Halifax is getting a new rail link between is box terminals, while Hutchison Ports will develop a new terminal in Quebec City.
Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau has announced a C$47.5M investment in two rail projects at Halifax under the Federal government’s C$2 billion National Trade Corridors Fund.
The first project involves new track to connect the port’s South End Container Terminal (Halterm) to its Fairview Cove Container Terminal by rail. The funding also includes the purchase of four new RMGs.
The second project is an upgrade for the Windsor Street Exchange, which is the main access road to the Port of Halifax, that will help reduce traffic congestion and improve safety.
Halifax Port Authority President and CEO Karen Oldfield said the infrastructure upgrades will “act as a catalyst for the digital transformation of our port. Now more than ever, the future of our port is not about trucks. It is about technology. The bricks and mortar changes will improve efficiency and increase physical capacity in the short term, and the digital advancements that are taking place will ensure that the additional capacity is fully optimized”.
As a step in its “digital transformation” the port has launched a Vessel Forecast Summary (VFS) application. Cargo owners and port service providers including terminal operators, pilots, tug operators, truckers and CN Rail can now access vessel ETA data through the Port of Halifax Operations Centre. Vessel data is provided by eeSea from Copenhagen, and users can see any difference between a vessel’s pro forma arrival date and an eeSea-estimated arrival date.
Just as Halifax is pushing ahead, The Quebec Port Authority (QPA) has announced an agreement with Hutchison Ports to develop a new terminal at Quebec City, to be named “Laurentia”. Quebec launched its plans for a new terminal at its existing Beauport site in 2017. The port has now signed a longterm commercial agreement with Hutchison Ports and CN Rail to build and operate the terminal.
The terminal is expected to cost C$775M. The QPA is engaged in ”ongoing discussions with the federal and provincial governments to complete the financing”. The timeline is not known at this stage as the plan is still in the environmental assessment stage.
If it clears this hurdle, the facility will likely include equipment automation. “The agreement stipulates that Hutchison Ports will build the most environmentally and technologically advanced cargo-handling facility in North America. It is a unique opportunity for the Port of Québec’s future container terminal to become one of the terminals with the smallest ecological footprint in the world,” the parties said in the announcement.