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Soybean: A Growing Gateway Export

The soybean "Super Food" has become an important crop for Atlantic Canadian farmers. Soybean exports from the Port of Halifax have grown substantially in recent years...a trend that is expected to continue.


Port-logo-web As the world population grows, so does demand for food and animal feed. This makes the healthy, protein-packed soybean a strategic commodity and the Halifax Gateway a strategic location to get them to market. “It’s great for our growers here because they can get their soybeans into the substantial trading blocks of both the EU and Asia with direct service out of Halifax,” says Patrick Bohan, director of supply chain solutions at the Port of Halifax. 

Soybean - Blueberry Image

From blueberries to potatoes, farmers across, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick are known for their high quality food exports. Adding soybeans into Halifax’s established distribution channels is a natural connection to global markets. 

With modern facilities like the Halifax Grain Elevator Ltd. at the Port of Halifax, the Halifax Gateway offers an efficient supply chain; ensuring export buyers are able to source the quantity and highest quality of soybeans they need.

The Halifax Grain Elevator is massive and can hold up to 140,000 metric tonnes. It is capable of topping up and loading everything from Panamax-sized vessels holding 60,000 tonnes of soybeans, to 20-foot containers holding 25 tonnes for customers interested in smaller lots.

      Grain Elevator

“Halifax Grain’s portside 20-foot container loader allows shippers to put maximum weight into the container,” says Mr. Bohan, adding that a steady supply of 20-foot containers is readily available at the Port of Halifax.

Even more remarkable are the Halifax Grain Elevator’s 365 segregation bins. “This gives the complex capability to segment hundreds of unique shipments if required to cater to a variety of producers, traders and unique market opportunities,” says Mr. Bohan.

A range of market access options are available through Halifax. On the container side, we have “source loaders" who are exporting food grade, non-gmo, identity preserved beans through the port on a daily basis. Their premium product is in high demand in Far East markets like Japan.

While a portion of soybeans are made into tofu, soy milk and edamame beans, the bulk of soybean crops are crushed to make oil and meal for animal feed. Growth in these soybean exports over Halifax has been exponential, with the largest volumes coming out of PEI. This is because soybeans have become a crucial part of crop rotation throughout the potato industry in the Maritimes.

Last year almost $20M of soybeans were exported through Halifax. That’s nearly 40,000 tonnes and exports are expected to surge even further in 2015.