A gentle sea breeze flows in the open doors at Gateway Facilities as a fresh lobster catch is loaded onto a large cargo aircraft, destined for Asia.
A stack of boxes emblazoned with the inimitable lobster is a familiar scene at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in recent years, as the demand for Nova Scotia seafood – particularly live lobster – continues to grow in China, Europe and the United States.
In 2018, Nova Scotia seafood represented a significant portion of the record 36,938 metric tonnes of cargo processed at Halifax Stanfield. An increase of 8.5 per cent over 2017, this marks the fifth consecutive year of cargo volume growth.
“Similar to passenger travel, we continue to see the cargo side of our operations expand, resulting in multiple daily dedicated cargo flights filled with Nova Scotia exports now flying out of Halifax Stanfield,” said Bert van der Stege, Chief Commercial Officer at Halifax International Airport Authority. “We work closely with suppliers, shippers and airlines year-round to enable the global export of goods directly from Nova Scotia to destination markets, meaning more people are able to enjoy our world-class quality seafood and other products.”
In recognition of the increasing global demand for Nova Scotia exports, Halifax Stanfield will begin construction of a new Air Cargo Logistics Park this year that is slated to open in late 2020/early 2021. This new facility will enhance transportation infrastructure; support the flow of goods and improve cargo handling; enhance trade for the province and region; expand international capacity to foster exports; and, create jobs. At a total value of $36 million, Halifax Stanfield was able to move the project forward with funding support from the federal and provincial governments at $18 million and $5 million respectively, in addition to its own investment of $13 million.
Buoyed by the ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), demand for Nova Scotia exports continues to grow in Europe. Carriers such as Cargojet, with its weekly flight from Halifax Stanfield to Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany, moves seafood exports – as well as specialized electronics and machinery – to points in Europe and beyond.
Overall, air cargo exports contribute an impressive $447.1 million to the provincial economy. Live lobster exports and demand for these ocean delicacies continues to flourish, especially in Asia and Europe. Lobster is the largest single commodity shipped by both value and volume, at $215.7 million and 11,495 metric tonnes respectively. Total seafood export value equates to $232 million.
Several other key commodities exported from Halifax Stanfield include specialized electronics/electrical equipment ($70 million) and aerospace-related business (approximately $58 million). Exports account for 36.5 per cent of total cargo volume processed at Halifax Stanfield.
“On behalf of our clients, we specialize in the cargo logistical chain, particularly through load building, warehousing and movement of goods,” said, Doug McRae, Co-owner Gateway Facilities, “Our team is looking forward to continuing this support at Halifax Stanfield now and in future.”
At Halifax Stanfield, air cargo is transported by First Catch, Skylease Cargo, Cargojet, and Korean Air Cargo, along with FedEx, Air Canada, Atlas, Suparna Airlines, WestJet and Qatar Airways, offering connections to China and multiple global destinations.
“The growing air freight cargo lift from Halifax Stanfield is extremely encouraging for Atlantic Canadian companies looking to export internationally,” said Stewart Lamont, Managing Director Tangier Lobster Company. “When it comes to flights, infrastructure and specialized human resources, we now have critical mass and that’s good news for everyone involved.”