NSBI pays $1 million to expand Port of Sheet Harbour

·3 min read

SHEET HARBOUR – To support the planned expansion of the Port of Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) is buying 110 acres of land, adjacent to the terminal on Highway 7, from Tusket Mining Inc.

The $1.1 million deal, announced late last month, will “support future growth, to be based on future business case evaluations,” said NSBI Director of Communications & Public Affairs Shawn Hirtle in an email to The Journal last week.

He would not comment on how the former Tusket land would be used specifically, but noted that “NSBI’s efforts are focused on maximizing use of the facility, such as increasing cargo volume through the wharf and attracting business to the adjacent industrial park.”

According to the NSBI press release, the deal is “an investment in a strategic and rural-community asset located along the province’s Eastern Shore. The purchase will expand the size of the port’s existing upper storage yard from 33 acres to 143 acres. The additional property will allow more flexibility for all clients using the port.”

Hirtle added that the purchase was one of the recommendations in the 2020 master plan for the Port of Sheet Harbour, which was designed to “provide guidance” and refocus NSBI’s attention on “improvements that will support furture growth” there.

According to the plan, the recommendation was to purchase 50 acres from Tusket (the operating group for Knaff Group of Germany) for room to build “a much-needed access road with a minimized grade for moving very large products (300 to 3,000 tonnes) … The remainder of the property acquisition would be strategic for the future expansion of the site and designated for bulk material handling.”

The additional 60 acres, Hirtle explained, will “ensure that we have … acreage for more flexibility required for large components, and buffer space that would be in our control, and [adhere] to provincial land use laws and regulations.”

In March, after a year-long search, NSBI selected Quebec-based QSL International Ltd. as the port’s marine terminal operator. The company – which operates across North America, including Atlantic Canada – took over immediately from the Halifax Port Authority, which chose not to renew its 10-year deal with NSBI last year.

At the time, NSBI spokesperson Jess Hawkes told The Journal, “In the selection process, QSL highlighted their record of developing ports based on a port’s unique advantages. [The company] demonstrated a good balance between existing users and new users, and committed to diversifying the port’s cargo.”

In an email last week, QSL Vice President of Strategy and Public Affairs Claudine Couture-Trudel said that, while her company was “not involved in the purchase transaction, we are in support of NSBI’s effort in expanding the port land in order to optimize the positioning for growth.”

Said Hirtle: “The Port of Sheet Harbour is capable of handling multiple configurations of breakbulk and special project cargo, its capabilities include, but are not limited to: Aggregates and dry bulk projects; scrap metal, neobulk marshaling and load out; fabrication modules, including construction equipment and heavy lift project cargo; pipes and tubulars; power generation, boilers and transformers; and wind turbines.”

He noted that NSBI, QSL, and Sheet Harbour are all “focused on generating more economic activity, attracting new investment and creating export-focused jobs.”

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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