Canso container terminal takes big step forward

by Array

Melford International Terminal (MIT) has achieved a significant milestone in its effort to develop a container terminal on the mainland side of the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia.

New Jersey-headquartered Maher Terminals has signed an agreement to become a shareholder in and provide services for the new terminal, which will now be called Maher Melford Terminal.

Melford first announced plans for the terminal in May 2007. Over the following year and a half, it secured funding and recruited staff. In October 2008, it received environmental assessment approval for the project.

The scope of the project

The centre will include a 315-acre container terminal, intermodal on-dock rail capabilities and a 1,500-acre logistics park. It will also include deep-water berths of 60 feet at mean low water, an ice-free 100-foot deep channel and no air draft restrictions.

The terminal will connect to interior North American markets through CN’s East Coast Mainline intermodal rail service.

When phase one of the US$350-million terminal is complete, it will include two berths and an initial capacity of 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year. Organizers aim to commence commercial operations by 2013.

Maher is expected to bring significant expertise to the endeavour—as the operator of the three-year-old container terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, it has been involved in developing such an enterprise before.

President and CEO John Buckley said the Canso container terminal presents a great opportunity to build a “comprehensive and highly efficient” container gateway on a greenfield site. “Such opportunities are rare and the increased capacity and efficiencies realized from a modern terminal are substantial,” he said.

Paul Martin, president of MIT, said Maher’s work in Prince Rupert makes it a good fit as a contributor to the venture. “Maher’s experience makes them an ideal partner for Maher Melford Terminal,” Martin said. “This terminal will, in many ways, be an East Coast version of Prince Rupert.”