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Halifax Gateway Movement


2012 was another record year at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, as more than 3.6 million passengers moved through the airport. Air cargo also continued its post-recession rebound, increasing for the fifth consecutive year and inching closer to pre-recession levels. Further, in January 2013, work was completed on the $28 million runway extension project. The runway was extended from 8,000 to 10,500 feet to allow it to handle larger wide-bodied and heavier aircraft year round – likely a major upside to cargo totals into the future. 

After a lackluster 2011, the Port of Halifax results improved slightly in 2012 as domestic and international markets improved, particularly south of the border. Total cargo tonnage increased slightly in 2012 after four years of decline, and with new calls into the Port of Halifax expected in the near future, the trend may be turning around. 

Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) saw marginal increases as well in 2012, although not quite recovering losses in 2011. Continued economic recovery in the United States is critical to the stability and growth of TEUs as Halifax plays a role as an intermodal transportation hub to the Midwestern United States.

Halifax saw a surge of cruise ship activity in 2012, in part due to several ships being routed through Halifax during hurricane season. Nearly 10% more cruise ships called in Halifax in 2012 than 2011, and overall 46% more ships have called since 2007. This pushed passenger levels over 250,000, up more than 9,000 from 2011., although still below 2010. From May to October 2013, the Port already has 136 visits scheduled including many in the 2,800 to 3,000-person capacity level. 


Gateway stakeholders are investing in future growth. The Port and its terminal operators have made investments of over $250 million in infrastructure in the past five years to secure future business. These investments to increase capacity and create more efficiency should pay big dividends in the long term as world markets improve. Further, several incoming missions through the Halifax Gateway, as well as marketing efforts abroad, are pushing the message that Halifax is a strong gateway to the world. 

Economic impacts at the port and airport total $1.6 and $1.2 billion, respectively, and the organizations employ thousands of Halifax residents. Their success and Halifax’s are entwined and the alignment of governments and the private sector are crucial to the long-term success of the Halifax Gateway. 

Building on growth in 2012, and with improved global economic conditions, Halifax’s gateway should be well-positioned into the future. 


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