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Inland shipping terminal to be built in Nova Scotia


A new hundred-million dollar project is looking to bring an inland rail terminal to Central Nova Scotia, as well as cut traffic in downtown Halifax.

“We have partnered with Millbrook to purchase the land from this other entity, from ScotiaPort, and operate on those lands,” says Clayton Jones, the Canadian Rail Equipment Works and Services (CREWS) president and CEO.

The We’kopekitk inland shipping terminal will be built on a 2300-acre site near the town of Onslow, Nova Scotia. A container terminal, warehousing and distribution park are also part of the plans.

“It is our goal to bolster the supply chain in eastern Canada, where a lot of commodities are still trucked into eastern Canada,” Jones says.

Some of that truck traffic consistently rumbles through the narrow streets of downtown Halifax, this development could change that.

“If we can move more out by rail then we reduce the number of trucks that are coming to the downtown core, so that’s a big win,” says Capt. Allan Gray, the president and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority.

The track will be 4.2 km long. As large as this site is, there’s already talk about the potential for its growth beyond the original plan.

“Anyone who’s in the art of designing land terminals would be drooling over the opportunity that Millbrook has put on the table here with CREWS because it’s unusual to get that much land and such a long siding,” Capt. Gray says.

The terminal will be comparable in size and scope to CREWS’s Johnstown facility near the Canada/U.S. border which offers storage, switching, trans-loading and other freight services for up to 1,000 railcars.

Key stakeholders are welcoming the We’kopekitk Inland Terminal Development.

“Facilities such as We’kopekitk terminal are aligned with CN’s objective to ensure resiliency and fluidity for the supply chain,” said Doug MacDonald, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at CN.

A minimum of 300 jobs are expected, some going to the Millbrook First Nation.

“Millbrook is keenly interested in the employment opportunities and the contract opportunities that will be available.” says the executive director, Claire Marshall.

We’kopekitk in Mi’kmaq means “end of the water’s flow” which European settlers would later phonetically anglicize to Cobequid. This traditional territory where the Cobequid Bay branches into the Shubenacadie and Salmon Rivers provided an efficient and instrumental means for subsistence and transportation for the Mi’kmaq people for thousands of years.

“We felt We’kopekitk was a meaningful name for this inland terminal which will see rail cars carrying international goods and products transferred to this streamlined facility for processing and forwarding,” said Chief Bob Gloade. “Just as our ancestors used this area as a significant corridor for everyday life and survival, so too will our present-day community impact the whole of Turtle Island with this integral infrastructure development.”

The next step is to begin work on the finer details of the $100 million development like site, investigations, and environment assessments.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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