A total of 34,051 tonnes of cargo was processed at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, in 2017, an increase of 2.2 per cent over the record set the previous year, according to airport management in a news release Thursday.
The increased cargo volume recorded last year represents the fourth consecutive year of cargo volume growth at Halifax Stanfield, according to the Halifax International Airport Authority in its news release.
“The Canadian dollar value of cargo exports was close to $446 million, up 10.2 per cent over the previous year, an increase of over $41 million,”management stated. “High demand, high value seafood products, including Nova Scotia’s world-famous lobster, account for approximately half of the value of all exports shipped valued at $220 million.”
Bert van der Stege, the airport authority’s chief commercial officer, was quoted in the release suggesting the recently ratified Canada/Europe Trade Agreement will likely mean that demand for Nova Scotia seafood continues to grow in Europe.
“We also continue to see strong growth in Asia, particularly for live lobster exports,” van der Stege said in the release. “In fact, China is our top market for live Nova Scotia lobster, with the volume of exports to this country increasing by 63 per cent over the previous year, double the average growth of all export destination countries.”
Other high value commodities shipped from Halifax Stanfield include industrial machinery, aircraft and spacecraft parts, optic, photo, medical and surgical instruments, electrical machinery, and pharmaceutical products.
Continued demand for exports from the region, particularly those of a time- sensitive nature -- including fresh seafood product --will require further investment in the airport’s facilities, according to the airport authority in its news release.
“Our role as an airport authority is to facilitate the efficient and timely transportation of our region’s exports to global markets,” van der Stege said. “When you consider that every Boeing 777
freighter that departs our airport contributes $1.5 million to our local economy, we realize the important role we play as an economic enabler for our region’s growth.”
Last fall, a funding application was submitted by airport authority to the federal government under the National Trade Corridors Fund. If successful, the financial support will allow the airport to continue its growth and support of the cargo logistics chain through the development of a proposed Air Cargo Logistics Park.
If realized, the project will create jobs, enhance transportation infrastructure, improve cargo handling, increase trade, and expand international capacity to foster exports.
Located beside the existing cargo facility, the new Halifax Stanfield Air Cargo Logistics Park would include expanded facilities for ground handling and warehousing services as well as additional space for aircraft parking.
The airport authority’s plan calls for it to work with a private land developer to develop about 10 hectares of new, fully-serviced airside lands.