Tropic Hope among new class of vessels being put into service by Tropical Shipping

By Tom Peters

The sleek new container vessel Tropic Hope made its inaugural call to the port of Halifax in January, launching a new era for niche carrier Tropical Shipping.

Tropical Shipping, headquartered in Florida, moved its sailing service to Halifax from Saint John in January 2017 and operates weekly between the Nova Scotia port and Palm Beach, Florida, as well as to Puerto Rico, the Eastern Caribbean and the Virgin Islands. The line calls Halifax’s South End terminal, operated by Halterm, moving between 40,000 and 50,000 TEUs annually. Tropical is the premiere carrier for temperature controlled cargo in the Caribbean, said Gordon Cole, Tropical’s Assistant Vice-President in Saint John. The shipping line maintains its administrative offices and a staff of 22 in the New Brunswick city. The carrier transports products such as french fries and other foods to the Caribbean, and returns with pharmaceuticals and other products. (more…)

Scrapping may make a comeback as smaller containerships lose their appeal

By Mike Wackett

Non-operating owners of aging gas-guzzling small containerships are likely to renew their interest in scrapping as the charter market makes an unexpected U-turn. The latest idle tonnage report by Alphaliner records 131 ships of 500-5,100 TEU in hot or cold lay-up seeking employment, compared with just 56 in February.

The consultant notes an “alarming increase in spot tonnage under 1,000 TEU”, with some 25 ships seeking fixtures, more than double the number it recorded in mid-June. Alphaliner’s idle tonnage total at 23 July was 142 vessels for 341,229 TEUs, representing 1.6 per cent of the global fleet. At the end of May, the numbers were 85 vessels for 205,829 TEUs. (more…)

CMA CGM hopes new mega-boxship bow design will be on the nose for economy

By Mike Wackett

A steel-cutting ceremony took place in China at the end of July on the hulls of the first two ships of CMA CGM’s order for nine 22,500 TEU LNG-powered ULCVs, featuring a potentially game-changing bow design. Alongside similar ULCVs being constructed for MSC in South Korea, these behemoths will be the largest containerships afloat, and the first to extend to 24 containers across the weather deck. (more…)

Master Mariners of Canada fully supports government’s icebreaker acquisition

The Company of Master Mariners of Canada is very much encouraged by the federal government’s decision to acquire additional icebreaking vessels to supplement Canada’s existing fleet of aging icebreakers.

The announcement to purchase and repurpose to Canadian requirements three icebreaking offshore supply vessels with towing capacity will greatly enhance reliability of the existing Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) fleet. Recent announcements propose the purchase of Tor Viking, Balder Viking and Vider Viking to be refitted at Davie Shipbuilding in Lévis, Quebec, with the first vessels to be operational for the 2018-2019 ice season in the Saint Lawrence, Saguenay and East Coast Newfoundland waters. (more…)

Shortage of ships for charter could force carriers to shelve new services

By Mike Wackett

An acute shortage in the availability of charter tonnage could force carriers to shelve their plans to launch new liner services this summer. And a big hike in daily hire rates for container ships that do become available, combined with spiralling fuel prices, will force a rethink on the economics of the planned new and enhanced ventures. In particular, the hitherto workhorses of new service links, the classic panamax ships of 4,000-5,300 TEUs are “virtually sold out” according to the latest report from Alphaliner. (more…)