A giant load of cars and one enormous container ship arrive in Halifax Harbour this week | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Cranes unload shipping containers at the South End Container Terminal in Halifax.

A giant load of cars and one enormous container ship arrive in Halifax Harbour this week

Container ships, cargo ships and other vessels bound for Halifax the week of Dec. 4-10, 2023.

One hundred and six years ago, on the morning of Dec. 6, 1917, Halifax was forever changed. That morning, the SS Mont-Blanc cargo ship collided with the SS Imo steamship in Halifax Harbour—an incident that would have posed a problem for those aboard the two ships, no matter the circumstances, but was made catastrophic by the Mont-Blanc’s cargo that day: Picric acid, guncotton and TNT. The resulting explosion killed more than 2,000 people and injured an estimated 9,000. It flattened buildings, crumpled trees and rendered parts of the city unrecognizable. Almost all of Halifax’s north end was destroyed.

The HRM will host a memorial service at Fort Needham Memorial Park at 9am to mark the occasion.

With that bit of history covered, here’s a look at the ships coming in and out of Halifax Harbour this week.

Monday, December 4

In what can only be described as a Russian nesting doll of shipping news, the SFL-owned Emden vehicle carrier arrived Monday morning from—where else?—Emden, Germany. The ship has a carrying capacity of 7,000 cars, all of which are also named Emden. (No, not really. But the capacity part is accurate.) As car carriers come, the Emden is brand spanking new—it was built this year in Guangzhou, China and is under a 10-year charter by car maker Volkswagen. The ship left Halifax for Baltimore, Maryland late Monday afternoon.

click to enlarge A giant load of cars and one enormous container ship arrive in Halifax Harbour this week
SFL Corp.
The Emden vehicle carrier has room aboard for up to 7,000 cars.

The Atlantic Sea container ship came into Halifax’s Fairview Cove Terminal around 5:40am. The 296-metre-long ship finished a 13-day crossing from Antwerp, Belgium. It left early Tuesday morning for New York.

After a week without any ZIM arrivals, the ZIM Virginia came into Halifax five days behind schedule. The container ship wrapped a 12-day voyage from Valencia, Spain and—much like the Atlantic Sea—left Tuesday morning for New York.

The Tropic Lissette container ship arrived at Halifax’s South End Container Terminal just after 11:30am. It came in from the US Virgin Islands’ Limetree Bay and left Tuesday morning for Palm Beach, Florida.

Three more ships rounded out Monday’s arrivals: The East Coast oil tanker, CSL Tacoma bulk carrier and NYK Romulus container ship came into port from Saint John, NB; Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Antwerp, Belgium, respectively.

Tuesday, December 5

Welcome back to the Pacific Trader container ship, which returned to Halifax once more on its decidedly un-Pacific route between Nova Scotia, New York and Kingston, Jamaica. The ship came in Tuesday afternoon from the Big Apple and will leave for Jamaica on Wednesday afternoon.

click to enlarge A giant load of cars and one enormous container ship arrive in Halifax Harbour this week
Corey Seeman / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
The Oceanex Sanderling, seen in Halifax in 2018, returned to the Halifax Harbour on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023.

The Oceanex Sanderling ro-ro/container ship berthed at Halifax’s Fairview Cove Terminal just after 4:30am. It arrived from St. John’s, NL and will return there late Tuesday night.

The Conti Courage container ship arrived five days behind schedule from New York. It’s berthed at the South End Container Terminal and will leave for Saudi Arabia late Tuesday night.

Finally, the Algoma Victory bulk carrier came into Halifax from Cape Canaveral, Florida around 3pm. It leaves Wednesday morning for its return leg to Florida—but this time, to Tampa.

Wednesday, December 6

The MSC Cornelia container ship is expected to arrive at the South End Container Terminal, nearly five days behind schedule. The ship is en route from Montreal and headed for Barcelona, Spain after Halifax.

Thursday, December 7

The Nolhan Ava ro-ro/cargo ship is set to return to Halifax’s Fairview Cove Terminal on Thursday. The ship left Miquelon on Tuesday for its sister island, St. Pierre, after which it will head southward to Halifax.

The Contship Leo and Atlantic Sky container ships are also due to make their return to Fairview Cove. The former is inbound from New York, while the latter is currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia.

click to enlarge A giant load of cars and one enormous container ship arrive in Halifax Harbour this week
Contships Management Inc.
The Contship Leo container ship arrives in Halifax on Dec. 7, 2023.

Lastly, both the 158-metre-long Bakkafoss and 364-metre-long ONE Hawk container ships are expected at the South End Container Terminal. The former is inbound from Portland, Maine and headed afterward for Argentia, NL, while the latter is on its way from Tanger Med, Morocco.

Friday, December 8

James Madison left a complicated legacy. The fourth US president was called the “father of the constitution” for his contributions to the Federalist essays. His family also owned slaves—which he inherited after his father’s death. He brought some of them to serve him in the White House.

The CMA CGM J. Madison container ship is less complicated; it’s just big. A whopping 366 metres long, with a summer deadweight of 147,966 tonnes. The ship can hold 14,414 20-foot steel containers—enough that, if laid end-to-end, would be long enough to stretch all the way around Halifax Harbour from Duncan’s Cove through the Bedford Basin and back out to Hartlen Point.

It’s expected to reach Halifax’s South End Container Terminal around 2pm on Friday. The ship left Tanger Med, Morocco on Dec. 2.

Saturday, December 9

A quiet start to the weekend. The Gotland general cargo ship is set to arrive at Halifax’s Ocean Terminals after a lengthy wait. The 144-metre-long ship is currently 23 days behind schedule on its voyage from Mariel, Cuba.

Sunday, December 10

The GPO Grace heavy load carrier arrives in Halifax from Rostock, Germany. The ship is part of an ongoing effort to assemble and deliver wind turbines to an offshore project near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

The NYK Nebula container ship is due at the Fairview Cove Terminal from Antwerp, Belgium around 3pm. The ship is currently four days behind schedule.

Last, but not least, the Tropic Hope container ship is slated to arrive at Halifax’s South End Container Terminal. The ship is currently en route from the US Virgin Islands to Sint Maarten.

About The Author

Martin Bauman

Martin Bauman, The Coast's News & Business Reporter, is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Capital Daily, and Waterloo Region Record, among other places. In 2020, he was named one of five “emergent” nonfiction writers by the RBC Taylor Prize...
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