The ancient Greeks had a word, kairos, to denote time—specifically, “the opportune and decisive moment.” The North Atlantic Kairos chemical/oil products tanker was projected to arrive in Halifax as early as late Sunday afternoon, inbound from Come By Chance, Newfoundland, but instead—and indeed, by chance—reached Halifax Harbour at the inopportune hour of 11:15pm.
That’s on the small scale of shipping delays this week: Of the 21 vessel arrivals listed on the Port of Halifax’s Vessel Forecast Summary between May 1 and 7, more than three-quarters are forecasted as behind schedule. Eight of those ships are delayed by six days or more. Another three ships have opted to skip stops in Halifax entirely.
The obvious explanation? Look no further than the stars. Not the Atlantic Star, which arrives in Halifax on Friday, but astrology. The infamous Mercury retrograde period is back, continuing through the first half of May, so of course—if you’re a believer in these sorts of things—that means chaos in communications. But you might not know, as astrologer Susan Miller points out, “Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements…as well as transportation, shipping, and travel. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control.”
Without further ado, here’s a look at what’s coming in and out of port this week.
Monday, May 1
One hulking crane ship arrived at the IEL dock at Dartmouth’s Woodside Terminal on Monday morning. The 216-metre-long Orion berthed just after 5am, inbound from Vlissingen, Netherlands.
The STI Comandante chemical/oil products tanker has arrived after a 10-day Atlantic voyage from IJmuiden, Netherlands. Built in 2014, the double-hulled tanker has 12 cargo tanks aboard and can carry upwards of 41 cubic metres of liquid cargo. Last year, the Comandante was used for transporting Russian diesel—an export the European Union banned earlier in 2023, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The ship will return to sea on Wednesday.
Later in the day, the CSL Tacoma self-discharging bulk carrier is expected to arrive at 4pm from Baltimore.
Meanwhile, Monday sees the departures of three ships: The ONE Helsinki and Tropic Hope container ships, as well as the IT Intrepid cable layer. The Helsinki leaves a week behind schedule for Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, while the equally-delayed Tropic Hope departs for Palm Beach, Florida. The Intrepid, meanwhile, will return to laying and repairing cables at sea.
Tuesday, May 2
Konnichi wa to the ZIM Yokohama container ship and its crew, expected to arrive at Halifax’s South End Container Terminal around 6:15am on Tuesday. The 261-metre ship is nearly a week behind schedule on its crossing from Valencia, Spain, and will sail onward to New York City on Tuesday night.
Later in the morning at the southern terminal, the 140-metre Lagarfoss container ship is slated to arrive after a six-day crossing from Reykjavik, Iceland. (It, too, is nearly two days behind schedule on its route.) The ship will carry on to Portland, Maine later in the afternoon.
This week’s “best ship name in port” winner, the Portuguese-hailing Northern Jamboree container ship, is expected to reach port in Halifax just after 4pm. (Side note: Northern Jamboree might just be the best unused name for an ‘80s-era country album. If I lied to you and said Kenny Rogers put out an album called Northern Jamboree, right before 1987’s I Prefer the Moonlight, would you have believed me? You would have. It’s perfect, that’s why.) This week’s Jamboree came six days behind schedule from Antwerp, Belgium and leaves Wednesday morning for Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The AS Camellia container ship was expected to arrive around 6pm, inbound from Sines, Portugal, but that’s a little murky; the ship’s destination is currently logged as Boston instead.
Last but not least, a farewell to the aptly-named East Coast chemical/oil products tanker, which leaves the Irving Oil terminal for Saint John, New Brunswick.
Wednesday, May 3
More midweek ship delays. The Atlantic Sail ro-ro/container ship is expected to arrive more than a week behind schedule from Norfolk, Virginia. Built in 2016, the Sail and its siblings—the aforementioned Star, Sea, Sky and Sun—were the largest multipurpose ro-ro/container ships ever built, each capable of carrying up to 1,300 cars and 3,800 20-foot containers. It’s slated for a 3am arrival at the Fairview Cove Terminal.
Meanwhile, not even the ever-reliable Oceanex Sanderling ro-ro/cargo carrier, making its weekly Halifax trip from St. John’s, Newfoundland, could escape the shipping delays. It’s currently a day behind schedule and expected to arrive at the South End Container Terminal at 8am.
