While the past two years have created significant uncertainty for the aviation sector, air cargo activity increased at Halifax Stanfield in 2021 in comparison to 2020, and recovery is expected to continue as exports remain strong, new carriers enter the market, and the new Halifax Stanfield Air Cargo Logistics Park (ACLP) begins operation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly underscored the importance of air cargo to global supply chains,” said Joyce Carter, President & CEO, Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA). “Air cargo has supported our collective fight against COVID-19 through deliveries of PPE and vaccines, maintained local jobs through exports of Nova Scotia products, and aided our communities through efficient transport of e-commerce orders. In every instance, air cargo has played a critical role in moving important goods to and from our region.”
In 2021, Halifax Stanfield processed 34,769 metric tonnes of cargo, up 5.4 per cent from 2020. The value of exports in 2021 was $496 million CAD, up 6.3 per cent from the previous year.
Air cargo was transported by 12 carriers and Nova Scotia seafood, specifically live lobster, continued to be the top export. In 2021, 15,765 metric tonnes of live lobster, at a value of $293 million CAD, were shipped from Halifax Stanfield to Asian and European markets. Other top exports were medical equipment ($53.2 million CAD) and aerospace-related parts ($41.4 million CAD).
As HIAA looks toward its pandemic recovery, air cargo remains a bright light for future growth and opportunities. Carriers are expanding their cargo operations at Halifax Stanfield, including Air Canada Cargo, who are making Halifax part of their regularly scheduled freighter operations.
“Our long-standing and strong bond with Atlantic Canada and the Nova Scotia community makes the first Canadian expansion of our freighter network not only a natural and obvious fit, but also one that makes us tremendously proud. We are thankful that we can continue to play a pivotal role and indeed increase our support to the robust and growing trade sector in the region,” said Matthieu Casey, Managing Director, Commercial – Cargo at Air Canada.
Overall, Halifax Stanfield cargo exports contributed $664 million to the provincial economy. Cargo capacity will grow when the ACLP building becomes fully operational later this year. With a total of eight cargo aircraft aprons now available, and cold storage capabilities coming soon, the ACLP will make shipping products by air even easier for Nova Scotian businesses and enable more cargo carriers to operate out of Halifax.
Funding for the ACLP construction was announced in 2018 from the Government of Canada ($18 million), the Government of Nova Scotia ($5 million) and HIAA ($13 million).