Category Archives: port

Largest Container Ship Yet.

The 14,414 TEU CMA-CGM T. Jefferson arrived this afternoon, becoming the largest container ship to call in Halifax. The previous record was set last January by CMA-CGM Libra at 11,388. sister ship CMA-CGM Abraham Lincon is also scheduled, as is the 13800teu APL Sentosa.

All the Recent record beaters have operated on the CMA-CGM Columbus JAX service, which sails from asia to both the east and west coasts. 18 vessels provide weekly service, and 1 voyage takes 126 days. Both Records will fall this June when the 15072 teu CMA-CGM Panama arrives, beating both east and west records. the ship is currently Due June 6th.

CMA-CGM T.Jefferson coming along side. (HPA Phato)
tug Spitfire III hauling the stern around so the ship can back in to Pier 41.

COVID 19 concerns kept interviews to email, and media off the pier, and i will post some additional photos later.

Cruise Season Delayed.

The Port of Halifax has delayed The 2020 cruise season until July 1. This does not apply to smaller vessels carrying 500 people or less (passengers plus crew). This follows the direction provided by Transport Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Yesterday Princess cruises suspended operations for 2 months, Viking Cruises cancelled trips for 2 months, and Virgin delayed the inaugural season of their ship Scarlet Lady.

The Port Authority also announced that The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market building will not open on Saturday, March 14, 2020. This is to contain the spread of COVID-19. The building will remain closed indefinitely.

2020 Cruise Schedule Announced

The 2020 cruise season in Halifax will start on April 11 with the arrival of Norwegian Star, a Norwegian Cruise Lines vessel. The season will run until November 3.

for the 2020 season the Port of Halifax is expecting 203 vessel calls carrying approximately 350,000 cruise guests. For local tourism providers, planning for the upcoming season is well underway.

2020 Halifax Cruise highlights include:

  • Eleven (11) scheduled inaugural calls in 2020, starting with the arrival of Norwegian Star on April 11 and flowed by Hanseatic Inspiration (May 20), Empress of the Seas (May 23), Amsterdam (June 1), Norwegian Pearl (June 8), Oasis of the Seas (June 25), Island Princess (Aug 6), Carnival Radiance (Sept 11), Norwegian Encore (Sept 12), Amundsen (Sept 13), and Evrima (Sept 25)
  • Four (4) visits from Queen Mary 2 on July 1-2, August 2, September 23 and October 21
  • Two (2) visits from Disney Magic on October 10 and October 19
  • September 25 is expected to be the busiest passenger day with over 10,000 cruise guests on five vessels

A complete vessel posting can be found at the Cruise Halifax website at https://www.cruisehalifax.ca/our-visitors/cruise-schedule/

Blockages causing port headaches.

ACL Cargo Vessel inbound

Recent rail blockages are beginning to severely effect the port of Halifax. Yesterday ACL announced they were no longer calling in Halifax as long as rail service is limited, routing traffic through New York instead. ACL has a contract with CERES until 2022, and calls twice a week with containers and RO-RO traffic.

Hapag-Lloyd, and the Alliance is still calling in Halifax, but is considering re-routing cargo, as is ZIM. Hapag-Lloyd released this statement Wednesday.

The blockades of key rail track and Port Infrastructure facilities throughout Canada continues and the Federal and Provincial Governments remain in dialogue as they seek a resolution with the Indigenous communities across the country.

There have been no material changes to the state of the blockades as communicated in our previous letter. CP Rail tracks remain comparatively clear.

Prince Rupert is now clear and the recovery is underway.

The blockade in Ontario remains in place, and CN’s Eastern Canadian network is more or less shutdown. A limited number of trains are operating in the Halifax/Montreal corridor. Various options to move /divert cargo out of Halifax are being explored.

It is not clear yet how long the protests could last and the disruption continues as the blockades enter their third week. There has been inevitable disruption to the Rail transportation of both domestic and International shipments for which we apologize.

This is a continuing situation and we will provide you with regular updates.

Hapag-lloyd Feb 19 Statement

Some trains working east of Montreal are moving, but as most cargo through Halifax is bound or from beyond the Belleville blockade, those services are affected. The port is stacking cargo bound for Toronto and points west.

Why are we here?

Coastal gas link is attempting to build a Natural Gas pipeline in BC. CGL have signed benefit agreements with several indigenous tribes along the pipeline route, and the project has broad support among elected councils and hereditary chiefs. 5 Hereditary Chiefs oppose the pipeline route across Wet’suwet’en Territory, and were blocking progress in Protest.

The supreme court ruled that the Wet’suwet’en territory is unceeded – it is not subject to a treaty, and the people were not conquered, therefore the Hereditary chiefs have legal title to the land.

Those 5 hereditary chiefs are not against the pipeline. they are against the current routing of the pipeline across their lands. The chiefs have proposed alternative routeing, which is actually in use by other pipelines currently. CGL rejected the proposed new routing, claiming it would delay the project by a year, and Cost 700 million more to build.

