Halifax – The benefits derived from the Port of Halifax are spread much further a field than other container ports. That’s the finding of the latest paper from the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

Everybody Wins: Why Growing the Port of Halifax Matters to Moncton (and Saint John, Amherst, Bangor . . .) shows that the Halifax cluster consists of direct and support services for transportation providers, along with port-led industry, warehousing and distribution in the Halifax area.. It also reveals that there is less participation locally in such industries than one would expect from a container port, but a more balanced picture emerges when the catchment area is expanded to include the Atlantica region. 

For seaports, clusters are generally considered groups of businesses and organizations whose economic performance and sustainability is linked to their common area of expertise. As authors Stephen Kymlicka and Peter de Langen point out, another characteristic of clusters is that common goals are key to growth:

“Firms in various industries cluster together in specific regions. Seaports are not just nodes in a transport chain, but may be seen as regional clusters of economic activities. Central to the cluster perspective is the recognition that the development of individual firms in a cluster depends crucially on the development of the cluster as a whole.”

Everybody Wins provides an in-depth case study on the Port of Halifax as a regional “cluster” within Atlantica. Kymlicka and de Langen analyze the structure of the Halifax cluster and examine associated port-led industry to draw several conclusions. Notably, the cluster is strong enough to attract investment from world-class firms, such large investments usually trigger increased traffic. Investment in warehousing and distribution could result from improved corridor access and transload facility expansion will make more containers available to local exporters thereby strengthening the regional role of the port.

These findings bode well for regional development opportunities in other cities within Atlantica. Kymlicka and de Langen show that analysis of port-led economic activity confined strictly to the Halifax geographic area leaves significant gaps when measured against other Canadian ports with similar shipping volumes. But when expanded to a regional level the supporting industries that benefit from the port generate substantial economic activity in smaller hubs outside.

Everybody Wins concludes that the future looks promising for regional port-led industry through further development of Halifax.

“In short, the Port of Halifax lies at the centre of a regional cluster which is attracting significant investment… The success of the Port of Halifax and the region are tied in a virtuous circle; when one wins, we all win.”

“This paper shows the Port of Halifax and the region intricately linked in terms of economic growth,” says AIMS acting President Charles Cirtwill. “Expansion provides a remarkable opportunity for business and organizations within the region, not just those in Halifax. It is crucial at this juncture that we recognize where our strengths lie as a region to fully capitalize on the opportunities.”

Everybody Wins is the second paper in the AIMS Atlantica Ports Series. Atlantica is a region broadly composed of the Atlantic provinces, south shore Quebec, the northern tier of New England and upstate New York. These territories have a number of characteristics in common – similar demographics, diversity, and migration; a shared history; and interrelated transport issues. The Atlantica Ports Series takes a comprehensive look at the existing flows, industries, and services that surround Atlantica and asks: What opportunities exist for Atlantica ports to increase volumes?

To read the complete paper, click here.


For more information, contact:

Charles Cirtwill, AIMS President (acting)

Stephen Kymlicka, AIMS Senior Policy Analyst
Barbara Pike, AIMS Director of Communications
902-429-1143 ext. 227 / 902-452-1172