Cargo expansion for Halifax International driven by demand for seafood

Canada’s federal transportation minister, Marc Garneau, has announced an expansion of the cargo facilities at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. The expansion is driven by the strong demand for fresh Canadian seafood.

Last year more than 10,000 tons of seafood worth over CAD 220 million (USD 167 million, EUR 146.5 million) was shipped via Halifax International, comprising half of all air cargo leaving the airport. Most of the seafood shipments need to occur in a small window, which is creating logistical problems for the airport. 

Airport CEO Joyce Carter told local media the airport is operating beyond its capacity, which causes some product to be trucked to other regional airports for shipment. Expanding the cargo facilities would create more storage for product in advance of flights and ease congestion on both sides of the operation. 

Currently, Halifax has 7,000-square-feet of refrigeration. How much more refrigeration will be added has yet to be determined. Carter sees the expansion as an opportunity to be more competitive, grow business, and cement Halifax’s role as the region’s primary shipping point.

The CAD 36 million (USD 27.4 million, EUR 24 million) expansion project will create a new 50,000-square-foot facility within the airport perimeter, add taxiways, and expand de-icing abilities. There is no decision yet on whether it will accommodate multiple tenants or a single client. 

Regardless of whether it houses multiple tenants or a single tenant, they should expect to have longer leases. Management structure of the facility is also not locked in. It could be managed by the airport authority, or in partnership with a private sector entity. The target opening is for late 2020 or early 2021.

Carter said projections show the expansion will create 3,300 direct and in-direct jobs in the first year of operations and grow to 6,700 within five years.


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