Gateway council signs agreement
Port of Halifax could see expanded cargo traffic with Memphis, Manitoba
By TOM PETERS Business Reporter
Sat. Mar 14 - 6:21 AM
The Port of Halifax could be the main benefactor of two agreements with major centres in the north and south.
The Halifax Gateway Council has recently signed memorandums of understanding with Churchill. Man., and Memphis, Tenn., that have the potential to expand cargo transportation connections with the port.
The deal with Memphis means that city gains a partner on the Atlantic "that will help them develop their strategy on developing inland terminals and all of the capacity to deepen their distribution business," Stephen Dempsey, chairman of the Halifax Gateway Council, said earlier this week.
"For us it is the southern Midwest. Getting into Memphis and into those markets with connections on the Mississippi to the heartland of the U.S. gives us all kinds of opportunities."
The Churchill plan could potentially lead to Halifax being an export port for western grain and a booster for short sea shipping.
"The Canadian Wheat Board is really supportive," Mr. Dempsey said. "Ian White, board president, sees this as another opportunity for Prairie grain to get to markets, and for us it is short sea shipping, an option to rail."
He said grain could be shipped to Halifax and then transported to international markets. When the vessels returned to Churchill from Halifax, they might be able to load cargo for mine development in the North or even for the oil sands in the West.
Both groups have agreed to explore trade-related opportunities for companies in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada.
The agreement with Memphis follows a visit to Halifax last year by a contingent of business people from that city.
The recent acquisition by CN of the main lines of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co. will allow the rail company a quicker route around Chicago thus improving transit times between Halifax and Memphis. This makes Halifax attractive for Memphis cargo arriving from India and Asia through the Suez Canal.
Arnold Perl, chairman of the Memphis Regional Logistics Council, said in a release that Memphis is "literally connected by CN Rail to both coasts of Canada through Prince Rupert, B.C., on the west and Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east."
The connection with Memphis, a southern cargo hub and distribution centre, may also hold some promise for Halifax air cargo.
"Memphis has 100 million-plus square feet of warehouse space. It is the largest air cargo hub in North America and is home to the air cargo giant FedEx, a key customer at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport," said Tom Ruth, president and CEO of the Halifax International Airport Authority.
"Our key strategic relationship with Memphis will benefit our gateway in many ways."
’(Memphis is) literally connected by CN Rail to both coasts of Canada through Prince Rupert, B.C., on the west and Halifax, N.S., on the east.’
Arnold perlMemphis Regional Logistics Council