Melford Atlantic Gateway signs engineering team

HALIFAX: Melford Atlantic Gateway has taken the next step toward building a proposed container terminal project in Guysborough County.

Melford Atlantic Terminal Inc. has selected Colorado-based company BergerABAM to provide engineering services for the planned Melford Atlantic Gateway Terminal and Logistics Park. The company had issued a request for proposals in December and had received several responses.

“The request was based on our anticipated need to do the final and more complete engineering and design work for the proposed terminal,” said Richie Mann, vice president of marketing and government relations for Melford Atlantic Gateway.

“We were suitably impressed with the BergerABAM submission and subsequent interviews during the process.”

Mann said BergerABAM has brought in partners to work with them on the project including the Canadian firm, Stantec, as well as Strum Engineering, which operates out of Bedford and specializes in Environmental engineering. Mann said Melford Atlantic Gateway has worked with Strum Engineering on environmental matters in the past.

“With BergerABAM’s capabilities, which are very impressive and they are a very large firm, combined with their local partners, local expertise and familiarity that both Stantec and Strum have with our project, it’s a good team,” Mann said.

Mann said the next step will be a collaborative exercise between Melford terminal and its partner SSA Marine, along with the newly created engineering team.

“It will look at the next steps that are required and the next activities that we need to do and work from there,” Mann said.

“They’ll do a gaps analysis to see if there are any gaps in what we’ve done to date, see if there’s anything else that has to be done and we will be in a position then to put a bid package together.”

In 2016, Melford International Terminal and its majority owner Cyrus Capital Partners announced the joint investment venture along with SSA Marine. Mann said the 172-acre container terminal project is expected to cost between $300 – $350 million USD. The company has acquired the land for the proposed project, which will be located in Melford.

“We’ve just signed a contract with Port Hawkesbury Paper who are going to clear the land for us. They’re going to clear the site where the terminal and the first phase of the logistics part will go,” said Mann.

“They will take away all the merchantable wood and all of the other wood that they’ll be able to use for biomass that is not merchantable.”

Mann said that work is likely to begin in the late summer or early fall so that it does not interfere with bird nesting season.

Mann was hesitant to predict when the terminal project might be completed.

“There are a number of things that we’re working on that have to come together and those are not completely under our control. A lot of them are influenced or determined by global situations. We’d like to do it as soon as possible,” said Mann.

Mann said economic impact studies have demonstrated that the project will have a significant spin-off effect on the local economy and provide employment as well as new export opportunities.

“It’s hard to predict, but it goes without saying I think it would be a game changer in Eastern Nova Scotia which over a few years would have tremendous employment and development opportunities,” Mann added.