Port of Halifax Annual Report 2021

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Annual Report 2021



Marine and Land Operations

The Port of Halifax is one of the largest, naturally deep, ice-free harbours in the
world. As a Canadian Port Authority, our role is to manage the assets of the crown through revenue generation and re-investment in infrastructure.

So, what are those assets? We oversee 265 acres of land and all adjacent federal waters. Our navigation jurisdiction extends from the harbour limit line, northeast through the harbour, past the narrows and into the deep-water confines of Bedford Basin, and includes the Northwest Arm.

The assets we manage and services we provide are many and varied. They include everything from land, water, cargo and cruise facilities, procedures for the safe management of vessel movements throughout these waters, vessel scheduling and berthing allocation for those facilities, vessel mooring in the outer harbour, narrows, and Bedford Basin, dangerous good approvals, incident response and emergency management, and customer information and advice. As Canada’s Ultra Atlantic Gateway and a regional economic engine, we work with partners throughout the city, and around the world to keep our economy moving and our community employed.

Port of Halifax


Operator: PSA Halifax

Terminal Size: 76.5 acres / 31 hectares

Pier Length: 800 metres / 2,625 feet

Throughput Capacity: 550,000 TEU

Cargo Capacity: Container, Ro-Ro, Breakbulk & Heavy Lift

Port of Halifax


Operator: PSA Halifax (formerly Ceres Halifax)

Terminal Size: 70 acres / 28.3 hectares

Pier Length: 700 metres / 2,207 feet

Throughput Capacity: 650,000 TEU

Cargo Capacity: Container, Ro-Ro, Breakbulk & Heavy Lift

Port of Halifax

Richmond Terminals

Operator: HPA

Terminal Size: 4 berths totaling 1,200 metres / 4,000 feet in length

Cargo Capacity: Ro-Ro, CDC, Container, Break-Bulk, Offshore, Project Cargo & Refined Petroleum Products, Fiber Optic Cable Facilities


Port of Halifax


Operator: HPA

Terminal Size: 2 finger piers that are 381 metres / 1,250 feet in length

Cargo Capacity: Ro-Ro, CDC, Container, Break-Bulk, Passenger, Offshore & Project Cargo


Port Operations Performance


2021 total economic impact on the Province was over

Port of Halifax

Gate truck wait and service time: less than





Average days-on-dock

Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax

Digitization is transforming the global shipping industry; the Port of Halifax is working  to become the most digitized and efficient port on the Eastern seaboard.

One of the ways we’re pursuing digital transformation is through our Port Operations Centre. It is a one-stop shop to find live information on the Port’s fluidity and efficiency. Rail Dwell, Truck Gate and Turnaround Time, Truck Fluidity, and Vessel Forecast Summary are some of the tools we use to create efficiency, reliability and transparency in our operations.

Another very important tool is PortControl, a digital port operating system developed by Saab.



When you consider the number of ships that pass through Halifax Harbour every day, and contemplate all the people who work on those ships and at the terminals where they dock, the cargo that is loaded and unloaded, the visitors who arrive in town on cruise ships, and the support industries that facilitate and supply all of that activity, you start to get an idea of the complexity of the comings and goings at the Port of Halifax. The volume of information involved in the business associated with our Port is staggering.

In 2021, the Halifax Port Authority prepared for the implementation of PortControl, a digital port operating system that is revolutionizing the way we use the data associated with our operations. It is all a part of HPA’s path to digital transformation. PortControl is helping us move our systems from paper-based processes – still very common throughout the shipping industry – to real-time digitized processes for operational activities such as financial processing and accurate invoicing, arrivals and departures, management of containers and other cargo, wait times, terminal turn times, projected container dwell, and the handling of dangerous goods.

PortControl provides a single source of accurate information in a standardized platform for all users, streamlining processes, improving efficiency, and significantly reducing human error. PortControl gives users instant access to real-time information, as well as historic performance information.

Derrick Whalen, Director of Information and Technology Services compares the impact of this step to the shift when went from using stationary landline telephones to mobile smartphones. In other words, it’s a giant leap forward. “Technology helps us share information, collaborate more effectively, and use data to make better decisions.” According to Whalen, “digitization is another tool to grow business.”

Captain Allan Gray, President & CEO of Halifax Port Authority agrees. “PortControl will increase our efficiency, and reliability, and give us more streamlined coordination. It is one single transparent source of secure information that everybody can see. That should result in reduced delays and reduced costs for everybody. If the supply chain becomes more reliable, efficient and transparent, costs start to go down. Everybody will get benefit from it, and ultimately the end consumer should see an overall reduction (in costs).”

