Aug 04, 2015
A new era has been launched at the deep water Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia with the arrival on August 3 of the CMA CGM Vivaldi at Halterm International Container Terminal. The 8478-TEU, 334-metre long Vivaldi is the largest container vessel to berth at Halterm and on Canada’s East Coast. Up till now, the biggest container vessels calling at Halifax were in the 7500-TEU range.
France’s CMA CGM, the world’s third biggest container operator, already has ships calling at Halifax, but it is adding Halifax to its Columbus Loop service – thereby offering the first direct import/export service between Canada, South China and Malaysia. “Canadian and US Midwest shippers will gain unique import and export opportunities with the entry of a new shipping service to Halterm International Container Terminals,” stated a joint Halterm/CMA CGM press release.
Halterm CEO Ashley Dinning said that Halterm”s value to Asian shippers and Canadian exporters was a consistent and efficient service the company provided to vessel, rail and truck modes as a gateway to and from Canadian and Midwest markets.
“We now have the opportunity to deliver on these new direct connections for the Canadian market,” he said. “CMA CGM, with its commitment and vision for its customers, has recognized the potential of the deep water, high capacity vessel calls we can support at Halterm.”
Lionel Chatelet, CMA CGM General Manager Canada, said his company was delighted to expand its services to clients in Asia and North America by offering faster transit times to key Canadian centers.
Direct service to Halifax from Malaysia is 23 days, from Vietnam 25 days and Toronto in 26-29 days.
Under a new long term contract, the Columbus service now joins CMA CGM’s St. Laurent Service at Halterm. The latter serves Canada’s transatlantic export markets.
A few days after the arrival of the CMA CGM Vivaldi, the 8750-TEU Budapest Express was slated to arrive at the Ceres terminal in Halifax as part of the Asia Suez Express (AZX) service of the G6 Alliance linking Asia to the East Coast of North America. The G6 Alliance has added a call at Halifax on the AZX service.
The move is designed to improve transit times from Canada to Asian and Mediterranean ports as well as from Asian and Mediterranean ports to New York.
Port of Halifax CEO
“The arrival of larger vessels to the Port of Halifax is a positive development,” Karen Oldfield, president and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority, told AJOT. “This is good news for terminal operators, logistics providers, port users and for the larger community due to the increased potential for economic growth.”
Oldfield stressed: “The (terminal) operators have been working to support big ship strategy, and we give full credit to Ceres and Halterm for getting these deals signed.
“It is too early to say what the effect will be on containerized cargo, although we are cautiously optimistic. What we know is this provides additional capacity.”
Since 2004, the Port of Halifax has invested over C$250 million in infrastructure, including the deepening to 55 feet the capacity of the two container terminals and the addition of several post-Panamax cranes.
“The investment has been made, the infrastructure is in place, and as a result the Port of Halifax is able to triple existing capacity and take advantage of the overall shift toward larger vessels which is now underway.”
While total cargo declined by 9% last year, container traffic at Halifax rose by 8.6% to 400,000 TEUs.