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Atlantic Canada ports: Saint John exceeds 2021 volumes, Halifax goes green

Eastern gateways positioning to tackle more freight, renewables opportunities

A tanker at Saint John. (Photo: Shutterstock/Darryl Brooks)

Port Saint John has already exceeded 2021 volumes 

At the end of September, Port Saint John had already exceeded the volumes that it handled in 2021, and that growth could balloon in the coming years as more terminal capacity comes online, port officials said.

The port, located in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, has handled about 100,000 twenty-foot equivalent units since the start of 2022, “which is more throughput than Port Saint John has ever experienced on an annual basis,” the port said last week.

The port handled 64,682 TEUs between January and September 2021, according to port spokesperson Jane Burchill, making for a nearly 55% increase year over year.

In 2021, Port Saint John handled 86,949 TEUs, which itself was a 10% increase over 2020 volumes. Last year also marked the fifth consecutive year of container growth at the port complex. 

The increase in this year’s volumes comes as the port prepares for its second berth to go online in 2023. Additional cargo laydown space will also be available in 2024 and 2025.

“This is a significant milestone for Port Saint John which will position it as a main Atlantic Gateway. Together with our partners, we are making major investments in DP World Saint John and the supporting logistics eco-system to enhance Canadian trade efficiency and provide sustainable economic growth for the region,” said Maksim Mihic, CEO and general manager of DP World (Canada), in a news release.

These efforts, plus public and private investments and upgrades at the DP World container terminal and at other port facilities, will boost Port Saint John’s capacity to 800,000 TEUs in the coming years.

Saint John has access to Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP) and CN (NYSE: CNI), and it also has access to CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) via Pan Am Railways. All three Class I railroads have been seeking to tap further into the Upper Midwest markets.

“The investments made in Port Saint John, combined with CP’s return to this congestion-free port after a 20-year absence, have unlocked strategic potential that sat untapped for too many years,” CP Chief Marketing Officer John Brooks said. 

Halifax and Hamburg seek to decarbonize shipping corridor

The ports of Halifax in Canada’s Nova Scotia and Hamburg in Germany have signed a memorandum of understanding to green the shipping corridor between both ports through advancing renewable hydrogen technologies and encouraging others globally to do the same.

The two ports will collaborate to:

  • Address port infrastructure needs to bunker and export hydrogen and derivatives at both Halifax and Hamburg.
  • Collaborate with partners and shipping lines to advance green use energy on the corridor. 
  • Work with local communities and respective governments on related regulatory measures, financial incentives and safety regulations.
  • Share knowledge and technology that could hasten decarbonizing the route.

The agreement, signed by Hamburg Port Authority CEO Jens Meier and Halifax Port Authority CEO Capt. Allan Gray, will also help Canadian companies deploy technology more easily in Germany and help German companies find manufacturing opportunities in Canada, according to last week’s news release.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.