Technology helps us share information, collaborate more effectively, and use data to make better decisions.

Derrick Whalen,
Director of Information and Technology Services

Port of Halifax

PortControl gives us accurate data in a more timely and efficient manner. That data then gets shared so everybody has access to it, including the mega-ship enthusiast who wants to know when the next UCCV (Ultra Class Container Vessel) will come into port.

Port of Halifax

Health and Safety


Health and safety is HPA’s first priority and will not be compromised for the sake of business interests or operational expediency.

Our first priority at the Halifax Port Authority is the health and safety of everyone who steps foot on the properties we manage. We take our obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment for employees, contractors, suppliers, service providers and visitors very seriously, and expect them to do the same.

HPA believes that occupational injuries and illness are preventable. We have many systems in place to ensure our people are properly equipped and fully trained in all aspects of health and safety related to their duties. Safety training, the proper use of personal protective equipment, adherence to HPA contractor safety checklists, site safety orientations, training in emergency protocols, relevant and up-to-date equipment inspection records, recognized certifications and licences are among the processes and procedures we have in place. We meet or exceed the requirements of all applicable legislation and regulations and require the same of the contractors we engage. Our objective is to eliminate foreseeable hazards and maintain a safe and healthy work environment by integrating health and safety into all aspects of our organization.

In 2021 was a very safe year at Halifax Port Authority with no disabling injuries for the second consecutive year. Other incident occurrences were significantly down from last year as well – a testament to the culture of health and safety we have created at the Port.


HPA Injuries

Disabling 0
Minor 0
HPA Near Misses 3
Contractor Occurrences 4
Vendor/Public Occurrences 4
Terminal 6


(calculated based on 1 million hours worked)


HPA’s average since 1997



HPA 2021





The geographic phenomenon that is the Port of Halifax has a long history of importance to the region, and the province of Nova Scotia. It is the hub around which all Halifax Port Authority operations revolve. Our commitment to environmental protection and sustainability is deeply rooted in our commitment to this port, and the protection of the communities where we live and work.

To help fulfill this commitment, the Halifax Port Authority has implemented an Environmental Management System that applies to all of our operations and it has been certified to the international standard for environmental management systems ISO 14001. The Port of Halifax was the first port in Canada to achieve ISO 14001 certification.

Another demonstration of that commitment is our participation in Green Marine.

The Halifax Port Authority has been a participant in Green Marine since 2011. The cornerstone of the initiative is its far-reaching environmental program, which makes it possible for any marine company operating in Canada or the US to reduce its environmental footprint by undertaking concrete and measurable actions against specific benchmarks.

In 2020 (the most current results available), HPA received an average score of 4.3, placing our organization in a leadership position among ports across Canada and the US. The average score for participating ports across all applicable areas during that same reporting year was 2.9.

Green Marine is an environmental certification program for the North American marine industry. It is a voluntary, transparent and inclusive initiative that addresses key environmental issues and aims to exceed regulatory requirements. Participants are ship owners, ports, terminals, Seaway corporations and shipyards from coast to coast, in Canada and the United States

HPA 2021 Green Marine Results

Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax

Compliance, Policies, & Procedures


The HPA is committed to environmental stewardship and to the development of best practices for the protection of the community and its local habitat. We do this through the following policies and procedures:

Environmental Compliance Audits

GHG Emissions Reduction Targets

The Government of Canada’s Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which became law in 2021, enshrines in legislation Canada’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Act ensures transparency and accountability as the government works to deliver on its targets. To align with the Government of Canada’s targets and commit to aggressive climate mitigation efforts, the HPA has set the following Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets:

  • 40% reduction in Scope 1 and
    Scope 2 GHG emissions by 2030
    (from the 2018 baseline)
  • 100% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope
    2 GHG emissions by 2050 (Net Zero)

GHG Emissions Intensity

To track how we are doing compared to our Emissions Reduction Plan and GHG Emissions Targets, we report our annual GHG emissions intensity. Two sources are considered: direct emissions and indirect emissions (from purchased electricity or district heating systems). These sources are used to calculate our total GHG emissions. As a port authority, we define our GHG emissions intensity based on the annual cargo moving through the Port (throughput).

