Container Terminal Moving to Dartmouth? probably not.

I was recently quoted in a CBC Article by Paul Withers. I thought it would be a good idea to flesh out some of the thoughts in that article.

The Port authority has announced that it is undertaking a study looking at relocating one of the container terminals. They haven’t said which one. they also made comments suggesting they want to alleviate downtown trucks. This leads everyone to think the Southend terminal is moving to Dartmouth.

I think this is an unlikely scenario. The South End Terminal consists of the Halifax Ocean Terminals (Piers 20-35) And Halterm (Piers 36-42) Besides numerous transit sheds, the south end facility is also home to the grain elevator. It already has deep water, and is unencumbered by bridges. It seems unlikely that the port authority would relocate Halterm, leaving the rest of the facility there. recall that the main goal is to accommodate bigger ships concurrently. Even as a pure real estate play – the coming of availability of land from the cogswell interchange would make it seem that prospects for development would be offset for a number of years.

More likely is that Fairview Cove closes. Its big constraint for this terminal is the bridges – already the largest ships calling on halifax cant pass underneath at high tide – or on westbound legs when they are carrying mostly empties. The Macdonald is being Raised as part of the big lift, however the Mackay will remain at the same height until it needs redecking. There are also stories that Ceres wants to terminate the lease early – which suggests they see the writing on the wall.

A move to Dartmouth is problematic. Any new facility would need to be constructed from scratch on Infill. There is not currently sufficient rail capacity to accommodate trains there, and the logical place to build such a terminal is where the imperial oil docks currently are – and they are unlikely to go anywhere. Anywhere else would likely run afoul of the neighbors.

I suspect the best option will be another extension of Pier 42, or extending pier B further into the Harbour. As for the truck issue, I would suggest that the city build the planned, but never built Northwest Arm bridge, and highway connection to the 103 as a transit and Truck route only. this would solve the problem of getting buses from Spryfield, Tantalon and Timberlea onto the peninsula bypassing traffic choke points, and remove trucks from downtown. Trucks could exit into the railcut to access the port from Robie street, and could be subject to a toll to fund the road. Busses could connect to Robie.



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3 thoughts on “Container Terminal Moving to Dartmouth? probably not.

  1. Alex Embree

    RE: Better access to the Southend Container Pier
    What about turning the railway cut into a truck road. Trucks and rails can share the same roadway (think of the trolleys in Toronto). Is this a possibility?

  2. Gilbert MacPhee

    Why would you only think of this from the perspective of shipping? The three last things that are preventing Halifax from being a great city are a) lack of fast & reliable regional transit within HRM, b) North & South being cut in half by the Cogswell (being fixed) and c) the Halterm terminal splitting the downtown from Point Pleasant Park. It is crucially important for that area to be connected, as in walkable, to the city, much in the way that Stanley Park is part of the fabric in Vancouver.

    1. Peter Post author

      1. I’m a shipping blog – why would i look at this in terms of city building or through any other lens. Also My comments reflect a likely occurance, as opposed to some theoretical unbuilt city.

      2. if the terminal relocated, the lands would revert to the Feds who would turn it over to Canada Lands.
      it would sit as an empty lot, for years, much like cogswell will because the city only has so much market capacity for downtown residential/commercial.


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