Proposed container terminal on Strait of Canso gets deadline extension
The Nova Scotia government has given the proponents of a container terminal in the Strait of Canso another two years to get their project off the ground.
According to the most recent deadline extension, the province is giving Melford International Terminal Inc. until October 2024 to start construction on the $350-million project that has been under consideration for 15 years along the coast in Guysborough County.
The deadline extension is a routine part of working in the global shipping industry, said Richie Mann, the company's vice-president of marketing.
Still, the project is getting closer to launching before the October 2024 deadline, he said.
"The start of construction has never been truly defined, but is it realistic? Absolutely," Mann said. "We are still proceeding with the project. The development is still in the works."
The deadline is part of an agreement struck after the province sold some land to the Melford proponents, subject to several conditions.
Latest in a series of delays
Mann said previous delays have been due to worldwide shipping conditions, but lately the indicators have been moving in Melford's favour.
Trade routes are shifting from the Pacific to the Atlantic and some West Coast ports are suffering from congestion.
The result has been an overall increase in East Coast shipping volumes, Mann said.
But the decision to begin building a terminal means looking ahead 75 to 100 years, rather than basing it on a snapshot of the current business climate, he said.
"It's looking at economic forecasts, it's looking at trends and it's looking at partners who have the same vision and who are willing to make investments and we're optimistic ... that the time is good and that this project will proceed."
Mann said he is convinced construction of the terminal will start before the latest deadline expires.
"The proponents of this project and obviously the investors who have continued to fund our progress and our operations have never lost their belief that this project makes a lot of sense, that it can be beneficial to Canada, particularly East Coast Canada, and that it's sustainable and it addresses a lot of the changing demographics in the shipping industries," he said.
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