Category Archives: port

New Wharf for Georges Island

profile view of the new wharf at low tide.

Develop Nova Scotia today released the RFQ for construction of a new wharf on Georges Island. The project will see the existing wharf cut down, and a new pile structure twice its size constructed.

The new wharf will be 135′ long, and 18′ wide. there will be 60′ of Floating dock on either side of the main wharf to allow for boat access. Deadline for bids is Sept 17.

The Current wharf was built in 2004, and is built over the ruins of previous wharves. The first wharf was constructed by 1784, and was historically 130′ in length, and 20-25′ wide – the approximate dimensions to the proposed structure.

PSA Acquires Halterm

As previously announced, today PSA International Pte Ltd has completed the acquisition of Halterm from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners. This is a good news story for the port, as PSA is a terminal operator, and not simply an investment fund. PSA will work with Shippers, CN, and the port to increase business, and has extensive operations around the world.

With the Pier Expansion underway, and a new crane on order (with an option for a second) things are looking good at Halterm today.

PSA’s other Canadian facility is the Ashcroft Terminal, British Columbia’s largest inland port facility. Ashcroft Terminal is located approximately 300km east of the Port of Vancouver, close to the major highways, and offers unique rail connectivity to both Class 1 railroad lines – CN and CP

Port Expansion Feedback is in

Halterm North proposal

The port released the results of the public consultation they performed to solicit feedback on port expansion and how the port operates within the community. The consultation was conducted by Hill+Knowlton Strategies via a survey to two groups in March and April 2019.   

Support for port is strong, with the majority from both groups agreeing or strongly agreeing that the port is important to the economy and quality of life in the region. Among the groups, the rational for port expansion is understood, and is supported by similar numbers of respondents.  

We covered the examined options for port expansion in January

Despite some strong advocacy for moving Halterm to Dartmouth, survey respondents favored the Halterm North expansion option over the move. Halterm North would see the south end finger piers that make up the ocean terminals infilled to add an additional berth. More than 50% of respondents were indifferent or against moving to Dartmouth. Less than 31% were indifferent or against Halterm expansion.  

The respondents indicated their priority considerations regarding port expansion were the impact on local neighborhoods, and access to road and Rail. On the question of truck volume downtown, most felt it was an issue, and there was strong support for reducing trucks, and expanding rail to do so.  

The survey results are good news for the port. The port has some clear direction, and support from the public. Expansion can be done, but the port must also be a good neighbour. The recent announcement on federal funding to remove trucks from the downtown and enhancing rail service between the terminals was likely driven by the port and the government taking survey feedback in this regard seriously.  

The Consultation consisted of two survey groups. The open group consisted of anyone who wanted to fill out the survey online. 1,911 answered some or all the survey questions. The majority of this group were working age, and 23% identified as a downtown commuter. A second group, was a demographically representative sample of 1012 participants from across the province. 33% of this group was retired, and the age group tended to skew to age 45+. It was also 50% of HRM and 50% from the province at large. 

As would be expected, responses to the open survey were likely from interested parties, but the results among both groups show the same preferences overall. 

Full results, and the expansion options can be viewed at www.portcityhfx.ca  

Halterm announces new crane and other equipment

Arrival of 2 New SPPX Cranes in Halifax, 2013.

Halterm announced it has Procured the Equipment required to add another Crane unit – with options for a second.

The Equipment ordered, Includes a new SPPX Container crane, capable of reaching 24bays across, to be delivered in June 2020. 2 New RTG’s, and 9 new yard tractors and container chasis will support the crane in the terminal.

Delivery should coincide with the completion of the terminal expansion.

See Our post on How a Container Terminal works.

Port Expansion Options Revealed.

The Current Expansion project, now underway.

With the interm expansion of pier 42 currently underway, The Port announced its further expansion options yesterday. The Images are photos of slides taken by Councilor Waye Mason, who attended the presentation by the port, and the descriptions are mostly lifted directly from the ports website at portcityhfx.ca, with some additional comments by me.

Halterm North

This scenario involves infilling the main Ocean Terminal slips between Piers A, A1, and B, using a caisson wall that supports a new container pier, thus creating a single UCCV berth. The existing Pier C would continue to operate throughout the development phase.

