Major Canadian retailers expanding imports and distribution activity over Halifax
A group of major Canadian retailers has selected the Port of Halifax to route growing volumes of import products from Southeast Asia and the Indian Sub-continent. Halifax will be the East Coast hub for sorting and distribution activities of retail giants such as Sears Canada Inc., Sony of Canada Ltd., Reitmans (Canada) Limited and other member companies of the Canadian Retail Shippers’ Association (CRSA).
Beginning July 1, a range of import goods including apparel, electronics and furniture will be shipped from Southeast Asia and the Indian Sub-continent via all-water services over the Suez Canal, to the Port of Halifax.
“This deal is a major vote of confidence in the Port of Halifax as a smart gateway for Asian trade to enter North America,” says Karen Oldfield, President and Chief Executive Officer, Halifax Port Authority. “Our port has the capacity and the services to meet the requirements of these major retailers and shipping lines. More distribution activity in Halifax through our port means more local port economic spin-offs. We see this as a value-added growth opportunity for Halifax with respect to Asian cargo, as more North American ports are experiencing congestion.”
CRSA retailers will soon begin shipping 4000 teus per year through Halifax. “Retailers need flexibility and reliability. We have increasing product volumes from the Asian market and consumers want to know that the product is going to be on the shelf when they are ready to buy. This is a strategic move for CRSA and the Port of Halifax has the right combination of services and connections to get our products to market,” says Brian Gerrior of Sears Canada and Chairman of the CRSA Offshore Program.
Through CN and Armour Transportation Systems, imports will be distributed directly to warehouses in Central Canada.
Armour Transportation Systems will utilize their Burnside Industrial Park facility to coordinate import goods to final destination. “We are ready to take on this new business. Over the next few weeks our people will undertake specialized training at CRSA Logistics operations on the West Coast. We are excited about this new opportunity and will ensure that we deliver the quick turn-around and quality service these retail giants demand,” says Wesley Armour, President and CEO of Armour Transportation Systems.
CN connects the Port of Halifax to all the principal cities of Canada and the United States, with fast transit times and superior service. “CN has invested heavily in the Montreal-Halifax corridor to increase capacity and to improve transit times. We played a very active role in helping put together the transportation component of this exciting new venture in place,” says Paul Waite, vice-president, IMX (Intermodal Excellence) for CN. “CN knows the Port of Halifax has ample capacity to handle increased international container business, including Asian business destined for the interior of the continent, and we’re excited with the prospect of rising volumes of trade moving over the port and onto CN’s North American network. This is a winning result for all stakeholders in the port.”
Atlantic exporters will also benefit from this new import activity. More import containers create available containers for local companies to utilize for exports. The CRSA business will be handled by a number of shipping lines presently calling at the Port of Halifax via the Suez.
The Halifax Port Authority continues to work with private enterprise and strategic partners to expand cargo opportunities and value-added services over the Port of Halifax. The Port of Halifax has a total income impact of almost $700 million and an employment impact of over 9,000 direct and indirect jobs. The Canadian Retail Shippers’ Association (CRSA) represents 11 major retailers: Sears Canada Inc., Reitmans (Canada) Limited, Northern Group, Tabi International Corp., Eddie Bauer, The Bargain Shop, Sony of Canada Ltd., Roots Canada Ltd., Club Monaco, Bou