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            july 16, 2019

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CN seeks stake in Halterm terminal to offer fast transit times to US


The Canadian National Railway (CN) has made an offer to acquire a stake in Halterm, the biggest container terminal in eastern Canada and located at the port of Halifax.
The rationale for the CN acquisition is based on repeating the railway's success in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. As is the case there, Halifax's location, together with the railway operator's extensive network, would enable it to offer faster transit times to destinations in the United States versus direct shipping through more congested American ports, reported the Halifax Chronicle Herald.
Halifax is well positioned to imitate Prince Rupert's success. The Fairview terminal there was constructed in 2007 with a single berth, four cranes and an annual container handling capacity of 500,000 TEU. By 2015 it was handling 750,000 TEU. This closely matches the current state of Halterm, which has a single berth, four cranes and handled 559,242 TEU in 2017.
A second berth and four additional cranes were added in Prince Rupert in 2015, raising annual capacity to 1.35 million TEU.
The Port of Halifax recently started construction of a pier expansion to add a second berth. With additional cranes, the Halterm facility will match what CN already owns on the west coast.
Were CN to double the terminal tracks at Halterm from four to eight, that would allow for an entire train to be made up there. In addition to installing the rail, a change in equipment at Halterm would be needed.
CN said it was potentially also interested in a port in Quebec or another in Nova Scotia if this acquisition failed to materialise.

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