Nova Scotia

Halifax airport adds cargo space to keep up with lucrative lobster exports

Halifax's airport has upgraded its facilities to help speed the growing shipments of live lobsters exported around the world.

17,000 square metres of space added to airport cargo area to load $15M of Atlantic lobster

Live lobster exports from the U.S. and Canada are estimated at $200 million a year. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Halifax's airport has upgraded its facilities to help speed the growing shipments of live lobsters that are exported around the world.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport has added 17,000 square metres of space for cargo aircraft to load an anticipated $15 million in Atlantic lobster scheduled to be shipped by the end of the month.

Bert van der Stege, vice president of business development and chief commercial officer for the Halifax International Airport Authority, says Christmas is the busiest time of year for lobster and seafood exports at the airport.

The value of lobster and other seafood exports shipped through the airport totalled $149 million overall last year.

From Halifax to Asia in 24 hours

Van der Stege says the airport's new parking and loading area will allow for the prompt transport of seafood products in a very time-sensitive business, with customers as far away as Europe, Asia and the Middle East preferring to receive their lobsters within 24 hours of leaving Halifax.

He says the roughly $5-million investment will pay for itself in attracting new cargo operators to the Halifax airport, which saw $447 million worth of exports pass through its hangars in 2015, about a 20-per cent increase from the year before largely thanks to an additional $57 million in lobster and seafood exports.

Van de Stege says the cargo pad will be a boon to Nova Scotia's economy, with each cargo flight that departs from Halifax airport generating approximately $1 million in exports for the province.

According to federal government figures, Canada exported 82,700 metric tonnes of lobster in 2015, totalling $2.03 billion in revenue.