This proposal would create an efficient container yard that can still accommodate dry bulk and cruise operations along the north side of Pier A. The Halterm North option can be built within the Port’s existing property, with negligible impact on navigation or on adjacent land use. This option requires the least amount of imported fill material and has the shortest development timeline of all three Halterm-based scenarios.

The Halifax Port Authority would investigate relocating users of Ocean Terminals to other locations within the Port of Halifax. This option would be the least expensive and easiest to build.

Halterm South

The Halterm South concept extends the existing Halterm berth southward with significant infilling to accommodate on-dock rail and container storage. The slip between Piers A1 and B would be infilled to create additional yard space.

Enhancement options for Point Pleasant Park were included as part of the Halterm South expansion concept. This option would be more expensive and would require more time to build than Halterm North.

Halterm East

Phase One would involve infilling the slip between Piers A and B and a new berth would be developed east of the existing Pier C. Should container volume continue to increase, the new berth would be expanded southward to increase the capacity in subsequent phases.
 
The Halifax Port Authority would investigate relocating users of Ocean Terminals to other locations within the Port of Halifax.This option would be more expensive and would require more time to build than Halterm North.

Dartmouth

The optimal location of a new Dartmouth container terminal was identified as being to the south of downtown Dartmouth and to the north of Eastern Passage. This location was determined by navigational issues and by land use developments along the Dartmouth shoreline. (this is essentially the imperial oil site)

For the Dartmouth concept, two rail options were considered to provide necessary rail access to the site:

  • Trains running along the existing Dartmouth waterfront line
  • Trains running along new track east of Dartmouth

Trains running along the existing Dartmouth waterfront were found to be impractical due to the 4200 meter length required for efficient operation. A route for a 20+ km track running east of Dartmouth was examined in detail and adjusted to mitigate property and environment impacts.

Not including rail costs and costs related to property purchases, capital cost for this option was estimated at $1.4 billion CAD in 2017, with operation not expected to start until early-to-middle 2030. This option was determined to have much higher costs, longer timeline, increased logistical/construction challenges, and significant impact on properties and residents in Dartmouth. the real costs for this will likely be north of 3 billion dollars.

Other Options

Barges
Assessed the use of barges to transship local containers between Halterm and Fairview Cove. This option would result in inconsistent movement of freight with increased exposure to weather-related delays and would add substantial operating costs to port-related goods movement

Halifax East/South Byway through Rock Cut
Extensively studied the option of moving both rail cargo and trucks safely through the rock cut. This option would require expanding the width of the rock cut to 83 feet, or 25 metres. Several portions of the rock cut would require significant alteration (excavation and blasting) in predominantly residential areas. It would also require the rebuilding of 13 bridges and one rail bridge, plus the costs associated with design, construction and land acquisition (which would include expropriation) for a new highway intersection in the North End.

Halifax Northwest Arm Crossing
Evaluated the diversion of local traffic to a new tunnel under the Northwest Arm, with connections to the west-side roads. This option would take too much time, would be cost-prohibitive, would pose significant engineering challenges to achieve the necessary 8% grade and would displace a large number of residents.

Raising the Harbour Bridges to expand Fairview Cove
Evaluated the reconstruction of the harbour bridges to increase the vertical clearance to accommodate ultra-class vessels.This option would result in significant traffic disruptions in Halifax over many years and would result in a significant timeline disadvantage when compared to other more viable concepts

McNabs Island
Assessed the option of building a new Greenfield terminal at McNabs Island.This option would take too much time, would be cost-prohibitive, would pose significant engineering challenges to develop the required cross-harbour connections for both road and rail lines, and does not have stakeholder support.

First Ships of 2019

Atlantic Tern was the first ship to arrive in Halifax in 2019, followed shortly after by the CSL Bulker Salarium. Atlantic Tern tied up at pier 9, while the Salarium anchored inthe inner harbour.

the container ship Crete I arrived on the 31st, and tied up at Fairview Cove, but will not be worked until tomorrow.

Port of Halifax Commences Berth Extension

 

 

 

the Following release was issued by the port today:

The Board of Directors of the Halifax Port Authority and the CEO are pleased to confirm that the work on the temporary South End Container Terminal berth extension has commenced, implementing its August 2018 board decision and announced at Halifax Port Days.