CGL went to court, and the BC Court granted an injunction ordering the protesters away. they refused, citing sovereignty over their territory. The RCMP then moved in and enforced the injuction. The Legality of the BC court injunction is likely to be challenged, however that will take time to work out.

In the Meantime, Mohawks have blocked the CN mainline near Belleville in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. An injunction has been issued against this blockade by an Ontario Court, however the OPP have yet to enforce this.

The above are the facts. they are not open to debate.

This protest is not anti-pipeline, its not about the environment, or moving oil. some have latched on to the protest to advocate for those ideas, however that is disrespecting the purpose of the protest- which is about respecting indigenous title to the land, which in this case clearly exists.

The OPP have likely chosen restraint in dealing with the Mohawks, frankly its likely the interruptions could become much more severe were they to forceably remove this blockade. The Mohawks were participants in the Oka Crisis which featured blockaded roads bobby-trapped with incendiary devices. as bad as the rail blockade is, shutting down the 401 would be much worse.

while the Trudeau liberals are rightly getting criticism for the handling of this issue, Calls for the prime minister to order the police to do something are wrong. Politicians do not and should not directly control the actions of the police. Support and calls for Vigilantes, or other citizens to take it upon themselves to intervene is also not a sound approach.

Fundamentally CGL chose to go to court rather then being a good neighbour. CGL, wanting to save time and money is now costing the Canadian Economy millions per day in losses, and several thousand people are out of work until this is resolved. the rest of the country is an externality to getting this pipeline built how CGL want it, and frankly more anger should be expressed to at CGL, and Corporate Canada should be demanding CGL apologize, and change the routing.

New Wharf for Georges Island

profile view of the new wharf at low tide.

Develop Nova Scotia today released the RFQ for construction of a new wharf on Georges Island. The project will see the existing wharf cut down, and a new pile structure twice its size constructed.

The new wharf will be 135′ long, and 18′ wide. there will be 60′ of Floating dock on either side of the main wharf to allow for boat access. Deadline for bids is Sept 17.

The Current wharf was built in 2004, and is built over the ruins of previous wharves. The first wharf was constructed by 1784, and was historically 130′ in length, and 20-25′ wide – the approximate dimensions to the proposed structure.

PSA Acquires Halterm

As previously announced, today PSA International Pte Ltd has completed the acquisition of Halterm from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners. This is a good news story for the port, as PSA is a terminal operator, and not simply an investment fund. PSA will work with Shippers, CN, and the port to increase business, and has extensive operations around the world.

With the Pier Expansion underway, and a new crane on order (with an option for a second) things are looking good at Halterm today.

PSA’s other Canadian facility is the Ashcroft Terminal, British Columbia’s largest inland port facility. Ashcroft Terminal is located approximately 300km east of the Port of Vancouver, close to the major highways, and offers unique rail connectivity to both Class 1 railroad lines – CN and CP

Port Expansion Feedback is in

Halterm North proposal

The port released the results of the public consultation they performed to solicit feedback on port expansion and how the port operates within the community. The consultation was conducted by Hill+Knowlton Strategies via a survey to two groups in March and April 2019.   

Support for port is strong, with the majority from both groups agreeing or strongly agreeing that the port is important to the economy and quality of life in the region. Among the groups, the rational for port expansion is understood, and is supported by similar numbers of respondents.  

We covered the examined options for port expansion in January

Despite some strong advocacy for moving Halterm to Dartmouth, survey respondents favored the Halterm North expansion option over the move. Halterm North would see the south end finger piers that make up the ocean terminals infilled to add an additional berth. More than 50% of respondents were indifferent or against moving to Dartmouth. Less than 31% were indifferent or against Halterm expansion.  

The respondents indicated their priority considerations regarding port expansion were the impact on local neighborhoods, and access to road and Rail. On the question of truck volume downtown, most felt it was an issue, and there was strong support for reducing trucks, and expanding rail to do so.  

The survey results are good news for the port. The port has some clear direction, and support from the public. Expansion can be done, but the port must also be a good neighbour. The recent announcement on federal funding to remove trucks from the downtown and enhancing rail service between the terminals was likely driven by the port and the government taking survey feedback in this regard seriously.  

The Consultation consisted of two survey groups. The open group consisted of anyone who wanted to fill out the survey online. 1,911 answered some or all the survey questions. The majority of this group were working age, and 23% identified as a downtown commuter. A second group, was a demographically representative sample of 1012 participants from across the province. 33% of this group was retired, and the age group tended to skew to age 45+. It was also 50% of HRM and 50% from the province at large. 

As would be expected, responses to the open survey were likely from interested parties, but the results among both groups show the same preferences overall. 

Full results, and the expansion options can be viewed at www.portcityhfx.ca  

Halterm announces new crane and other equipment

Arrival of 2 New SPPX Cranes in Halifax, 2013.

