It might also have been billed as ‘The Clock is Ticking’ for that was the underlying message delivered by several of the guest speakers.
First, a little background.
As many readers probably know the development of a super port in Sydney Harbour is one of CBRM council’s highest priorities and rightly so because the stakes are enormous.
Two years ago CBRM gave Harbour Port Development Partners the exclusive rights to promote roughly 1,500 acres of undeveloped land near Sydport as the future home of the Novaporte container terminal and Novazone logistics park. (Think of the latter as a place where national and international companies like Home Depot, for example, would set up shop to handle inventory arriving from or being delivered to container ships docking at the terminal.)
In turn, Harbour Port has partnered with Canderel Group, a well-established Montreal-based real estate developer which would oversee the construction of Novazone.
Meanwhile, a huge Chinese company called China Communication Construction Co. is preparing a feasibility study for the proposed Novaporte container terminal which is due this summer.
And CBRM was recently designated as a foreign trade zone point, which could pay enormous dividends down the road.
So there is a lot happening in what CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke calls a “nation-building opportunity.”
An opportunity that exists because our deep-water unobstructed port can handle the next generation of giant-sized container terminals, has access to undeveloped and affordable land, is a strategic location on the ‘Great Circle Route’ for shipping, has access to eastern seaboard markets and the St. Lawrence Seaway, has access to rail and more.
It’s also an opportunity that has the potential to produce thousands of jobs over the next generation as Novazone ramps up and generate billions of dollars of income and tax revenues.
But there are so many other things that have to happen in order to secure one or more shipping lines and entice North American companies to use Sydney to ship their goods to foreign markets.
Gaps have to be closed in order to ensure that goods can get to markets cheaper from here than they would if shipping lines sailed an extra two or three days to ports along the U.S. seaboard such as New York or Norfolk, Va.
Canderel CEO Jonathan Wener says “we have an opportunity because the market is now. There is nowhere for these (giant) ships to go. Sydney is the only place that makes sense right now.”
He also adds that if “we miss it, (the opportunity) will be gone. It will vaporize.”
Wener stressed the importance of everyone pulling in the same direction to make it happen, a sentiment we wholeheartedly echo.
A super port in Sydney is a potential game changer for Cape Breton’s economy, perhaps like the steel plants of yesteryear a once-in-a-century opportunity.
Published on May 22, 2016