 The berth extension will ensure that the Port of Halifax will continue to be a vital link in the Canadian supply chain, facilitate global economic ties and provide access to international markets for importers and exporters.

 Construction is anticipated to be complete in Q1 of 2020.

A tender was recently issued, closing Nov 2 for the Dredging of the expanded area.

File Photo from the previous pier expansion work.

How can Halifax Mitigate Trucks to the Port? look to Vancouver.

The issue of trucks to the Port recently was cited by the federal government as a reason to deny funding to modify Halterm and the Halifax Ocean terminals to accommodate multiple ultra class container ships. these ships, which are 10,000+ teu vessels are supplanting smaller ships on more routes, as carriers form alliances, and look to find efficiencies.

But are trucks really that big a problem? The port of Halifax has an 80/20 split rail vs trucks. in 2017, the port handled 559,242 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). A 2016 study conducted for the city counted 648 trucks in a 24 hour period. This is just over 300 vehicles. By Comparison, Hollis street sees 700 vehicles in an hour during peak times.

I conducted 2 polls via twitter. while they have a selection bias, the results were interesting. the first poll found that 39% of respondents felt that trucks to the port were the worst downtown traffic, however, 61% thought something else was worse. The Road Train (19%) Harbour Hopper (15%) and cyclists (27%) combined are more hated then trucks.i found it interesting that for all the talk they get, more people are actually annoyed by another group of road users, which are actully largely seasonal.

follow up conversations actually identified couriers and people illegally stopping as a big problem for all road users, as their stops block lanes, and sidewalks and force people to have to go out of their way to avoid them.


I also conducted a second poll to see how many trucks people thought were traversing downtown to the port. 33% of respondents thought there were more trucks then there actually are, with 14% believing there are over twice as many as there really are.

So seemingly the problem may not be as bad as we think it.

I reached out to the Port of Vancouver, which has 2 terminals, Centerm and Vanterm, just east of downtown. In 2017 the Port of Vancouver Handled 3,252,223TEU. I asked the port how they handled trucks.

The Port of Vancouver is an interesting case study for a Number of reasons. First – like Halifax, the port facilities are located through communities away from highway access. Second, Vancouver is ranked consistently as one of the most livable cities in the world, and third, thier port operations are significantly bigger then ours, so if their solutions are working, then that should be adoptable here.

I was told by Chris Clarke, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority that 2/3 of the ports cargo arrives by rail, and 1/3 by truck. Vancouver therefore has many more trucks then Halifax does. Vancouver also lacks direct highway access.

The Port of Vancouver has a community liaison committee to collect feedback and offers a feedback line where residents can call in to report issues including noise.  Vancouver worked with the Province of BC to institute a truck licensing process. Trucks delivering to the port, must meet certain age and environmental standards to be permitted port access. Clarke also told me that they work with local law enforcement to ensure trucks operate safely, and meet standards.

One interesting thing the Port of Vancouver mentioned is that they try to route trucks over fresh pavement. by smoothing out the ride, they are able to keep noise from rattling empty containers down.

A study conducted by the City of Halifax looked at constructing an inland terminal. Essentially all truck activities and empty container storage would happen at the inland terminal, and containers would be moved between the port and the inland terminal by rail. Such a system solves the downtown truck problem, and expands port capacity by 250,000 TEU, from the current upper limit of 900,000, simply be re-allocating land use.

that study also looked at the feasibility of using the railcut to move trucks as well as trains. it found it could be a viable solution, though careful consideration would be needed to ensure rail uses were not impacted, and to leave room for commuter rail in the future. presumably the truck entrance to the railcut would happen around the Fairview overpass, possibly via a ramp off Joseph Howe. This would also have the benefit of a direct road link between the terminals.

A final option that has not been previously proposed or studied, is actually a variation on an old plan for a Northwest Arm bridge. If the city built the planned, but never started Northwest Arm bridge, and highway connection to the 103, it could be used as a dedicated transit and Truck route. 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.

Now might be the time to invest in infrastructure. However,  if the Port of Halifax working with the city and Province adopted some of Vancouver’s strategies to mitigate disturbances caused by trucks,  we could offset the impact of trucks on our community.