SHEET HARBOUR, N.S. — Nova Scotia has quietly renewed a controversial contract with North Atlantic Marine Terminals to manage Sheet Harbour’s port, despite their inability to boost business there.
Eastern Shore MLA Bill Dooks says he is unhappy with efforts to increase traffic and cargo to the port, which barely sees more than a ship a month.
He questioned why North Atlantic Marine, also known as Ceres, would want to renew a contract where it must invest $100,000 a year into the port.
“My concern is, if they are losing money, why are they keeping it?”
Malcolm Swinemar, Ceres vice-president of marketing, says the company is disappointed with the level of traffic to the port, blaming poor highways, heavy duties on steel imports, the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute, and a lack of rail links.
“The situation in Sheet Harbour is very, very frustrating when we look at trying to draw cargo to the port,” he says.
Last year, the port was called on by only 11 vessels and handled 258,791 metric tonnes of cargo.
“I’m still convinced there’s an opportunity there,” says Swinemar. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into it.”
He says the government needs to invest in a better transportation system to give the port a shot at long-term viability.
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