2016 – Year in Review

Container Shipping Events:

ACL’s New G4 Vessels made maiden appearances with Atlantic Star, Atlantic Sail and Atlantic Sea making appearances. ACL also committed to the Port of Halifax until 2022 and projects a doubling of volume.

May brought the arrival of CMA-CGM Tage, at 9300teu, the largest container ship to call in Halifax, and the first to have the accommodation block forward. Her sister CMA-CGM Rhone called in December.  Dinkeldeip was replaced on the St. Pierre Run by Nolhanava. Halterm also picked up some new Toplifts, and Yard Tractors.

OffShore Events:

in offshore news, the Stenna Icemax drill rig, working for shell lost its riser in heavy weather. a eplacement was shipped, assembled at pier 9, and delivered to the IceMax. the Delay caused the charter of Jones Tide to End Early. All Seas pipe Layer Audacia also stopped in port to pick up supplies.

RCN Events:

In Navy News, HMCS Toronto finished FELEX, marking the end of that program. HMCS St Johns was deployed, and had prework done on the Synchrolift. SPS Patiño filled in for HMCS Preserver, as fleet AOR. Preserver was Decommissioned in October. HMCS Iroquois was also towed for scrap.  The RCN also Hosted Exercise Cutlas Furey which brought visits from a number of foreign Naval Vessels.

Visiting Naval vessels include USS Hampton, USCGC Neah Bay, ARM Cuauhtémoc, USS New Mexico, USS DetroitARC Gloria, USCGC Tahoma,USCGC Bristol Bay

Other Events:

The Yarmouth Ferry came back, this time run by Bay Ferries (again) and with a new High Speed Catermaran vessel (Again) leased from the US Navy. Nova Star, the previous operator declared bankruptcy. In the Bulk Carrier world, CSL and Algoma Bought vessels from Oldendorf, who was one of there Vessel pool partners, renaming them.  Svitzer bought a tug, and setup an operation in Montreal. Former Svitzer tug Point Vim also returned, moving cable by barge to Newfoundland.

Shipyard Events:

The HMCS Harry Dewolf AOPS continued construction and steel was cut for construction of the second ship. Atlantic Towing also bought 2 new Supply Vessels. The tops arrived separately from the Bottoms. Some assembly required.

The Year Ahead:

So what to expect for 2017? The major shakeups in container lines alliances to take effect. The Arrival of Tropic Shipping January 9th, from Saint Johns. Expect to see the final 2 ACL G4 Vessels to Appear, and the roll-out of HMCS Harry Dewolf for mega block assembly in the spring. Also Tall ships are coming.


Sydney MegaPort!?!!

so the port of Sydney Nova Scotia is attempting to develop a megaport called Nova Port. The Idea is that it will be the Newest and greatest port on the east coast, and container lines and their 18000 TEU ships will flock to the port. The development is being done by SHIP Sydney Harbour Investment Partners, which includes China Communications Construction Company, Canderel Group, and Bechtel.

yesterday they announced a partnership with Ports America to run the thing. SHIP has said that they will start construction as soon as they sign up sufficient business. Its not going to happen.

First, Sydney Isn’t close to anything. getting containers to and from the port will be a pain. Sydney is 4 hours further up the road from Halifax, and the rail line, Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, is near abandonment, having seen the last train from Sydney in December 2014 and likely in need of a massive overhaul to carry container traffic. A previous container service by Terra Transport via Marine Atlantic ferry  to Newfoundland, was re-routed to Halifax in 1997.  – in part because CN was uninterested in running trains to Cape Breton, favoring Halifax instead. this likely hasen’t changed, and its doubtful  CN will be interested in having to deal with the traffic, as will will only serve to slow down their existing trains.

Second, they keep referring to attracting Ultra Large container vessels, however no line currently has them calling on the East Coast of North America. while this might change, the large volumes occur in the pacific trade, and can justify these vessel sizes. its unlikely they will make the trip around when the smaller classes already service the routes with excess capacity.

Third – the only way they can make a business case is if they can keep the cost of container handling lower then any other East coast port. Since most of the costs to handle containers is labour, they will either automate, reducing jobs, or attempt to keep the facility non union and pay lower wages then any other port.

Finally, of note, Ports America abandoned its lease in Oakland, declaring bankruptcy for its operation there. That terminal handled 1/5th the traffic in the port of Oakland, which ran 2.4 million teu’s in 2014. Port Americas share of traffic in Oakland was about 100,000teu more then that entire port of Halifax handled last year. If they cant make that operation work – how are they going to make Sydney work.

