Hunt Refrigeration finds new opportunities to continue its growth

Hunt Refrigeration finds new opportunities to continue its growth

By Brian Dunn

Alan Espey was 24 years old when he came to Montreal from Dublin to launch a new company with the intention of only staying for a year. That was back in 1985 and he’s still here.

The company he launched with co-founder James Spicer was Hunt Refrigeration Canada Inc. with CP Ships being its first customer. Mr. Spicer passed away in 2003 and Rob Nadeau, who joined the company in 1987, became a partner and part of the management team. Mr. Nadeau retired last year and Mr. Espey is semi-retired, but is overseeing the transition to the new management team of son Yanik Espey, wife Hélène Newberry and Eric Bédard. (more…)

Port of Halifax Board appoints new President and CEO

Port of Halifax Board appoints new President and CEO

Halifax Port Authority’s Board of Directors has appointed a new Port President and CEO: Captain Allan Gray will be concluding his tenure as Harbour Master and General Manager, Operations of Fremantle Ports in Perth, Australia, and join Halifax Port Authority as President and CEO in late November, 2019. “Captain Gray’s extensive experience in leading a large port with similar priorities and economic impact as our own, from container and bulk shipping to cruise and infrastructure expansion projects, will serve the growing Port of Halifax’s needs well,” says Board Chair Hector Jacques. “Our new CEO brings great depth and breadth of experience, and relationships in maritime transportation, shipping and cruise which will allow Port of Halifax to continue to play an important role in growing Canada’s international trade,” says Mr. Jacques. (more…)

Port of Saguenay well positioned to support new area industrial development

Port of Saguenay well positioned to support new area industrial development

By Brian Dunn

Judging from all the planned activity in the works, you would think the port of Saguenay was a major player in Canada’s marine industry. Far from it. But that’s not stopping Saguenay Port Authority from forging ahead with some ambitious projects with its industrial partners that could make your head spin. For example, Black Rock Metals is developing an iron-vanadium mine in Chibougamau and constructing a metals processing plant in Saguenay’s IP (investissements portuaire)  sector valued at over $1 billion. The company will convert the concentrate into pig iron that will be shipped to the Great Lakes and Europe, according to Carl Laberge, General Manager, CEO, Port of Saguenay.

The port’s 12.5 km rail spur linking it to CN’s main line was inaugurated in May 2015 at a cost of $37 million and will allow Saguenay to play a key role in Quebec’s Maritime Strategy and Plan Nord, he added. The port’s rail facilities feature a loading ramp with access to indoor storage of more than 70,000 sq. ft. and access to more than 2,500,000 sq. ft. of high capacity outdoor storage, including a paved area of over 70,000 sq. ft.

In August, 2018, the Quebec government announced $63 million in loans and loan guarantees to Développements Port Saguenay, a subsidiary of the Port, to create the required infrastructure to develop the port’s IP zone and to support the Black Rock Metals project.

GNL Québec has completed environmental assessment studies for a liquefied natural gas plant it plans to build at Saguenay’s Grande-Anse marine terminal. The $10 billion project includes construction of a 750-kilometre pipeline to transport natural gas from the Saguenay plant to Ontario by Gazoduq Inc.

Since 2014, the Port has been working on developing a new marine terminal on the North Shore that will enable Arianne Phosphate of Saguenay to construct an apatite mine for about $1.2 billion. But construction on the new terminal will not proceed until the Port gets assurances the project will move ahead. The mine expects to produce three million tonnes of apatite concentrate (used to make fertilizer) annually. The project got the go ahead last October from Canada’s environment minister Catherine McKenna. And in June, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SINOCONST, a large Chinese state owned company which includes financing and would give SINOCONST access to high-quality phosphate concentrate.

Last December, Barrette-Chapais began work at the Grande-Anse terminal for a storage and shipping site for wood pellets destined for Europe. The pellets will be made at a new plant that is part of the company’s sawmill in Chapais near Chibougamau. Once completed, the $17 million Grande-Anse facilities will produce approximately 200,000 tonnes of industrial grade pellets, which will replace coal in electricity production in the United Kingdom.

