Halifax Port Slowly Returning to Business As Usual Following Blockades

February 29: Disruptions to CN Rail lines across the country in February meant delays and cancellations of shipments through Halifax.

For the Halifax Port Authority, this meant a slow in business.

“The cargo that would have normally been unloaded during those vessel calls never moved through our gateway terminals here. So we missed out on that cargo,” says Lane Farguson, spokesperson for the Halifax Port Authority.

Farguson tells NEWS 95.7’s The Todd Veinotte Show that since the blockades cleared up earlier this week, things have been slowly returning to normal at the port.

“Right now our focus is just on moving whatever cargo we can onto rail and just to get back to regular operations as quickly as we can,” he explains.

Although Farguson can’t put a monetary value on how much business was lost, he says the main priority now is ensuring things are back up and running quickly.

“Because the situation is still ongoing, we don’t have a measure right now of how many containers were able to move and weren’t able to move” he adds.

The spokesperson says there was a risk that business would be permanently lost during the closure, but he doesn’t think that has happened.

“That was a concern, is that once those shipping lines start to change the trade routes, they may not come back,” says Farguson. “Fortunately that’s not the case at this time.”

On Friday, Farguson says an ACL (Atlantic Container Line) vessel — one of Halifax’s longest-standing customers — was seen travelling through the harbour to port yesterday.

“They were very clear that they’re not going to be leaving Halifax, they’re going to be coming back,” says Farguson. “And ACL is one of the longer customers if not the longest customer of containerized cargo through the port. They’ve been here working out of Halifax for 53 years, so certainly that was encouraging.”

Farguson says that the situation will still take several days to be completely resolved, and encourages anyone with questions to contact CN Rail directly.

“Of course they know the tracks best, they are the operator there,” he adds.

In the meantime, the Port Authority is collaborating with CN and other stakeholders along shipping routes to ensure cargo is moving as quickly as possible.

Source: Halifax Today / Victoria Walton

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