News Release Archive

  The federal government has an obligation to ensure that
  marine fees do not shut down the Port of Halifax and other
  east coast ports, the provincial government said today.
  Cost recovery principles established by Canadian Coast Guard
  Services could destroy the Port of Halifax, and stifle
  economic development based on Nova Scotia's prime coastal
  location, according to Transportation and Communications
  Minister Richie Mann.
  Mr. Mann and Economic Renewal Minister Robbie Harrison will
  meet with port stakeholders, including shippers and the
  business community, to devise a strategy to promote a
  federal policy that assures fair allocation of user fees for
  navigational aids provided by the Coast Guard.
  "This federal plan is a crippling blow to east coast ports.
  We had hoped and expected that user fees would be imposed
  equitably and fairly across the country, yet this policy
  appears almost calculated to deny Halifax and other eastern
  ports their advantages," Mr. Mann said. "If the federal
  government proceeds with this plan, increased advantage is
  offered to the ports of New York, Baltimore or Philadelphia,
  our competitive edge will be diminished, the benefits of our
  natural advantage reduced."
  "Halifax's natural advantages of a deep, ice-free harbour
  have made this port one of the largest employers in Nova
  Scotia, and a keystone of the regional economy. This
  unbalanced plan will effectively nullify those competitive
  advantages over inland Canadian and all U.S. ports, while
  the Canadian -- and Nova Scotian -- taxpayer will continue
  to pay the full cost of ice-breaking in Montreal," said Mr.
  "We've heard concerns from the major users of the port, such
  as Statia Terminals, who will find it almost impossible to
  compete from their present Nova Scotia location," Mr. Mann
  "The advantages of our coastal ports have been critical to
  our economic development and promotion efforts," Mr.
  Harrison said. "I can't believe that the federal government
  would consciously strike this blow to our major natural
  advantage in attracting and retaining business in this
  region. A fair cost recovery system will ensure jobs now and
  in the future."
  Mr. Mann reaffirmed his earlier statements to former federal
  Fisheries Minister Brian Tobin that supported fair and
  equitable user-pay arrangements, based on actual services
  used by shipping lines. In contrast, the Coast Guard plan
  would see shippers paying for navigational aids such as
  lighthouses, day beacons, radar beacons and vessel traffic
  services on a per-tonne rate for commercial vessels, while
  further "studies" are conducted on the issue of cost
  recovery for ice-breaking.
  "Halifax can handle the largest vessels in the world, so
  they'll pay more, possibly for less cargo, than the smaller
  vessels that can be handled by other ports. Vessel size does
  not dictate the level of navigational aid required, distance
  does. Ships calling at Halifax use navigational aids for 21
  nautical miles; ships calling at Montreal use them for more
  than 600 nautical miles, yet the larger ships that call at
  Halifax will pay more than a ship using more navigational
  aids to call at Montreal. Meanwhile, shipping lines in
  Montreal will continue to enjoy the advantages of taxpayer
  supported ice-breaking," the minister said.
  Mr. Mann and Mr. Harrison are seeking an early meeting with
  the federal minister of fisheries, responsible for the Coast
  Guard, to argue for a more equitable allocation of costs.
  "We'll certainly be looking for some justification and
  documentation of the costs for navigational aids, and have
  already requested the economic impact studies done by the
  Coast Guard in determining their principles," Mr. Mann said.
  Contact: Donna McCready  902-424-8687
  trp                      Jan. 16, 1996 - 5:25 p.m.