All of these projects will boost the region’s profile which enjoyed record activity last year. The port saw its traffic grow to 369,020 tonnes in 2018, up 13.2 per cent from 326,000 tonnes the previous year. The increase is largely due to the rise in volume of aluminum and road salt since other cargo volumes remained fairly stable. The port is one of the few deep water ports on the St. Lawrence, and its year-round Grande-Anse marine terminal can accommodate vessels of more than 100,000 DWT at a depth of 13.8 metres at low tide, Mr. Laberge pointed out.

Dry bulk accounts for almost 64 per cent of volume, followed by general goods at over 22 per cent and liquid bulk at over 13 per cent. The main products handled include aluminum, anodes, liquid pitch, bricks, coal, kaolin, de-icing salt and fluorspar.

Operating revenue grew by 20 per cent to $3.82 million, while net profit was up 37 per cent to $1.16 million. The results were attributed to cooperation between the Port of Saguenay, City of Saguenay, Promotion Saguenay, federal and provincial governments, community organizations and different port initiatives.

“We’ll do about the same this year as we did last year. But our volumes will grow in 2020 when the wood pellets production ramps up,” said Mr. Laberge. “And it will continue to grow in 2021 and beyond with all the other projects coming on stream.

In addition to Black Rock, there are other mining projects in the planning stages.”

With over three million acres of land, the port is currently working with the government of Quebec on developing its industrial zone by improving its infrastructure with the installation of natural gas facilities and high voltage electric power lines to accommodate more heavy industry.

The cruise ship terminal at La Baie also enjoyed a busy year, with a record 57,000 passengers on 56 vessels visiting the region, making it the third most import port of call on the St. Lawrence, behind Quebec City and Montreal. One of the highlights of last year’s cruise season was the arrival of MV Disney Magic and its 1,752 passengers during its first call at a Quebec port on Sept. 24, which attracted several hundred onlookers. This year’s cruise season which runs from May 1 to Nov. 2, will welcome among others, 3,000-passenger Caribbean Princess on Aug.11, Sept. 16 and Oct. 6, 2,500-passenger Queen Mary 2 on Sept. 10 and Oct. 13 and for the first time, 2,700-passenger Mein Schiff on Sept. 28. “We expect a similar cruise season this year which is impressive, considering that we’ve only been in the business for ten years,” noted Mr. Laberge. The City of Saguenay contributed more than $6 million to add floating docks and a floating breakwater to improve visitor experiences and to increase cruise passenger capacity. The icebreaker system that protects the Port’s infrastructure during the winter was also updated.

The Port continues to show a commitment to its community by being heavily involved in several non-profit organizations, supporting more than 42 organizations in the region in 2018.

Transforming our ports; transforming our economy

Transforming our ports; transforming our economy

By Wendy Zatylny

In her insightful book on global shipping, Ninety Percent of Everything, author Rose George talks about “sea blindness” – that for most of us, the sea has become “a distance to be flown over, a downward backdrop between takeoff and landing”.

But, in recent years I have seen signs that this is changing. As our ports evolve and grow, they are also reaching out to work with partners and neighbours in meaningful ways, to draw everyone into the conversation about how the transformation that our ports are experiencing is transforming Canada as well. (more…)

Port of Halifax’ Port Operations Centre has become the focal point around the creation of a digital port

Port of Halifax’ Port Operations Centre has become the focal point around the creation of a digital port

By Tom Peters

The Port of Halifax, through the Halifax Port Authority (HPA), is evolving in the digital world. It’s a process that has been ongoing for several years, says Lane Farguson, HPA’s Manager, Media Relations and Communications.

“We have been working on becoming a digital port for more than a few years,” he says. “When we started our initial infrastructure planning process quite a few years ago, we realized then that there was going to be a big shift, not just with the physical infrastructure but with our digital assets as well,” he said, and the HPA took steps at that time “to not only make an infrastructure plan but we also started looking at what steps to we needed to be taking to cover the same thing on the digital front. Over time we have done a lot of different things. We started small but they are all tied together,” he said. (more…)

Cruise industry continues to grow in importance for Halifax local economy

Cruise industry continues to grow in importance for Halifax local economy

By Tom Peters

The Halifax cruise industry continues to sail along nicely with another record year for cruise passengers on the horizon.

A recent study released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 2019 Cruise Trends and State of the Cruise Industry, found 30-million people worldwide will take part in a cruise this year. Over 320,000 of those cruisers are expected to visit Halifax. (more…)