Vancouver Terminal credit Journal of Commerce
"Microeconomics (from Greek prefix micro-meaning “small” + “economics”) is the branch of economics that studies the behaviour of how . . . individual [houses] and [businesses] make decisions to allocate limited resources. . . . [It] examines how these decisions and behaviours affect the supply and demand for goods and services, which determines prices, and how prices, in turn, determine the quantity supplied and quantity demanded for good and services."


We asked ourselves what kind of impact this proposed project will have on the local area as well as the province as a whole. Listed are the figures used from the Environment Assessment registered by Melford-Maher Terminals on July 25th 2008, and approved by the Minister of the Environment Mark Parent on October 23rd 2008.

Microeconomics & Maher-Melford Terminals

According to the Environment Assessment the short term and long term advantages for the surrounding areas are many and great. For starters the surrounding area is comprised of many rural cities and towns, with a population of approximately 45,000 people (down 5,000 from the 1996 census). The largest city in the study area (50 km radius from proposed site) is Port Hawkesbury with a population of roughly 3,500 (down 300 since the 1996 census) and is the industrial and commercial hub of the surrounding area. Other major towns include Canso an old fishing community with a population just over 900 (down 200 from ten years ago) and Mulgrave, a marine service center population 880 (slightly lower from the last census). (Reference needed)

Microeconomics Flow Chart HaperCollege
The proposed Project will consist of the following key components:

• Container Terminal;
• Intermodal Rail Yard;
• Logistics Park;
• Running Track; and
• Security, Customs and Cargo Services.

There will be approximately 3,000 person years of work directly involved with construction of the container terminal. There will also be over 2,000 person years of work indirectly involved. With unemployment high and an experienced workforce in the area Maher-Melford speculates that the employment demand during the construction phase will be short-term and can most likely be filled by the regional labour force and that there are currently no major region construction projects tying up experienced workers, also that in migration will be unlikely due to the short-term work available. (Reference needed)

"The bulk of building material for the project will be generated on the site itself through earth moving and rock removal. Concrete for the wharf elements will come from the concrete plants in Aulds Cove or Point Tupper unless a mobile plant for crushing rock and production of concrete is established on-site. Similarly, a mobile asphalt plant may be temporarily set up and operated on-site." (2)

"Cranes and possibly some other mobile equipment for the wharf will come by ship. Concrete, if not generated on-site, will be transported by truck, as will the local heavy equipment used for earth moving.

It is anticipated that some 80 – 100 truck trips will be required to bring the heavy equipment onto the site. An estimate of concrete truck trips would be in the range of 700 – 800. Various other materials such as rebar, steel stud, drywall, etc. will also be transported by truck, with an estimated trip number of 150 – 200. This results in approximately 930-1100 truck trips over the approximately two year construction period. This number could be reduced if a mobile concrete plant is used." (3)

The Maher-Melford Terminals also proposes to build and strengthen current road and bridge infrastructure to be able to handle the added traffic of larges trucks. Also proposed is an intermodal rail yard which would connect to the existing CN rail lines.
Evolution of the Super Ships source Globalsociologyblog

The Container Terminal will house a new (concrete) marginal wharf 950 M in length for berthing 3 post Panamax (317 M) ships or 2 Super Panamax (475 M), Large capacity for high container volumes, large Gantry cranes, dense container storage and a container storage yard, all using the latest technology available and will cover 77 ha. (Reference needed)

The Logistics Park will be a "multi-use logistics park to allow for integration of rail, truck, trans-load and intermodal rail service with distribution and warehousing including container laydown and handling areas, warehouse facilities and cargo storage . . . facilities." (4) This will cover 140 ha. with expansion plans for an additional 484 ha. logistics and storage yard. Also, "[a]n opportunity to load export cargo into empty containers on the terminal will also be available to local and regional producers. The facility is expected to offer all amenities necessary to accommodate both the import and export trade. The Logistics Park will be designed to offer customers a wide variety of services which translate into considerable advantages and transportation efficiencies, while making a positive economic impact on the surrounding area through new jobs, economic development and future revenues." (5)

The running track or rail will be a single track that will connect to the Mulgrave spur and will comprise of a rail staging yard 4kms from the terminal to connect cars and build trains.

Security, Customs, and Cargo Services will provide one-stop security and customs check in the terminal port and will enable containers to be pre-cleared for direct transit for destinations in the USA and Canada.

Train and Gantner Cranes credit Journal of Commerce
"The construction of the Maher-Melford Terminal is expected to require some 24- 30 months to complete. It is anticipated that construction will commence late in 2008 and will include geotechnical investigation for detailed design, surveying for land acquisition, clearing and site development.

Following these activities, marine work to construct the terminal proper, site development of the rail corridor and site development of the initial phase of the Logistics Park will commence. Work will continue uninterrupted on all elements throughout 2010 with an anticipated completion date of spring 2011.

First priority will be placed on establishing site access and site services (power, water supply, sanitary system)." (Our emphasis) (e.p.6)

"The cost for pre-construction activities is estimated at $10.3 million and includes such tasks as project development, administration, permitting and engineering, marketing and public relations, as well as legal and consulting services. The total costs for all construction work are estimated at $435.0 million: The Terminal ($275 million) requires construction of two main components: . . .

  • The terminal itself ($245 million)
  • The rail extension ($30 million)
  • The logistics park ($160 million) requires construction of eight large warehouse facilities at $20 million each." (7)

(Our bullets. Estimates provided by Gardner Pinfold Consulting Economists Ltd. February 2008.)

"It is anticipated that about 100 personnel would be employed at the site beginning in late 2008 to perform site development work. This number is expected to rise to 150 people in the spring of 2009 and increase steadily until a peak level of 250-300 people are employed in the various elements of the project, from summer 2009 to fall 2010.

In total the Project is expected to generate 1,500-1,600 PY of work. Logistics park construction would be phased as required by demand, and is expected to generate 1,300-1,400 PY of work.

It is expected that there will be no need for temporary on-site accommodation. Instead, all personnel involved in the construction will commute to the site on a daily basis from near-by communities." (8)


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microeconomics
2. 'Melford International Terminal Environmental Assessment, Final Report', Section 2 - Project Description, p. 12, sec. 2.5.7 'Transportation of Construction Materials'
3. Ibid.
4. 'Melford International Terminal Environmental Assessment, Final Report', Section 2 - Project Description, p. 15, sec. 2.6.3 'Logistics Park'
5. 'Melford International Terminal Environmental Assessment, Final Report', Section 2 - Project Description, p. 7, sec. 2.4.3 'Logistics Park'
6. 'Melford International Terminal Environmental Assessment, Final Report', Section 2 - Project Description, p. 13, sec. 2.5.12 'Construction Schedule and Sequencing'
7. 'Melford International Terminal Environmental Assessment, Final Report', Section 2 - Project Description, p. 14, sec. 2.5.13 'Construction Cost, Labour Requirements, Work Cams'
8. Ibid.