In what has been called a "game changer for the North American eastern seaboard", a Chinese state-owned conglomerate is being courted to help build and finance a major new sea port at a declining industrial town on Canada’s east coast.
Developers of the enhanced port at Sydney, Nova Scotia this week agreed to pursue a deal with China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) – billed as the world’s largest port construction and design company – on the design, construction and ownership of the marine container terminal in the deep water port scheme.
Given its strategic location CCCC views Sydney’s deep water harbour as a potential game changer for the North American eastern seaboard– Chang Yunbo, CCCC’s international vice president
Harbor-Port Development Partners (HPDP), the developers, believe the former coal and steel-making hub, which lost its city status in 1995 amid industrial decline, could become a new strategic node in emerging global shipping patterns – including more traffic through the fabled Northwest Passage thanks to the retreat of Arctic ice.
"Given its strategic location CCCC views Sydney’s deep water harbour as a potential game changer for the North American eastern seaboard," said Chang Yunbo, CCCC’s international vice president, on signing the agreement 8 December.
He added: "As a partner, CCCC brings global experience, state of the art technology and financial strength to this project. We expect to have our first working visit to Sydney early in the New Year."
According to HPDP, the Chinese company plans to undertake the design and construction of the container terminal, including all required infrastructure, on a greenfield site.
A hub at Sydney could offer easier access to the St. Lawrence Seaway, the eastern seabord of the US, and the Northwest Passage (Port of Sydney)
CCCC may also invest in new port, cited by HPDP as a "billion dollar plus multiyear project".
"They share our vision regarding the unique opportunity to design and build a next generation highly automated facility which will serve the ultra large container vessels for decades to come," said HPDP’s chief executive, Albert Barbusci.
"We welcome a Chinese consortium joining our Canadian team and look forward to working with CCCC in building out our super-hub in Sydney."
The local municipality has granted HPDP the exclusive right to market the port of Sydney for development, including building the financial and operating consortium to construct a state of the art container terminal and logistic park able to accommodate the latest generation of ultra large container vessels.
Top map: Developers believe the former coal and steel-making hub could become a new strategic node in emerging global shipping patterns (Port of Sydney)