Fairview Cove Marine Container Examination Facility Project

The container ship ONE Magnificence at PSA Halifax Fairview Cove. Photo credit Steve Farmer.

The Fairview Cove Marine Container Examination Facility project will improve efficiency, safety and operations of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the Port of Halifax.

The Halifax Port Authority (HPA) had long identified the need to decrease port congestion and plan for future increases in container processing demand. But the project will go much further by speeding up turnaround times and enhancing security at the port, and providing environmental and community benefits. The Fairview Cove MCEF — Marine Container Examination Facility — will bring jobs to the local economy, improve quality of life by significantly reducing truck traffic in the downtown Halifax core, and contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and particulate emissions. This is the HPA’s first project to go through the Envision verification process, and it will be used as a benchmark for future capital projects.

Fairview Cove has also become the first Canadian infrastructure project to be verified using v3 of ISI’s Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Framework, released in 2018. (A total of 15 other Canadian projects have completed Envision verification — all of those using v2.)


“Integrating sustainability into our core business practices is essential for future success,” said Captain Allan Gray, President and CEO, Halifax Port Authority. “The completed Marine Container Examination Facility will improve overall operational efficiency while advancing our sustainability goals. It can serve as a framework for future projects on our path to becoming One Port City.”

“This project is a milestone for the Halifax Port Authority and a reflection of the dedication to sustainability, collaboration and moving beyond “Business as Usual” practices,” said Jill Roth, Project Lead ENV SP.

Kristi Wamstad, ISI Verification Director, said: “ISI congratulates the Halifax Port Authority and the project partners on the success of the Fairview Cove Marine Container Examination Facility project. It optimizes rapid and reliable container inspections and helps to achieve the Port’s net-zero emission goals.”


Leadership. The project team adopted the Envision framework early on, and used it to improve key design features and align with the HPA’s organizational sustainability goals. All project team members demonstrated experience and expertise in developing and delivering sustainable projects. Sustainable strategies for this project include rainwater harvesting and a solar photovoltaic (PV) system that will generate approximately 23% of the project’s total annual energy needs. Project leaders also focused on enhancing resilience by completing a climate change vulnerability assessment and incorporating strategies to address critical vulnerabilities.

Collaboration and sustainability management. Management of sustainability outcomes was supported by the involvement of a sustainability and Envision consultant on the project team as a major team member. The consultant developed a sustainability charter in collaboration with the project team and provided regular memos, reports, and presentations to support ongoing sustainability management, goal setting, and performance tracking against sustainability goals and targets grounded in Envision.

Community mobility. An important outcome of this project is its contribution to managing congestion in downtown Halifax by removing truck traffic. For each container examined at the MCEF, a semi truck travels through downtown Halifax and across the MacKay Bridge to reach the old facility in an adjacent jurisdiction. Once the examination was complete, the semi truck would return along the same route. A 2016 study estimated the port generated 883 one-way weekday truck trips per day. The new MCEF is being built within the Port of Halifax next to the Fairview Cove Container Terminal (FCCT), which means movement through downtown and across the bridge is eliminated. Another important aspect will be significant safety improvements from the reduction of large vehicle traffic in pedestrian and active transportation zones.

Preserve undeveloped land. The Project is located 100% on previously developed land or constructed areas from the Fairview Cove Sequestration Facility. This facility allows contractors to dispose of pyritic slate, a waste material from excavation activities. All material must be tested prior to being accepted and meet specific environmental requirements. The development of this site as a sequestration facility exists outside of the scope of the project and prior to the project being proposed.

Infrastructure integration. The project makes a significant contribution in this area by integrating water and energy systems to improve efficiency and diversity. To support the above-mentioned use of a solar PV sytem as well as harvesting rainwater, the project will track usage via sub-metering in order to quantify sustainability impacts and optimize production. During early design, coordination efforts between mechanical and electrical disciplines led to an understanding about the feasibility of monitoring major systems and support internal systems integration. In addition, this project is also part of a larger transportation plan to move container traffic more efficiently, connecting with existing railroad networks to support increasing port activity and growth in the broader Canadian economy.

Envision-Verified Project:
Fairview Cove Marine Container Examination Facility
Halifax, Nova Scotia Bay 
Lead Envision Firm:
Luuceo Consulting Inc.
Envision Rating:
Award Date:
August 9, 2023
Project Owner:  
Halifax Port Authority
Project Partners: Jarsky, Strum Engineering, GS Ewert Engineering Ltd., Campbell Comeau Engineering Limited, Harbourside Engineering, Ocean Contractors
Project Phase: Operational
Project: Design-Bid-Build
For More Information: Visit the project website.

Download the Project Profile & Award Announcement.