By Nancy Phillips
People will pay attention to you and come to your party if you can offer 115 billion reasons why they should. That was pretty much how it unfolded for the Halifax Gateway Council during its first European Union Mission the week of November 4th. Cities visited included Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Dusseldorf-Neuss. Organizations that took part in the mission included: Halifax Port Authority, Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Nova Scotia Business Inc., APEC and the Greater Halifax Partnership.
The objective of the mission was to promote the $115 billion in mega project activity underway or slated to get underway in Atlantic Canada (see map below). These projects are making companies from all over the world want to find out how to be part of the supply chain in our region. European companies are playing and will continue to play an important role in these projects. When the logistics team look for suppliers they will look at Europe because of obvious geographical advantages, for instance, the Port of Halifax is two days closer to Europe than any other Port in North America.
The Halifax Gateway Council with its partners the Port of Halifax, the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, CN Rail and the Province of Nova Scotia want companies to know that the gateway is ready to grow along with the projects. Our state-of-the-art infrastructure has the existing capacity to triple throughput – whether its people or goods. For example, the runway extension project at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport means our community can now accommodate the largest cargo freighters, and also to add more cargo to the larger passenger aircraft.
Early in our planning of the mission, we engaged the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) to look at the top projects and at some of the early supplies that will be needed. For instance, the APEC research showed that the $6.2 billion Muskrat Falls hydro project will require large turbines, mechanical and electrical components, plus steel and rebar. Many components will be shipped through Halifax and trucked to the site. The transmission lines will require steel towers, insulators and wires. The converter stations require steel for the structures along with electronics and equipment for the stations. Halifax is better positioned geographically and from a cost perspective to move many of these components. With many of these suppliers expected to be located in Europe – Halifax has a natural advantage.
The Gateway Mission to Europe was very well-timed as it also coincided with the announcement of the Agreement in Principle of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This provided us an opportunity to highlight the benefits to both Nova Scotia and Europe as a result of the trade negotiations. Europe is Canada’s 2nd largest trading partner, providing Canadian companies with access to over 500 million people, making business between the two countries easier is sure to have an impact on the flow of goods into and out of our Gateway.
The top Nova Scotia benefits of CETA include:
- Positive impact on fish and seafood exports, including lobster
- Duty-free access for forestry and wood products
- New markets for agricultural and agri-food products
- More buyers for chemical and plastic products
Although CETA is still 18-24 months from being finalized, we see this as an opportune time to put our strategy in place and to ensure our key markets know we are open and ready for business.
For more information please contact, Nancy Phillips, Executive Director, Halifax Gateway Council at email@example.com.
Nancy provides strategic management to the Halifax Gateway Council, as the Executive Director to the public/private group formed to pursue multi-modal transportation opportunities in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Also, in her role as Director, Business Development, Nancy brings considerable experience to the Partnership’s strategic activities as they relate to business attraction, trade development and international markets.