Thousands of people visit Fairview every year without ever setting foot on land, arriving at the global container pier to load and unload supplies bound for the rest of the world.

Calvin Whidden is vice-president of Cerescorp Company, which runs the Fairview Cove Container Terminal tucked in beyond Seaview Park along the Bedford Basin. Whidden said the company has spent more than $40 million upgrading the terminal in recent years.

“I guess the locals have seen that, with the great big monster cranes that came in here and our new truck gate that everybody sees driving by,” Whidden said. “We also expanded our railyard by $8 million.”

The terminal recently finished a new maintenance facility, the big green building alongside the Bedford Highway. All of that work means the pier can handle more cargo, more efficiently. The new cranes are built to handle the huge, post-Panamax ships, and the new rail lines have doubled the capacity to speedily put cargo on and off ships.

Plans were made for the major expansion long before the global economic crisis hit last year, meaning Cerescorp had to fund the work even as it took a financial hit.

“Like all businesses, we saw the recession and lost tremendous amounts of volume, but since January, which was our bottom, our volume has rebounded substantially. All indications are it’s going to continue on a recovery, but it’s going to be slow,” Whidden said.

The long-brewing, much-discussed “Atlantic Gateway” plans to boost Halifax’s status as the go-to eastern seaboard port will be good news for Fairview’s pier, but Whidden said that’s only recognizing an established fact.

“Yes, we’re involved in it,” he said, “but the reality is Halifax is the east-coast port and will continue to be. Everything is here: We have all the structures, the infrastructures, the rail connections. It’s all here and it’s here because it is in the logical spot.”

The Fairview terminal’s highest year on record saw 250,000 containers pass through the port. It’s fallen below that now, but Whidden says the six ships that visit the terminal each week keep it busy.