By Tom Peters

Halterm Container Terminal at the Port of Halifax has been acquired by one of the world’s leading terminal operators.

Singapore-based PSA International Pte Ltd (PSA) announced in early August that it has acquired Halterm from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners. The price has not been disclosed.

PSA is a leading global port group with flagship operations in Singapore and Antwerp. PSA’s portfolio comprises a network of over 50 coastal, rail and inland terminals in 18 countries.

Macquarie acquired Halterm in late 2007 for $173 million.

“We are excited to welcome Halterm into PSA’s global family of ports, as PSA’s first coastal terminal in Canada,” Tan Chong Meng, Group CEO, PSA International, said in a release. “We look forward to working alongside the Halifax Port Authority, customers, staff and the local community, as well as key stakeholders like the International Longshoremen’s Association and Canadian National Railway Company (CN) to further enhance Halterm’s capabilities and connectivity to serve the needs of shippers in the greater hinterland of Canada and beyond,” he said.

Macquarie Infrastructure Partners’s CEO, Karl Kuchel, said, “After acquiring Halterm in 2007, we are pleased to have partnered with Halterm management and staff, the Halifax Port Authority and other key stakeholders to deliver safe, reliable services to customers over the last 12 years. We are proud of the growth that Halterm has delivered in recent years and that Halterm has been a responsible member of the Halifax community during our ownership.”

Halterm’s CEO and Managing Director, Kim Holtermand said in an email that no changes in the terminal’s management are expected.

Halterm, with three container berths and water depth up to 16 metres, is the only container terminal in Eastern Canada that can serve ultra-class container vessels (capacity to carry over 10,000 twenty-foot containers or more) and is presently undergoing an extensive upgrade with the construction of a main pier extension underway. The extension will allow the terminal to service two of these ultra-class vessels simultaneously. Halterm has ordered a new super-post Panamax ship-to-shore crane that will reach 24 containers across. The new crane and extension are expected to be operational mid-2020.

Port labour in Halifax was quick to welcome PSA to the Port of Halifax. Kevin Piper, President of ILA Local 269, said, “We are looking forward to dealing with a world class terminal operator in Halifax, with bigger and better things in a bright future.”

Piper doesn’t believe PSA bought Halterm just to maintain it at status quo. He said there is room to grow and expand at Halterm and is hopeful PSA will take advantage of that potential growth area.

Halifax Port Authority President and CEO Karen Oldfield sees opportunities for Halterm under PSA.

“With international reach, deep knowledge of the international shipping industry and strong global partnerships, we look forward to working with PSA International, sharing with them best practices and developing new technologies and digital strategies that will position the Port of Halifax for future growth, for the benefit of both our organizations, for Halifax, for Nova Scotia and all of Canada,” Oldfield said. She added that, “On behalf of the port community in Halifax, I would also like to recognize and thank Macquarie Infrastructure Partners for what has been a valuable business relationship over the past many years.”

Halifax’s geographical position on the East Coast and its uncongested operations were most likely among the key factors in PSA’s decision to purchase Halterm. The port’s natural advantages make it ideally positioned for the trend towards increasingly larger ships. It is the first inbound port and the last outbound port of call for North America’s East Coast and is located approximately 50 Nautical Miles from major shipping lanes (Great Circle Route) from Europe to North America.

The port has exceptional highway connections for Atlantic Canada’s high-value exports, and rail carrier CN offers double-stack and reefer service coast-to-coast as well as a continuous line from Halifax to Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis, connecting to the US Midwest.