Ottawa considers monetary backing for deep-water port in Nova Scotia
Open this picture in gallery:Ottawa considers monetary backing for deep-water port in Nova Scotia

Delivery containers on the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Aug. 25, 2017. Ottawa is weighing whether or not to offer monetary backing for a brand new deep-water port in Nova Scotia, a stunning improvement at a time of business overcapacity in container dealing with.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The Canadian authorities is weighing monetary backing for a brand new deep-water container port in Nova Scotia, a stunning improvement at a time present ports in Jap Canada are processing far much less cargo volumes than they’ll deal with.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s authorities is contemplating committing public cash for the long-talked-about Melford Worldwide Terminal undertaking simply southeast of Port Hawksbury, N.S., in line with Transport Division officers. The extent of help being sought by the undertaking’s private-sector promoters is unclear however data obtained by The Globe and Mail suggests the federal government is evaluating a pledge within the vary of $175-million.

The Melford undertaking, which features a 315-acre container terminal and 1,500-acre logistics park situated on the Straight of Canso, has been on the drafting board since about 2007 however has by no means taken off. The developer is Melford Worldwide Terminal Inc., a bunch whose administrators and officers embody a number of Nova Scotia businessmen in addition to Dan Bordessa, vice-chairman of Cyrus Capital Companions, a New York Metropolis-based hedge fund, in line with a company submitting.

“It is a severe proposal, with severe asks, with severe stakeholders,” mentioned Mike Kelloway, a Liberal Occasion MP for the using of Cape Breton-Canso, which might host the Melford port. “The federal government of Canada is it actually laborious.”

The prospect of a serious new privately managed port threatens to shake up Canada’s established maritime system and its community of 17 main port authorities, which fall below federal management however set their very own technique and industrial course. It additionally arrange a possible battle on the East Coast as ports push to win extra enterprise and adapt to business shifts, together with a dramatic enhance within the dimension of container ships over the previous decade.

Estimated prices for the primary part of the Melford undertaking high US$350-million, which means federal cash may make up a good portion of the financing.

Nadine Ramadan, spokesperson for federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, confirmed the promoter submitted a funding software for the undertaking below the federal government’s $4.6-billion Nationwide Commerce Corridors Fund. She declined to say whether or not a ultimate resolution has been made to approve it.

There seems to be robust assist throughout the Liberal authorities for the Melford improvement – mirroring enthusiasm for the undertaking amongst native political leaders in a area of Canada that has been economically challenged for years. Eight of Nova Scotia’s 11 elected members of Parliament are Liberals.

“Individuals have been ready an extended whereas” for this, mentioned Neil DeCoff, a councillor for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, which incorporates Melford. “The profit is the work. It’s the roles.”

Nonetheless, there may be vital skepticism in regards to the want for such a facility, significantly one that will faucet public cash whereas working exterior the general public port authority system. Though they might not converse on the file, some delivery business gamers questioned the knowledge of including extra container dealing with capability in Jap Canada at a time present capability is nowhere close to its restrict on the competing ports of Halifax, Saint John and Montreal.

Part One of many Melford undertaking would come with two ship berths and tools that might deal with 1½ million 20-foot equal items, or TEUs, a 12 months, in line with an outline of the undertaking in a 2010 information launch. A TEU is the measurement of a regular 20-foot delivery container.

Halifax, which stands to be most affected by Melford, has the power to deal with 1.2 million TEUs a 12 months however solely half of that’s getting used. The ports of Montreal and Saint John have extra capability as properly and all three ports even have plans so as to add extra container dealing with volumes within the years forward. In sum, there may be an estimated 1.3 million TEUs of extra container capability for the time being at Canada’s main jap ports.

A Quebec authorities official mentioned the province is anxious in regards to the Melford undertaking and what the addition of a brand new participant means for present services. The Globe is just not naming the official as they weren’t licensed to talk publicly on the matter. Montreal is ready on a choice from the federal authorities to a request for extra financing value $150-million to assist fund its personal container terminal growth undertaking in Contrecoeur.

Spokespeople for port authorities in Halifax and Montreal declined to touch upon the undertaking. Saint John representatives couldn’t be reached. Mr. Bordessa of Cyrus Capital didn’t return a request for remark.

Melford Worldwide has pitched the undertaking as a Canadian northeast gateway that provides delivery firms a “quicker and higher various for North American origin-destination containerized cargo.” It will boast ice-free, deep-water docking with no draft restrictions, particularly to accommodate the most important container ships.

The promoter has no present web site however an archived model of a earlier web site web site says Melford can be the closest North American deep-water mainland port to Europe, Asia and the Indian subcontinent through the Suez Canal. The undertaking would incorporate superior applied sciences and layouts to offer the port speedier processing occasions than present services, the web site says.

A report for the Nova Scotia authorities by infrastructure consultancy CPSC printed in 2018 concluded that the power of Halifax to deal with ultralarge ships is restricted and that greenfield container terminal tasks within the province may provide vital working efficiencies. But it surely mentioned: “Any new terminal improvement is dangerous and ought to be pushed by agency commitments from private-sector business stakeholders who totally perceive the delivery enterprise and are ready to shoulder many of the threat.”

Richie Mann, a former cupboard minister within the Nova Scotia authorities within the Nineties, has been the face of the undertaking as Melford Worldwide’s vice-president of presidency affairs and advertising. He didn’t return requests for remark from The Globe however advised the CBC this previous February that world delivery circumstances have been transferring in Melford’s favour as commerce routes shift from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic and a few West Coast ports undergo from congestion.

“This undertaking makes lots of sense” and might be helpful to Canada, he advised the broadcaster.

Mr. Kelloway echoed that view. “It’s not a zero sum recreation” between Canadian ports, he mentioned in an interview Friday. “Pleasant competitors can spark new alternatives.”

For the reason that Corridors Fund was launched in 2017, Transport Canada has introduced 130 tasks and dedicated $3.7-billion to marine, air, rail and highway tasks, in line with the division’s web site. The most important federal funding dedication thus far is $135-million for the Yukon authorities’s North Klondike freeway hall upgrades.