Thursday, May 4
Earlier still, the Largo Elegance chemical/oil products tanker is projected to arrive at Dartmouth’s Imperial Oil terminal at 4:15am. The ship, inbound from Antwerp, sails onward to Rotterdam on Sunday morning.
If Tuesday’s Northern Jamboree is the quintessential name for a country LP, then Thursday morning’s arrival, Atlantic Sky, is surely the name of a Maritime folk album already. (Well, almost.) The container ship—three days behind schedule from Liverpool, UK—is expected to dock at the Fairview Cove Terminal at 8am. Ditto for the Nolhan Ava ro-ro/cargo ship, which is slated for a delayed Halifax return after a trip to Saint Pierre & Miquelon.
Finally, the FWN Atlantic cargo ship is expected to leave Halifax Harbour on Thursday and sail onward to Philadelphia. It arrived in port on Sunday from Hamina, Finland.
Friday, May 5
It’s a trio of late afternoon/early evening arrivals on Friday, with the MSC Japan, Atlantic Star and Vistula Maersk container ships all slated to reach Halifax. At 296 metres long, the Star is the largest of the three; it’s currently two days behind schedule on its voyage from Baltimore to Norfolk and expected in Halifax at 6pm. At the same hour, the Vistula Maersk is pegged for arrival at the South End Container Terminal; it’s currently en route from Montreal.
The MSC Japan, meanwhile, has Montreal in its sights after stopping in Halifax. It’s inbound from Sines, Portugal and expected around 4:15pm—though other vessel forecasts have the ship arriving Saturday.
Saturday, May 6
The weekend brings one of the busiest days for ship traffic in Halifax Harbour, with the arrival of three container ships, two ro-ro/vehicle carriers and a chemical/oil products tanker. The MSC Bhavya container ship is the first of the bunch, expected to reach port at the South End Container Terminal around 2am. It’s currently six days behind schedule from Montreal. Not far behind it, the Acadian tanker is scheduled to berth at the Irving Oil terminal around 2:40am. It’s inbound from Charlottetown, PEI, and sails next for Boston on Sunday morning.
The biggest ship of the week, the CMA CGM T. Roosevelt container ship, cruises into Halifax Harbour later Saturday morning. At 366 metres long, it could span the entire length of the Halifax Public Gardens and still end up past the Lord Nelson Hotel. It’s set to dock at the South End Container Terminal at 6am after a weeklong voyage from Tanger Med, Morocco.
The Bess and Violet Ace ro-ro/vehicle carriers are expected to arrive in Halifax at 10am and 12:05pm, respectively. The Wallenius Wilhelmsen-operated Bess (cap. 6,284 cars) is nearly a week behind schedule en route from Zeebrugge, Belgium; meanwhile, the Violet Ace (cap. 5,000) is crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Emden, Germany.
Rounding out the group, the 166-metre AS Felicia container ship is slated to arrive around 6pm at the South End Container Terminal. It, too, is a week behind schedule—and currently en route from Kingston, Jamaica to New York City.
Sunday, May 7
We talked about the ancient Greeks at the start of this report, but today’s most interesting arrivals are ancient Romans. Or actually they’re pre-Romans—the brothers Romulus and Remus. According to myth, as babies these sons of the god Mars were abandoned to die beside the Tiber River, but they were raised by a wolf, grew up to kill a king, then had such an argument over where to build a city of their own that Romulus ended up killing Remus before founding the self-titled Rome.
Now a family reunion could happen in Halifax Harbour, as the container ships NYK Romulus and NYK Remus are both scheduled to arrive within a few hours of each other. But let’s not hold our breath. Both the Remus, coming from Antwerp, Belgium, and the Romulus—crossing from Cartagena, Spain to Saint John, NB before making its way to Halifax—are roughly a week behind schedule.
In other arrivals, the MSC Shay is expected at South End Container Terminal at 6:15am, coming from Baltimore before turning around to leave later this afternoon for Saudi Arabia. Also due at the terminal is container ship Tropic Lissette, projected in at 2pm, six days behind schedule.