Nova Scotia

Terminal gambles on giant cranes for more big work

The CEO of the Halterm container terminal in Halifax says he hopes two giant cranes will give the underused pier a big boost.
Halterm container terminal CEo Ashley Dinning next to one of the port's new cranes. (CBC)

The CEO of the Halterm container terminal in Halifax says he hopes two giant cranes will give the underused pier a big boost.

The two cranes sailed in from China last week. One has already been removed from the boat, and the second is scheduled to be off soon.

"This is really simple stuff," said Ashley Dinning.

The $20-million cranes will be used to handle super post-Panamax ship containers in about five weeks.

Dinning said shipping the cranes — worth about $10 million a piece — gives Halifax a chance to compete in the global container market.  

"They are certainly the largest in East Coast Canada. It’s fully expected that east coast North America is going to see an influx of larger ships coming into this part of the world. We want them to call Halifax and to call Halterm in particular," he said.

The cranes can reach across the largest ships in the world, snatching a container off the deck and slipping it on to a train or truck. Dinning said the old cranes don't have that kind of reach.

The terminal CEO said he hopes larger ships will now see Halifax as an alternative to New York.

"Ships want to come into a port and they want to turn around quickly," he said.

Halterm is operating at about 20 per cent capacity. Dinning said he wants to increase that by at least three fold over the coming years.

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