Competition Bureau obtains court orders to advance an investigation of a proposed transaction between the only two container terminal operators at the Port of Halifax

News release

December 6, 2021 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau has obtained court orders from the Federal Court of Canada to advance an investigation into PSA Canada Ventures Ltd.’s proposed acquisition of Ceres Halifax Inc. The orders require the two parties to produce records and written information relevant to the Bureau’s investigation.

PSA and Ceres Halifax are the only two container terminal operators at the Port of Halifax. The Bureau is investigating whether the proposed transaction is likely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition for marine carriers that make port calls at the Port of Halifax. Specifically, the Bureau is investigating whether this potential loss of competition may provide PSA with the ability to impose a material price increase or service level decrease on the services offered to these marine carriers.

If the Bureau determines that a merger is likely to substantially lessen or prevent competition, it may apply to the Competition Tribunal for an order under section 92 of the Competition Act to prevent, dissolve or alter the merger.

Quick facts

  • Marine terminal operators provide container handling and storage services to marine carriers making a “port call”. The purpose of a port call is to access markets where cargo shippers and receivers are located.

  • The Bureau’s application was filed under section 11 of the Competition Act. Section 11 orders are one of several tools that allow the Bureau to gather the information required to perform thorough inquiries and investigations and to take effective enforcement action when warranted.

  • Under the Competition Act, the Competition Bureau has a mandate to review mergers to determine whether they are likely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.

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