MISSISSAUGA, Ont.--The Halifax Gateway Council hosted a meeting in Mississauga today to discuss the $115 billion worth of mega projects to take place in the Atlantic Canada region.
Elizabeth Beale, presenting on behalf of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, noted that Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, a $25 billion contract running from 2015-2035, already has some key suppliers on board, including GE Canada, Lockheed Martin, and Man diesel which will manufacture engines for the first phase of project.
There is also a $2 billion worth of exploration commitments by Shell and BP, she said.
“The shipbuilding contract is expected to have the largest impact in terms of longevity. Not only direct shipments but indirect activity is significant, for the Port of Halifax as well as carriers into and out of the port,” she said.
There is already some significant growth occurring in the transportation and logistics sector as a result of local activity as well as projects under way or under consideration in northern Quebec and Greenland.
Beale said the Canada-Europe free trade deal, nearing completion, also has the potential to establish a number of trade agreements.
She noted, however, that issues around skilled labour remain a top concern and the biggest cost factor for companies in the Atlantic region.
Fred Morley, executive vice president, Greater Halifax Partnership, said transportation and logistics is one of the big drivers in the Halifax economy. With Halifax being abusiness service hub and benefitting from a steady growth in its economy and economic diversity, the city has not really seen a recession.
“Halifax ranks 3rd in international business cost competitiveness and has a healthy construction sector,” he said.
“The National Shipbuilding Contract project will see a $25 billion investment over 30 years, and this will have a significant impact on the local economy with employment levels likely to reach 8500. This will drive demand for housing, cars and goods in the region. The project is well under way with 127.7 million in contracts established as of September,” he said.
“We function as a key intermodal site and we operate a number of offices internationally. We have the ability to select carriers that are going to ever increasing vessel sizes,” said George Malec, vice president, business development, with the Halifax Port Authority.
“It’s not just about the infrastructure-we’re also very clearly articulating the port as a service provider and partner with our “Halifax Gets it there.com project”,” he said of the competitiveness tool.
Stephen Hilchey,Business development executive, with Nova Scotia Business Inc. said the logistics sector is a priority sector for the province.
“My goal is to let you know there is a lot of government support out there. If you’re interested in setting up in the province we want to see you do well. The Gateway can help bring information about government programs that could be available to companies choosing to set up in Nova Scotia,” he said, adding that the organization can also take companies on a tour around facilities or introduce companies to local industry partners.