Nova Scotia

Shipping line drops Halifax route

A U.S.-based shipping line has dropped Halifax from its ports of call.

Port operating at 33% of capacity

The Halifax to New England run started last summer. (CBC)

A U.S.-based shipping line has dropped Halifax from its ports of call.

American Feeder Lines added the New England-to-Nova Scotia route in July 2011. Nova Scotia announced a $500,000 loan guarantee just three weeks ago, but the company says it wasn't enough to keep it afloat.

The company, which specializes in seafood, stopped in Halifax once a week. Each Tuesday it called at the Ceres Terminal in Fairview and the Halterm Terminal in the south end.

Karen Oldfield, CEO of the Port Authority, said there was no way to keep the service running.

"They have advised us that they are suspending," she said Friday, adding that the seafood market is vital to the city.

"That has always been a very important market especially for some of our seafood exporters, so from a trade point of view, it's a market that we really will work hard to keep open. It's important to us."

The city's port is running at about 33 per cent of its capacity.

Loan withheld

Jeff Larsen, the province's executive director of investment and trade, said the loan guarantee had not been handed out before the line was cut.

"We do have conditions — precedents, terms and conditions — to protect taxpayer money and in this case, those weren't met and the loan guarantee was not advanced," he said.

He said the province would try to bring more business in to replace American Feeder Lines.

"We're very interested in growing trade as a driver of growing the economy and goods jobs," he said.

American Feeder said the volume of cargo had grown in the last nine months, but not fast enough and it continued to lose money.

The company hit a breaking point when two prospective investors backed out last week.