ship is on a return visit to Halifax.

Seen from a slightly better angle leaving pier 23 on October 10.

Noted for its luxury cruises to Antarctica for only 450 passengers, Seabourn has the smallest cruise ships in any major fleet.
It was completed in 2011 by the T.Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, on a hull built by Viktor Lenac in Rijeka and measures 32,346 grt. It has many amenities but also has a number of Zodiacs garaged in the hull for passenger excursions.

By late afternoon Fritz Reuter was ready to sail.
 

The ship had arrived in the morning and tied up at Pier 42 and used two of Halterm's cranes.
The 1732 TEU (including 379 reefers) ship is on its 32nd trip for Melfi Lines. Starting in 2013 the ship has been a regular caller every five weeks on Melfi's Europe via Halifax to Cuba service.
The 18,480 grt, 23,732 dwt ship dates from 2006 when it was launched as Maruba Zonda by Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard Co Ltd. It assumed its current name on delivery a few months later.


As soon as Fritz Reuter was off the berth the next ship berthed (its bow is just visible in the photo above). EM Kea is on its regular visit as part of the Maersk / CMA CGM transatlantic service. So as not to block the channel for the outbound Reuter, the ship made an unusual turn to port to come alongside. Usually ships are turned to starboard and back in. However with two tugs alongside, and a bit less wind than earlier, it was the best move to make.


It was not all commercial activity in the port today. Late season sail races for small craft took place in very stiff breezes this morning.

Although there have been above normal temperatures recently, this morning's air temperatures were in the single digits, and barely scraped above 10C when the races started. Water temperature on the other hand exceeded 15C!

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Friday, November 10, 2017

November 11 - Rembrance Day

The anniversary date of end of the First World War on November 11, 1918, is set aside as a special day for many Canadians. Ceremonies are held at several monuments in the Halifax region, but there are other reminders of wars too.
One of particular relevance to Halifax Harbour is the "The Last Steps" memorial arch at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic pier where CSS Acadia (a veteran of the two World Wars) is berthed.





Featuring a gangway and a life ring inscribed with the name of His Majesty's Troop Ship Saxonia, the arch is intended to remind us of the 350,000 troops  that embarked at Halifax piers for both World Wars, 60,000 of whom did not return. Bootprints on the pier and gangway are a stark reminder of the latter.
An interpretive panel bears the phrase "Nova Scotia played a role in the conduct of the War which will redound to her glory for all time" (referring to the First World War, but applying equally to the second). That Nova Scotia, and Halifax in particular, played a key role as a naval base, embarkation port for troops, and rallying harbor for convoys is still well known. But a yearly reminder is a necessary way of commemorating those who sacrificed much for their country.


In a two weeks' time, Halifax will be remembering another anniversary directly tied to that First World War. December 6 is the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion. More on that closer to the date.


For more on the memorial arch see: Canadian Memorials

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Forte sheds its load

The heavy load carrier Forte shed its load today under ideal conditions. There was no wind and starting early this morning the ship was submerged and the rig Noble Regina Allen floated off and was spudded down at the IEL wharf.


Noble Regina Allen spudded down at the IEL wharf.

Forte in number one anchorage.

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Richmond Terminals, Pier 9

Activity at Richmond Terminals today included the cargo ship Thorco Logos. The Panama flag ship arrived yesterday and almost immediately began loading the components for cable storage. Crews in the holds began to assemble the pre-fabricated shapes into large circular racks (called tanks in the cable world).
This is the third ship from Thorco Shipping of Hellerup, Denmark to be fitted out similarly at Pier 9C in the last year. Thorco Liva was here from October 31 to November 15, 2016. It went to Portsmouth /  Newington, NH to load the cable and returned  to anchor in Bedford Basin January 9 to 22, 2017 then sailed to deliver its cargo. Thorco Luna was at Pier 9 from May 15 to 31, 2017.

 Thorco Logos (the "s" is barely visible) at Pier 9 C

The three ships are sisters, all built by Honda Heavy Industries in Saiki, Japan. Thorco Logos was built in 2015 and is a 13,100 grt, 16,970 dwt general cargo ships, with box shaped holds and removable tween decks. It is fitted with a pair of 50 tonne cranes.

Trinity Sea with Thorco Logos in the back ground.

Meanwhile at Pier 9B the supplier Trinity Sea was waiting standing by for work, which will start tomorrow. It, and sister vessel Burin Sea have been contracted by ExxonMobil to assist the jack-up rig Noble Regina Allen.The rig will be working for up to two years plugging and abandoning 22 gas wells off Sable Island.


The rig is due in Halifax Monday November 6 from Invergordon, Scotland, aboard the heavy load carrier Forte. The ship is semi-submersible, and will float off the rig in the harbour sometime in the next few days. Should I be fortunate enough to get photos of that ship and its cargo, they will be posted here.

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