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Port of Halifax's Q3 2010 Activity

Tue October 19, 2010

Statistics Snapshot:

  • Steady growth in cargo volumes continued this quarter
  • Containerized cargo grew 34% over the first nine months of the year
  • Containerized import growth outpaced exports
  • Containerized growth attributed to new shipping lines, more frequent port calls and more cargo with existing lines, plus expanded trade routes
  • Breakbulk cargo (e.g.: machinery and forest products) up 13.5% this year-to-date (y-t-d)
  • Bulk cargo (e.g.: oil import and gypsum exports) down 14.5% y-t-d
  • Ro/Ro cargo (e.g.: automobiles) up 19.9% y-t-d
  • Cruise passenger count up over 22% y-t-d


The Port of Halifax’s cargo throughput has maintained a positive trend as the North American economy recovers from the recession. Every cargo category (bulk, containerized, breakbulk and roll-on/roll-off) realized growth this quarter compared to the third quarter of 2009.

Containerized cargo volumes (measured in Twenty-foot Equivalent Units - TEUs) continued to grow with a 33.5% gain versus the same quarter last year. The growth rate in imports (46.5%) outpaced the growth rate of containerized exports (22.9%) in Q3.

While steady growth in the containerized cargo sector continues as the world economy recovers from the global economic downturn, pre-recession record cargo throughput levels at North American ports will not likely be seen until 2014, as observed by Mercator International LLC, a leading marine transportation consulting firm.

Port-wide Cargo Analysis

(Includes Halifax Port Authority-administered facilities and non-HPA private facilities. HPA facilities currently handle containerized, breakbulk, cruise and limited ro/ro and bulk cargo.)


Breakbulk cargo increased by 12.7% in the third quarter of 2010 compared to Q3 2009. Total breakbulk cargo was 31,908 MT for Q3. The increase is primarily attributable to an increase in machinery imports and forest products exports.


Bulk cargo at private port facilities for the first nine months of 2010 lagged behind the same period last year by 14.5%. This was primarily due to the continuing slow economic recovery in the U.S. which impacts bulk exports (e.g.: gypsum) and bulk imports (e.g.: oil).


The port imported 60,537 TEUs and exported 62,155 TEUs in the third quarter which, combined, increases the port’s containerized cargo throughput for Q3 by 33.5% compared to the same quarter last year. Total containerized throughput for the quarter measured 122,692 TEUs versus 91,879 TEUs in Q3 2009.

Roll on/Roll off

Ro/Ro cargo increased by 16.2% to 74,459 MT in Q3 2010, as compared to the same quarter in 2009. This was due to an increase in automobile imports and exports through the port.


The 2010 cruise season began on April 27th and concludes on October 30th. Over 250,000 passengers are expected aboard 130 vessels (ship schedules subject to change, e.g.: weather). In 2009 Halifax had 118 cruise vessels with 227,797 passengers on board.

More details available on Port of Halifax statistics

Media Inquiries

Members of the media with inquiries about the Halifax Gateway can contact:

Nancy Phillips
Executive Director

(902) 490-6003