Port of Halifax Annual Report 2021

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Annual Report 2021

Port of Halifax

Message from the CEO

Reconnect, reopen, rebuild. Despite the turbulent waters of the ongoing pandemic, one fact remains – Halifax is a port city, and will always be a port city.

Our cargo business proved its resilience in the face of challenging global conditions, resulting in a strong year overall. In May, we first welcomed the largest container vessel to call on any Canadian port, the CMA CGM Marco Polo. In fact, Halifax received a record 35 Ultra-Class Container Vessels (UCCV) in 2021.

We expanded our global reach when the world’s largest shipping line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) started calling on the Port of Halifax. This led to Canada’s first direct connection with India through MSC Indus 2 service, which started in September.

The Halifax Seaport District has been reimagined. In early 2021, it was announced that the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market would be returning to a weekend-only experience and would operate out of Pavilion 22 in the winter months. This proved to be a successful move for both vendors and customers. In September, we found out the Cunard Centre would no longer operate as an event space, a hard decision brought on by the pandemic. Moving the Farmers’ Market to a new permanent location inside a portion of the former Cunard Centre space is now underway.

At the same time, our innovation lab for the supply chain sector, The PIER at the Seaport, was designed, developed, and launched. PIER is an acronym for Port Innovation, Engagement & Research, and it is both a physical and virtual space where supply chain partners can work alongside innovators, tech companies and leading research groups to grow together, to develop new ways of doing things, and to find solutions to challenging problems.

We continue to introduce cutting-edge systems to establish our position as a digital leader in the transportation sector. We implemented PortControl, a digital port operating system that will improve safety, security, efficiency, reliability, and our environmental impact. Our focus on the environment remains top-of-mind. As part of our commitment, we initiated a sustainability survey and identified six United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSTG) which will be used for future planning and operations. We are finalizing plans for a rail-based solution that will reduce the number of port-related container trucks in downtown Halifax, leading to environmental benefits and improved sustainability.

The Port of Halifax is governed by our guiding principles, which influence everything that we do – Be One Port City; Collaborative and Engaged; Future Focused; Sustainable; Trusted Partner. As a major economic driver, the Port has a responsibility to align our day-to-day business with our values which include our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We are a proud part of our community, and we look forward to walking together toward a brighter future. We are One Port City.

Captain Allan Gray,
President and CEO

We are a proud part of our community, and we look forward to walking together toward a brighter future.

Port of Halifax

Message from the Chair


We saw the port community adapt, overcome, and persevere through challenging times, delivering strong results.

The people, organizations and partners that make up the Port of Halifax worked incredibly hard to ensure operations continued to run smoothly during a second year of unprecedented global upheaval and uncertainty. We cannot overstate the invaluable work of our entire port community these past two years, maintaining a sense of normalcy and stability, and delivering solid results.

We saw the port community adapt, overcome, and persevere during this second year of COVID-19, resulting in a very busy year. Our cargo business was remarkably strong in the first half of 2021, and despite supply chain challenges and a slight dip in cargo volume in the third quarter, the Port of Halifax experienced the highest container volume year to date with 595,751 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEU, moving through the terminals. A milestone year would not have been possible without the concerted efforts of the terminal operators, ILA workforce, CN, marine pilots, tugs, shipping lines, and the entire port community.

The latest economic impact results highlight the importance of port operations and Nova Scotia exporters on the regional economy. In 2021, the total impact of the Port of Halifax on the Province of Nova Scotia was $4.37 billion in economic output with the direct portion being $2.72 billion. This level of activity generated direct and spin-off positive impacts of $2.22 billion in GDP, $1.42 billion in labour income and over 22,400 jobs. When other province’s impacts are added to the Nova Scotia impacts, the 2021 total direct and spin-off Canada-wide impacts of the Port of Halifax exceed $5.97 billion in economic output, $3.11 billion in GDP and over 30,475 jobs with labour income of $1.93 billion.

As we learn to live with COVID-19 and regain some of the simple pleasures that we once took for granted like the ability to connect in person and greet each other with a smile, we look forward to welcoming the cruise industry back to our region. Last year was the second year in a row that the industry was placed on hold, and now, the Port of Halifax is ready to come back strong. Nova Scotia is a place that people want to visit, and the cruise lines want to come here. Halifax remains a safe, welcoming destination with natural beauty and authentic experiences to offer. Safety for the local community and those working in the industry is first and foremost for all involved. We are working closely with Transport Canada, Public Health, and the cruise lines on robust health protocols.

As we move forward, we are focused on sharing this tremendous resource that is the Port of Halifax more broadly, and we are taking steps to ensure people from all walks of life and from all different backgrounds see themselves reflected in what we do and know there is a place for them within the Port of Halifax.

Thomas J. Hayes,
Board Chair

Port of Halifax