PHOTO: STEVE FARMER
All-time high THE PORT OF HALIFAX BROKE MANY RECORDS IN 2017 AND IS POISED FOR MORE GROWTH By Tom Peters 2017 was a record year for the Port
of Halifax. Containerized cargo volume hit an all-time high of 559,242 TEU, up 16% over 2016. The Port set its old record of 550,462 TEU in 2005. Halifax also set two new cruise records, welcoming 292,722 passengers over 173 calls. “Over the past few years, our terminal operators and critical partners, including the shipping lines, CN rail, the ILA workforce, tug operators and marine pilots, have done a tremendous job working together to increase cargo volumes through Halifax and the results of that coordinated effort are being realized,” says Halifax Port Authority president and CEO Karen Oldfield. Several factors have come together to drive cargo growth in Halifax. “The additional lane of the Suez Canal in 2015, the completed expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016, the raising of the Bayonne Bridge in New York, in 2017, and the formation of strategic shipping alliances have resulted in the deployment of ultra container-cargo vessels along East Coast North America trade routes,” Oldfield explains. “Halifax is the only East Coast 10
Port of Halifax
Canadian port that can accommodate the ultras and the first of them, the Zim Antwerp, arrived in June.” Import and export container cargo were nearly identical in 2017 with 279,602 import TEU and 279,640 export TEU. Total container tonnage hit 4,638,822 tons in 2017, up from 4,054,051 tons in 2016. Portwide tonnage reached 8,902,348 tons in 2017 compared to 8,272,345 tons in 2016. Kim Holtermand, CEO and managing director with Halterm Container Terminal Ltd., operator of the South End terminal, reports that Halterm’s container throughput in 2017 was up 33%. Calvin Whidden, president of Ceres Halifax, operator of the Fairview Cove terminal, says business at that facility was up 10% over 2016, which he described as a good year. Holtermand attributes Halterm’s success to its team, both staff and the ILA workforce. “They have met every challenge in 2017 with an open mind and some seriously hard work,” he says, “keeping each other safe and keeping our customers in touch with the opportunities that import, export and transshipment connections via Halterm offer.”
He sees good prospects ahead, too. “[Halterm looks] forward to the year ahead, focusing immediately with our new equipment on container yard service and with a very clear understanding that we have to continue to earn our customer’s business vessel-by-vessel and with service to each rail car and truck,” Holtermand says. At Ceres, Whidden says strong volumes from ACL, which introduced new and larger vessels on its service, and from THE Alliance, have driven the increase. “The trend appears to be continuing,” he says. Halifax Port Authority spokesman Lane Farguson also points to a favourable Canadian dollar, the introduction of Tropical Shipping Line, which started calling Halterm in early 2017, and the expanding service of Eimskip, which started a weekly short-sea service between Halifax and New England. The Halifax Port Authority is in the midst of long-term planning, exploring upcoming needs and challenges to ensure growth continues. “We have been working closely with our industry partners to develop the necessary infrastructure that will allow ultra vessels to continue calling at Halifax,” Oldfield says.