THUNDER BAY – Ships arriving in Thunder Bay come from around the world. At the western hub of the Great Lakes, goods are shipped from Thunder Bay, through the seaway, and to destinations around the world. It is important, in our community to know what is happening in the world of shipping, so that our port can continue to grow, and to met the future potential.
One of the changes coming can be seen in Winnipeg. Centreport Canada is putting an inland port with no direct connection to a seaport, except by rail or truck. Winnipeg is looking at specialized container shipping as its future. The community is also focusing on its rail connections to the United States, and western Canada.
In Halifax, new reports commissioned by the Greater Halifax Partnership released this show that building Canada’s next generation of naval vessels at Halifax Shipyard would create peak employment levels of 11,500 jobs, bolster the provincial economy for a quarter of a century and provide economic benefits for the entire country.
It’s thought the findings will provide more impetus to Halifax Shipyard owner Irving Shipbuilding Inc.’s bid to win a substantial component of the Canadian government’s $30 billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. The first report, Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy: Potential Impact on Nova Scotia and Other Regions, by the Conference Board of Canada, is a broad assessment of the potential economic impact associated with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. becoming the prime contractor for either the combat vessels package or non-combat vessels package. The second report, Halifax: Becoming a Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence, by Jupia Consultants Inc., provides a deeper view of how the project would impact the economy and Nova Scotia’s marine and aerospace and defence industries.
“The benefits to Halifax and Nova Scotia are clear and they are beyond our best expectations — thousands of long-term jobs; $351 million in disposable income to be spent on homes, cars and trucks, and in stores; and over $350 million in federal, provincial and local tax revenue both in peak years — and provide superior benefits to all regions of Canada,” said Paul Kent, President and CEO of the Partnership.
“Building these vessels here would drive supply chain and other economic benefits to all parts of Canada. For every $1,000 spent in procurement from shipbuilding inside Nova Scotia, another $491 in real GDP will be generated in other regions across Canada,” he noted. “In other words, if Halifax wins, everyone wins.”
Fred Morley, the Partnership’s Executive Vice President and Chief Economist said “transformative” is the right word to describe the effect the shipbuilding program would have on the provincial economy, noting that average demand for housing would jump by 420 new residential units per year over the 2012-2030 period. Homeowners’ insurance providers, local utilities and the maintenance and repair sector would see millions of dollars in new spending every year. Automobile sales would jump by an average of 750 new units every year. There would be a corresponding increase of $17 million in gasoline sales. Utilities would also benefit. Telecommunications, internet access providers and cable/satellite TV companies would also see a significant increase in spending. There would also be an increase of $8.5 million per year in spending on telephone services, $38.5 million more spent on groceries and $11 million spent on restaurants in Nova Scotia.
“The next 30 years could be very different for Halifax, Nova Scotia and the region,” he said. “We’re talking about a generation of more stable employment; and the catalyst to reverse outward migration of our young people and attract others to come and stay in Nova Scotia and grow our population. This program would provide stability for small businesses, increase community and business confidence and turn Halifax into one of Canada’s high growth cities.”
To view the full reports go to the Greater Halifax Partnership’s website. To learn more about the Government of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and Nova Scotia’s response, visit www.shipsstarthere.ca.