Massport’s cargo operations gain speed
August 23, 2011
Since the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) first announced a new weekly cargo service connecting Boston with Halifax, Nova Scotia last June, shippers have been keen on learning more about the “New England-Halifax Shuttle.”
In an exclusive interview with LM, port officials said it has exceeded their expectations.
“Working with a cross-border mega-port like Halifax has been very interesting,” said Mike Leone, Massport’s Executive Port director. “We compliment one another in a number of ways, and we are both attracting new business.”
According to Leone, a regional marketing strategy may also be put into place before too long, as well.
“It’s something ports in the Puget Sound and San Francisco Bay Area have been trying,” he said. “It certainly will be top of mind when the American Association of Port Authorities meets for their annual conference next month.”
While still regarded as a “niche” ocean cargo gateway, the Port of Boston is a vital economic engine for New England, and container activity at Conley Terminal is likely to grow as an increasing number of larger ships head toward East Coast ports through the Suez Canal and from the Panama Canal once its expansion is complete.
To keep pace with this future demand Massport is investing millions in the container terminal. Over the last several years more than $70 million was spent to upgrade and expand the yard configuration. New machinery was added, and Massport purchased an adjacent 30-acre parcel of land for future container operations. Recently, an enhanced computerized terminal operating system was implemented, and plans are also underway for a dedicated truck route and terminal buffer.
“The New England-Halifax Shuttle is great news for Boston and provides New England shippers with a vital connection to Eastern Canada’s main cargo transfer hub,” said Leone. “The new service also demonstrates that the $70 million Massport has invested in terminal infrastructure over the last few years has dramatically improved our efficiency and competiveness.”
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