“Halifax is a pivotal position for world trade and we cannot sit still. Everything has to be shifted into a new confidguration. If we wait for five or ten years it will be too late,” explains AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley in this feature article about the Port of Halifax.
Writer Deborah Rent says, “Crowley is president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS). In its 10 years of existence, AIMS has brought a distinctive and influential eastern Canadian voice to regional and national debates over public policy in areas such as transfet payments, social policy, fiscal and tax policy, health care and much more. As a public policy think tank, the Halifax Port Authority (HPA) looked to this organization for creative problem solving ideas and ways to tailor the Port’s value proposition that would help receive more attention about its full economic operation and its implications to not only the Port of Halifax, but the entire region.”
The article continues:
“I think new leadership and strong vision are key aspects to the changes that are taking place now. A change in legislation that governs the port, a new board, new CEO and new management have all been instrumental in helping the HPA in this positive direction,” says Crowley.
Asian traffic at the Port of Halifax has increased almost 20 percent over the past five years.
“This is a ‘toe in the water’ for trade coming to Halifax,” says Crowley. “The capacity is there, now whether we can make it work at full throttle is another thing. If we are to convince people to continue to come here, we must show we can get the product quickly and efficiently to market.”
With world trade patterns shifting Crowley says the Port of Halifax is in a brand new strategic position, especially with respect to Asia. Currently Halifax relies on transatlantic trade in North America, Europe, and the Mediterranean, but Crowley says the fastest growing industry is trade with Asia and HPA must capitalize on the growth now. A large portion of the Asian market is currently served at West Coast Ports. These ports are highly utilized and congested and Crowley says Halifax offers an alternative route. As it is on the great circle route, everyone has to go right by it. The port is also the only one in Canada that can handle even the largest ships in the world.