Melford International Terminal is planning to start the construction on the $350m deepwater terminal in the Strait of Canso, Nova Scotia, Canada this year.

The company said that a new freight customer base will be built before the start of construction of the deepwater terminal.

Melford International Terminal vice president of marketing Richie Mann said funding for the project has already been secured.

"We have a desire to get construction going as soon as possible," Mann said.

"We will not do that until we have all of the elements in place that we deem necessary, and that includes cargo commitment."

American firm Maher Terminals said in July 2010 that it would take an unspecified stake in the terminal and logistics park.

The new terminal will cover 315 acres and include an intermodal on-dock rail facility and a 1,500-acre logistics park on the mainland side of the Strait of Canso.

Construction of the terminal is scheduled to be completed after two years and operations are expected to start in 2014-15.

A new public loop road is expected to be built by Melford developers around the terminal site linking route 344 to each side of the terminal.

"We’ve been working on securing cargo commitments and you know, those discussions are going well and now we’re dealing with the major carriers around the world and it takes awhile," said Mann.

A minor upgrade of the nearby railway will be included in the construction of the terminal, according to an economic impact statement.