Halterm announced it has Procured the Equipment required to add another Crane unit – with options for a second.

The Equipment ordered, Includes a new SPPX Container crane, capable of reaching 24bays across, to be delivered in June 2020. 2 New RTG’s, and 9 new yard tractors and container chasis will support the crane in the terminal.

Delivery should coincide with the completion of the terminal expansion.

See Our post on How a Container Terminal works.

Port Expansion Options Revealed.

The Current Expansion project, now underway.

With the interm expansion of pier 42 currently underway, The Port announced its further expansion options yesterday. The Images are photos of slides taken by Councilor Waye Mason, who attended the presentation by the port, and the descriptions are mostly lifted directly from the ports website at portcityhfx.ca, with some additional comments by me.

Halterm North

This scenario involves infilling the main Ocean Terminal slips between Piers A, A1, and B, using a caisson wall that supports a new container pier, thus creating a single UCCV berth. The existing Pier C would continue to operate throughout the development phase.

This proposal would create an efficient container yard that can still accommodate dry bulk and cruise operations along the north side of Pier A. The Halterm North option can be built within the Port’s existing property, with negligible impact on navigation or on adjacent land use. This option requires the least amount of imported fill material and has the shortest development timeline of all three Halterm-based scenarios.

The Halifax Port Authority would investigate relocating users of Ocean Terminals to other locations within the Port of Halifax. This option would be the least expensive and easiest to build.

Halterm South

The Halterm South concept extends the existing Halterm berth southward with significant infilling to accommodate on-dock rail and container storage. The slip between Piers A1 and B would be infilled to create additional yard space.

Enhancement options for Point Pleasant Park were included as part of the Halterm South expansion concept. This option would be more expensive and would require more time to build than Halterm North.

Halterm East

Phase One would involve infilling the slip between Piers A and B and a new berth would be developed east of the existing Pier C. Should container volume continue to increase, the new berth would be expanded southward to increase the capacity in subsequent phases.
 
The Halifax Port Authority would investigate relocating users of Ocean Terminals to other locations within the Port of Halifax.This option would be more expensive and would require more time to build than Halterm North.

Dartmouth

The optimal location of a new Dartmouth container terminal was identified as being to the south of downtown Dartmouth and to the north of Eastern Passage. This location was determined by navigational issues and by land use developments along the Dartmouth shoreline. (this is essentially the imperial oil site)

For the Dartmouth concept, two rail options were considered to provide necessary rail access to the site:

  • Trains running along the existing Dartmouth waterfront line
  • Trains running along new track east of Dartmouth

Trains running along the existing Dartmouth waterfront were found to be impractical due to the 4200 meter length required for efficient operation. A route for a 20+ km track running east of Dartmouth was examined in detail and adjusted to mitigate property and environment impacts.

Not including rail costs and costs related to property purchases, capital cost for this option was estimated at $1.4 billion CAD in 2017, with operation not expected to start until early-to-middle 2030. This option was determined to have much higher costs, longer timeline, increased logistical/construction challenges, and significant impact on properties and residents in Dartmouth. the real costs for this will likely be north of 3 billion dollars.

Other Options

Barges
Assessed the use of barges to transship local containers between Halterm and Fairview Cove. This option would result in inconsistent movement of freight with increased exposure to weather-related delays and would add substantial operating costs to port-related goods movement

Halifax East/South Byway through Rock Cut
Extensively studied the option of moving both rail cargo and trucks safely through the rock cut. This option would require expanding the width of the rock cut to 83 feet, or 25 metres. Several portions of the rock cut would require significant alteration (excavation and blasting) in predominantly residential areas. It would also require the rebuilding of 13 bridges and one rail bridge, plus the costs associated with design, construction and land acquisition (which would include expropriation) for a new highway intersection in the North End.

Halifax Northwest Arm Crossing
Evaluated the diversion of local traffic to a new tunnel under the Northwest Arm, with connections to the west-side roads. This option would take too much time, would be cost-prohibitive, would pose significant engineering challenges to achieve the necessary 8% grade and would displace a large number of residents.

Raising the Harbour Bridges to expand Fairview Cove
Evaluated the reconstruction of the harbour bridges to increase the vertical clearance to accommodate ultra-class vessels.This option would result in significant traffic disruptions in Halifax over many years and would result in a significant timeline disadvantage when compared to other more viable concepts

McNabs Island
Assessed the option of building a new Greenfield terminal at McNabs Island.This option would take too much time, would be cost-prohibitive, would pose significant engineering challenges to develop the required cross-harbour connections for both road and rail lines, and does not have stakeholder support.

First Ships of 2019

Atlantic Tern was the first ship to arrive in Halifax in 2019, followed shortly after by the CSL Bulker Salarium. Atlantic Tern tied up at pier 9, while the Salarium anchored inthe inner harbour.

the container ship Crete I arrived on the 31st, and tied up at Fairview Cove, but will not be worked until tomorrow.

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