Consolidated Fastfrate Expands in Halifax

Feb 3, 2006

A major new cargo distribution and warehouse facility being built in Dartmouth will reinforce Nova Scotia's position as a leading gateway to North American markets and create hundreds of new jobs.

Consolidated Fastfrate's state-of-the-art transload, distribution and warehouse centre will process about 70 marine containers daily. Up to 180 new jobs will be created at the distribution centre. An additional 75 jobs will be created to truck freight across Canada and the United States.

Premier John Hamm and Economic Development Minister Ernest Fage announced plans for construction of the facility today, Feb. 3,  with Ron Tepper, president and CEO of Consolidated Fastfrate; Karen Oldfield, president and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority; and Stephen Lund, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc.

The province's combined investment is worth a maximum $2.4- million. The Office of Economic Development is providing a $750,000 secured, forgivable loan to help support Consolidated Fastfrate's capital expansion. Nova Scotia Business Inc. is providing a payroll rebate of up to $1.65 million over five years based on the creation of up to 180 new jobs.

"We continue to invest in companies that offer solid employment opportunities to Nova Scotians," said Premier Hamm. "Fastfrate's expansion will have significant potential to attract new business to the region demonstrating, once again, that Nova Scotia is a great place to do business."

"Working with our partners, we were able to present a strong business case for Halifax as the right location for Fastfrate's new distribution centre," said Mr. Fage. "It will boost our import and export markets and means more good-paying jobs for Nova Scotians."

Consolidated Fastfrate will spend about $10 million to construct the 90,000 square-foot facility in the Burnside Industrial Park. Construction is expected to be finished later this year. A second phase, estimated at an additional cost of $3 million that could add up to 60,000 additional square feet, is also anticipated within two years.

Halifax was chosen as the site for the new facility because of its competitive advantages as a major shipping and distribution hub for North America.

"Currently, we transload approximately 20,000 containers a year in Vancouver and we expect to replicate that service in Halifax, making Fastfrate the only company working the east and west coasts of Canada," said Mr. Tepper.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. worked with the province, the Halifax Port Authority and Halifax Regional Municipality to help secure construction of this facility. The new distribution centre is important to Nova Scotia's ability to meet the demands of a growing export market and secure new shipping business for the port.

"Today's announcement is a strategic step forward for Nova Scotia," said Mr. Lund. "NSBI, the Office of Economic Development, and the Halifax Port Authority have been strong partners working under the Team Nova Scotia banner. Consolidated Fastfrate is a first-rate operator and its new facility will dramatically add to the Port of Halifax's growth story."

"Growing the port's containerized cargo business is our primary focus. Having Consolidated Fastfrate as a key port partner certainly enhances the services available to shippers and shipping lines moving containers through Halifax," said Ms. Oldfield.

When complete, the facility in Burnside will unload and sort cargo for transportation across North America. Empty shipping containers can then be loaded with export cargo. Currently, cargo is trucked to distribution centres in Toronto and Montreal. Handling distribution locally means reduced costs and faster turnaround when processing import and export cargo.

Consolidated Fastfrate is a national transportation company with  more than 1,500 employees. It operates 17 shipping distribution terminals across Canada. Since 2001, it has been a repeat winner of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies award.