Our annual throughput, total GHG emissions, and GHG emissions intensity is as follows:

2018 2020
Annual Throughput (tonnes) 4,769,550 4,902,894
C02e Totals (kilograms) 4,031,875 3,523,970
Intensity (g C02e/tonne) 845 719

GHG Reduction – 12.6%

GHG/Tonne Reduction – 14.9%

The HPA is committed to the following to support our GHG emissions reduction targets:

  • Following the Science Based Target Net-Zero Standard commitment and associated auditing process.
  • Investing in planning and regional collaboration. Considering operational changes, including the way in which infrastructure is built and maintained.
  • Acknowledging that further innovation and investment in a sustainability mindset is required.
  • Measuring and reducing Scope 3 GHG emissions.
  • Continuing to reassess the scope of our GHG emissions reduction targets.

Annual GHG Emissions Inventory

A Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory associated with the HPA’s activities is completed annually. Emissions are calculated using the Transport Canada Port Emissions Inventory Tool (PEIT). The tool is consistent with Environmental Protection Agency emissions model MOVES 2014a (for on road and off-road equipment), and accounts for current marine fuel sulphur content limits required by Canadian law (including the North American Emission Control Area).

The five source groups are included in PEIT:

  • Operational electricity consumption (administrative building and maintenance shop heating and electricity consumption).
  • Cargo Handling Equipment (forklifts, cranes, etc.).
  • Marine Vessels (harbour vessels and commercial ocean-going vessels).
  • On-road Vehicles (facility trucks and highway vehicles).
  • Rail (facility locomotives and national rail providers).

Atlantic Hydrogen Alliance

The HPA is part of the Atlantic Hydrogen Alliance, which was created to support the development of an economically viable clean hydrogen value chain that will help the transition to a prosperous low-carbon economy in Atlantic Canada and support our climate change reduction goals.


Truck Marshaling Yard & Port Operations Centre

Each container terminal has been outfitted with a truck marshaling yard to reduce traffic and associated idling. In addition, terminal traffic is monitored and wait times are posted to our online Port Operations Centre (POC). The information is provided publicly to help reduce congestion and GHG emissions.


Vehicle Emissions Reduction Initiatives

The HPA has a Nissan LEAF SL which is operated by the Port’s high-mileage drivers. The Nissan LEAF produces no tailpipe emissions, has a range of 160 kilometres, and requires only $3 of electricity per 100 kilometres. The HPA has two dual electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on the property that are currently available for public use, free of charge.

Port of Halifax


In the 21st century, a sustainable organization is one that looks at the needs of its constituents today, but also considers what those needs will look like decades from now.

The Halifax Port Authority is part of a vibrant community with a wide variety of partners, interested parties, and neighbours whose interests alternately overlap and mirror our own. This makes balance another critical component of sustainability. “Sustainability is the balance of all the aspects of community and social well-being, environmental well-being and economic well-being.”, according to Chris MacDonald, Halifax Port Authority’s Director of Environment and Sustainability.

Sustainability is the backbone of the Port’s strategic vision and a key piece of framework for our corporate goals. It applies to the stewardship of our environment. It applies to the business practices we employ when it comes to the diversity and inclusion aspects of hiring, procurement, and supply chain. And to applies to the relationships we build with our employees, our community, and other interested parties.

Sustainability is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development


Sustainability Survey

To support the development of a more robust sustainability framework, an extensive consultation and engagement process was conducted in May of 2021. The goal of this process was to understand the sustainability priorities of our employees, partner organizations, and community members.

One of the outcomes of this process was the development of a framework, linked to the UNSTG Goals (United Nations Sustainability Development Group), that addresses stakeholder interests and supports the growth of our business by incorporating sustainability into port planning and operations. These goals, which were identified by our organization and our constituents, will help us work together to achieve what we all want and need from a sustainable future.

Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax
Port of Halifax

The 2021 sustainability survey respondents included:




HPA employees and directors



partner organizations



community members

Sustainability Report


Work began in 2021 on a new Sustainability Report, our third since 2017. In the intervening years, we’ve gained a more thorough understanding of what organizational sustainability means to HPA, our partners, and our community. The data we compiled from the Sustainability Survey was key to helping us identify our common goals, and make plans for the future. Chris MacDonald is motivated by the goals we’ve set for ourselves. “The 2021 report creates a framework that will help us understand what we have to do, and what areas we need to tackle, not just make plans, but accomplish the goals we’ve set for ourselves. We are building new infrastructure in 2022 and 2023. We’re changing the way we structure certain agreements with port users. We’re looking at different ways of utilizing our real estate.”

Building on our sustainability framework, we updated our Sustainability Policy in 2021. The goal of this policy is to find balance in all that we do by following sustainability best-practices and emphasizing collaborative decision-making. The Policy recognizes that economics, community, and environment are important independently, but must also be considered in an integrated way.

Port of Halifax