Shipping article(s)
June 8, 2016

Officials at the Port of Sydney, Nova Scotia, expect to make an announcement this year regarding construction of a major, ultra-modern container terminal.


In February, the port made a rebranding announcement for the proposed project that is now being called Novaporte. Its planned adjacent logistics park will be called Novazone. Over 800 hectares have been set aside for the project, which includes a greenfield site for the proposed terminal.   Both Novaporte and Novazone will operate within a recognized foreign trade zone.


The harbour is dredged down 16.5 meters and can accommodate even the largest ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs). The goal of the terminal is to host ULCVs with capacities of 16,000 TEUs and up. Vessels of this size are not yet sailing on North Atlantic trade routes or on routes between the North American East Coast and Asia.


“When completed, Novaporte will be the most modern, efficient, lowest-cost and greenest port in North America,” said Port of Sydney’s CEO Marlene Usher.


Abraham Somavarapha, the port’s business development manager, told Asia Cargo News that there is demand for a port on the east coast of North America that has the necessary handling capacity for ULCVs.


Port officials say that Novaporte will be distinctly different from other large competing seaports on the Canadian and US East Coasts. “Most ports are located around dense urban populations and congestion,” says Somavarapha. “Our port is a new build with 500 acres connected to rail and highway in an uncongested setting.”


Usher adds that the rebranding differentiates the container project from other projects at the Port of Sydney.


Canadian development company Canderel is partnering with Harbour Port Development on the project. Canderel’s chairman and CEO Jonathan Wener said that “Novaporte and its adjacent logistics park promise to change transportation patterns in eastern North America. This is an exciting opportunity for Canada to play a decisive role in international trade.”


Port officials are targeting the port terminal to China and say they have been in touch with major Asian players. The terminal project, which is contingent on a feasibility study being undertaken by the Chinese Communications Construction Company, is expected to cost in excess of C$1 billion (US$763.5 million).


“Harbor Port Development Partners, a private consortium that handles the international marketing of our project, have positioned it to be consistent with the One Belt, One Road strategy,” Somavarapha says.


Somavarapha emphasizes that Novaporte should thus be of interest to Chinese shippers and steamship lines with rotations to/from China and Asia. “Sydney is the first port of call off the great circle route,” he explains. “The terminal will be a hub for ULCVs to serve Canada and the eastern United States.”


Self Photos / Files - Technical feasibility study gets funding Novaporte


Of added interest, in December 2015, the mayors of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the City of Dalian, Liaoning Province, signed a memorandum of understanding for an official sister-city relationship between the two regions and port cities.


Like Sydney, Dalian is a port city. It boasts the largest ice-free harbour in northern China and is one of the most modern ports in the world. It is the second-largest transhipment hub in China and processes more than 10 million containers a year.


This announcement will open the door to commercial, cultural and educational exchanges. A cultural and trade delegation from Dalian will be visiting Cape Breton from Dalian this month. In the meantime, working teams will be established to identify practical opportunities for the two regions to cooperate in educational and commercial undertakings. The focus of these efforts will include educational exchanges, tourism, port development, mineral extraction and fisheries.



By Karen E. Thuermer

Correspondent | Washington

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