Halifax Precis.


When transportation secretary Ray LaHood was in New Hampshire he didn’t say anything specific about economic development and jobs sans his broad statement to the media that the administration had created or will create 3.5 million jobs. This statement was closely followed by New Hampshire officials selling the advantages of high-speed rail.

Rather than offer criticism of these statements I’m offering an alternative. This alternative won’t create 3.5 million jobs but it would improve transportation in New Hampshire, lead decisively on the path to economic development and jobs and keep taxpayer expense to a minimum. The starting place for this idea or précis is Halifax, Nova Scotia.

On the east coast of North America there are only two deepwater ports capable of accepting the large- standardized container ships used in global trade. These ports are Halifax, Nova Scotia and Charleston, South Carolina. Other ports like Boston, New York and Portsmouth could be dredged to accept these large cost effective ships but the costs to do this would be enormous. Halifax is a viable port for my idea because not only is close to major U.S. markets in the Northeast but its supporting infrastructure including truck, rail access and three phase power is in better condition than what currently exists in Charleston.

From Halifax the rectangular steel containers called tonnage equivalent units (TEUs) would be offloaded from the massive ships onto railcars or trucks and then head south towards the United States arriving in places like Portsmouth, Boston and New York in a matter of hours. For the purposes of this discussion I’m going to focus on the rail movement of TEUs through New Hampshire. This reason being is that New Hampshire currently lacks the capability to move double-stack containers on this route. I’m going to make an argument as to why New Hampshire should pay for the needed clearance upgrades. I’m not going to focus on the trucking aspect as I-95 already offers this capability but this route is not as cost effective as the rail.

The end result of this project will be the creation of transportation related commerce that will lead to economic development and jobs for New Hampshire. I think this will be better than anything that has been offered by Sect’y LaHood.

The video below is from Prince Rupert, British Columbia a port development project that has come on line. I think Halifax would be very similar in appearance and operation as Prince Rupert. I’ve been following the Prince Rupert project for some time and have been asking the question.

“Why isn't this being done on the east coast?”

Source: Port of Prince Rupert. UTUBE.