Port of Halifax readies for ultra-class vessels
Friday, 18 November Chronicle Herald

Atlantic Canada’s largest port is preparing for the arrival of even larger container and cruise ships.

“We are working to develop a (master) plan that will allow the Port of Halifax to berth and service two ultra-class vessels simultaneously,” says Paul MacIsaac, senior vice president, Halifax Port Authority.

“We believe future container port growth will be concentrated among those ports which have that ability.”

Port of Halifax traffic is 16.1 per cent year-to-date.

Ocean Alliance has started bringing larger vessels to Halterm and the G6 Alliance has added calls and larger vessels at the Ceres terminal, MacIsaac said.

The port’s Fairview Cove Container Terminal is operated by Ceres-Halifax while the South End Container Terminal is operated by Halterm.

Halterm Container Terminal Ltd. is owned and operated by the Macquarie Group.

Halifax has been preparing for the arrival of what MacIsaac calls “big ships” (with the capacity to carry 7,500 20-foot equivalent unit containers) for several years. Next up are ultra-class vessels that can carry 10,000 such containers.

“Halifax is in an excellent position to accept those vessels because of our deep harbour, our uncongested port, our. . .rail networks, our excellent partnerships and our experienced labour.”

NYK Line subsidiary NYK Ports and Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III announced this week it had purchased a 20-per-cent share in Maher Terminals, which operates a terminal in the New York and New Jersey.

CMA CGM Tage, which last called in Halifax Oct. 1 is the biggest yet to dock here, with a capacity of 9,365 TEU. The 8,749 TEU Hapag-Lloyd Budapest Express, has called at Ceres.

Halifax also welcomed its largest cruise vessel, the 4,180-passenger Royal Caribbean International Anthem of the Seas, he said.

The Port of Halifax, with no changes to existing infrastructure, can berth a vessel up to 16,000 TEU currently, but the goal of a master planning process is to identify ways to berth two 13,000-14,000 TEU vessels simultaneously.

“ With the widening of the Panama Canal, the additional lane of the Suez Canal . . . vessels in that range are now being deployed along the East Coast of North America. Halifax is well situated to take part in this evolution.”

Port container throughput is up 9.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2016 and up 16.1 per cent for the year so far.

MacIsaac said operators, CN and labour are working together to keep Halifax competitive. Development of a master plan is underway.

WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the world’s leading port master planning firms, has been hired to develop the master plan.