My thought is SHIP is basically playing with other peoples money. They will make money whether anything is built or not. they will collect management fees, market the investment opportunity, and collect government subsidies. I don’t think any major shipping line is ever going to want to call on Sydney, and this mega port will never be built.

Look, Sydney NS does have a business case for port development. It has an excellent location in the Gulf of St Lawrence, close to Newfoundland. and inland waters. Its a central location for a tug base, or many other marine services. But a mega container port. no way.


Coast Guard looks for interim Icebreakers and towing Vessels

From the RFI:
Due to age and reduced availability of the icebreaking fleet, the Coast Guard anticipates that it may require additional icebreaking capacity provided by one (1) to five (5) Icebreakers (Heavy, Medium, or Light) at various times over the next number of years. Accordingly, the CCG must investigate potential bridging strategies to address potential
gaps in service.
The Icebreaking capable vessels that are approaching the limit of their notional operational life and undergoing Vessel Life Extensions (VLEs) to keep them in service until replacement vessels can be built and delivered via the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The VLEs are scheduled to take place from 2017 until 2023, with up to three (3) vessels undergoing repairs each year. While efforts are being made to minimize work that would occur during an icebreaking season, the VLE work will remove some vessels from service for a significant period of time.
The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) currently has two (2) Heavy Ice Breakers (HI), four (4) Medium Icebreakers (MI), and nine (9) Multi-Task Light Icebreakers in its inventory. The Coast Guard deploys these vessels in Canada’s Arctic waters during the late-Juneto mid-November period (the Arctic season), and South of 60oLatitude from the December to May period (the Southern season). The vessels are based in Quebec City, Quebec; Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Victoria, British Columbia and Argentia and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Coast Guard is also looking at commercial towing options for standby tugs. the John 1 Incident (we covered that tow well) was specifically mentioned as a case where this service would have been beneficial. It looks like the government is looking to buy the services of an existing company.
Given the number of out of work offshore supply vessels – some of which are ice class, there should be some interesting responses.

New Container service for Halterm

With Saint John NB changing container terminal operators from Logistec to DP World, Effective January 9th, 2017, Tropical Shipping will move its port operations to Halterm Container Terminal.

Tropical Shiping specializes in shipping cargo to the Caribbean, and around the Caribbean. It sounds like a weekly service is coming to Halifax.

The Port of Saint John has launched a C$205 million project over seven years to modernize the Rodney and Navy Island terminals to accommodate larger vessels and expand laydown areas for breakbulk and project cargoes. DP World Saint John recently took delivery of two post panamax container cranes.


Veteran Ships of the Second World War.

HMCS Sackville – Flower Class Corvette

267 flower class corvettes were built over the course of the war. Small and Cheap, they were based on an existing whaler design. There are two distinct groups of vessels in this class: the original Flower-class, 225 vessels ordered during the 1939 and 1940 building programmes; and the modified Flower-class, which followed with a further 69 vessels ordered from 1940 onward. The modified Flowers were slightly larger and somewhat better armed. Many improvements were made to the ships as they served, and there are many differences in appearance between the ships.

Sackville was converted to a fisheries research ship in 1952, and remained in that role until 1982. Of Note, HMCS Louisburg and HMCS Lachute served in the Dominican Republic navy until 1979, when they were wrecked by a hurricane.

HMCS Sackville Photo Gallery


HMAS Diamantia – River Class Frigate.

The River class was a class of 151 frigates launched between 1941 and 1944 for use as anti-submarine convoy escorts in the North Atlantic. The majority served with the Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). Canada originally ordered the construction of 33 frigates in October 1941.[1][2] The design was too big for the shipyards on the Great Lakes so all the frigates built in Canada were built in dockyards along the west coast or along the St. Lawrence River.[2] In all, Canada ordered the construction of 70 frigates.

Designed to improve on the Flower Class, the River Class features more space, a second engine, improved range and better weapon sytems over the Flower Class.

HMAS Diamantia was one of 12 frigates built for the RAN. After the war she was converted to a survey vessel, and remained in that role untill 1980.

HMAS Photo Gallery

HMCS Haida – Tribal Class Destroyer

the Canadian Tribals were built in 1936, and were the most modern warships in the RCN.Fast and well armed, they served in the second world war and Korea, lasting well into the 1960’s. HMCS Haida was converted to a museum in Toronto, and later taken under care by Parks Canada and moved to Hamilton.

HMCS Haida Photo Gallery

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