More cargo headed to Port of Halifax
Thursday, 10 November Chronicle Herald

Alliance of global shipping companies adds new route that will include N.S. port
 
There may be a lot more trucks lining up to move cargo from Halterm’s south end Halifax container pier after a global shipping alliance announced it is adding Halifax to another route.
A huge consortium of shipping lines is going to be sending more container vessels to the Ceres Group’s Fairview Cove Container Terminal at the Port of Halifax.
The Alliance — made up of Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, and Yang Ming shipping lines — is adding a new route. It will see container vessels from the Western Mediterranean call on the Port of Halifax as their first stop in North America.
Although the arrival of this new service at Fairview Cove is expected to drive up the amount of business done by the port, a spokesman for the Halifax Port Authority was cautious Wednesday.
“There are new opportunities to move cargo to that part of the world through Halifax,” Lane Farguson, a communications adviser for the Port of Halifax, said in an interview Wednesday.
“That’s good on the import side (but) we won’t know by how much until that service is in place,” he said.
Members of The Alliance have more than 240 vessels that ply the shipping lanes between Asia and Europe as well as the North Atlantic and Trans-Pacific corridors and call on more than 75 ports. The consortium’s 31 shipping routes, including the one with its new stop in Halifax, come into effect next April.
One reason the volume of container traffic to Halifax from this new service is undetermined is that so far it is not known which vessels The Alliance will use to call on the local port.
When a rival consortium of companies, the Ocean Alliance, added a new service with a stop at Halterm’s South End Container Terminal in August this year, it used vessels of a variety of sizes, said Farguson.
That route is undergoing a few changes in the coming year and will link Southeast Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore as well as other ports to Halifax.
“This brings a new carrier to the Port of Halifax in this alliance, Evergreen Line, which gives the port community further reach and the ability to tap into new networks and markets,” said Farguson.
In addition to Evergreen, the Ocean Alliance also includes COSCO Container Lines, CMA CGM, and Orient Overseas Container Line. That consortium’s Day One network includes roughly 350 vessels.
The exact impact of the recently-inked Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement on shipping volumes to and from Europe is also still up in the air.
When it is ratified, likely in mid-2017, CETA will immediately wipe out tariffs on 98 per cent of non-agricultural goods and another one per cent of those tariffs will be phased out over the next seven years. Tariffs on seafood and agricultural products will be phased out over three to seven years.
Karen Oldfield, president and chief executive officer of the Halifax Port Authority, has lauded the federal government for CETA and said it will create growth opportunities for Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canadian exports to Europe.
European markets including Britain already account for 38 per cent of total container traffic at the Port of Halifax.
Earlier this year, a CPCS report prepared for the provincial government described the Port of Halifax as “a largely discretionary port” for the shipping industry and recommended against investments in other ports in Nova Scotia which might compete with Halifax for container traffic. The report’s authors suggested investing in the Port of Halifax and surrounding infrastructure to help it build a critical mass.
“The Port of Halifax is Nova Scotia’s primary marine intermodal gateway,” the report’s authors wrote. “Though it boasts certain competitive attributes (proximity to major trade lanes, deep water, available capacity, for example), it lacks the same critical mass of traffic enjoyed by other ports competing for traffic to/from inland markets, owing in no small part to the small regional market in Nova Scotia.
“It also suffers from a relatively long geographic distance to inland markets and a single rail service provider,” states the report. “As a result, the Port of Halifax is likely to remain a largely discretionary port. Global and North American trends and market developments are unlikely to materially change this.”
On Wednesday, the Port of Halifax spokesman declined to comment on that report.
In the shipping industry, container traffic is measured in terms of the number of formerly-standard 20-foot containers, or TEUs. In the third quarter of this year, the Port of Halifax reported 119,181 TEUs, a growth of 9.9 per cent in container volume compared to the same period last year.