Port Saint John’s rebranded Port Days ushers in a new era for the Port
This year, we’re getting back to the tenets the transportation industry has grown and strengthened from – Community, Connections, Commerce.
From June 8 to 10, the Port will play host to industry leaders and local citizens alike. At its core, Port Days is a learning opportunity. The community learns more about Port Saint John as they open their gates for an afternoon of fun. Industry leaders connect at the Port, sharing best practices, visions for the future of Port Saint John and building business relationships.
Port Saint John is in the city’s front yard.
Still, not everyone knows the function and purpose of the Port.
That’s where Community Day comes into play. The 4th annual event, happening on June 8, was established as a way to engage Saint Johners in a fun, exciting way. This year’s event is sponsored by Irving Oil.
Community Day is essentially a fair on the waterfront. There is a barbecue, face paint, equipment demonstrations, live entertainment, games and more. Colourful, inflatable castles, upbeat music and the sounds of a lively crowd all help draw people down to the Port that day.
“It’s a really vibrant, fun event – impossible to miss in our city’s core. It’s important for people to put faces to a name when it comes to the Port. Our board, staff and stakeholders are there throughout the day, introducing people to the Port and answering questions from the eager crowd. It’s a great thing to see, “ Jim Quinn, president and CEO of Port Saint John, says.
Port stakeholders play a huge role in the event, both as sponsors and interacting with the crowd. The educational side of Community Day includes more than two dozen booths where representatives from the Port community come to answer questions and share information about what they do.
This year marks the first time tours behind Port gates will be offered on Community Day. Partnering with cruise stakeholder Aquila Tours, the Port will be taking groups through various port terminals and explaining them in an interesting, accessible way.
The tours are a version of field trips undertaken by school children throughout the academic year. Port Saint John launched their education program in the local school district in December in partnership with PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools).
Since then, close to 500 students and teachers have taken a tour of the port. Stakeholders PotashCorp, Logistec Stevedoring and American Iron and Metal open their doors for the tour, fostering cooperation across different sectors of the Port. The field trip includes driving into the potash shed, driving underneath the cranes and getting a close up look of a Liebherr tossing crushed cars onto piles.
“Students may see the Port every day, but they may not be aware of who we are or what we do. Each lesson plan developed between the Port and PALS team informs students about an important piece of their community and regional economy. We want them to learn about our industry in an exciting and creative way. Not only will it contribute to making them well-informed citizens, but it may also open their minds to future career possibilities,” Quinn says.
Both Community Day and the Port’s education program work to make the Port more accessible to people living in Saint John.
This year, Port Days will be complemented by Green Tech, Green Marine’s annual conference, running June 10 through 12. Green Marine is an environmental certification program for the North American marine industry.
It is a voluntary, transparent and inclusive initiative that addresses nine key environmental issues such as greenhouse gases, pollutant air emissions, dry bulk handling and storage and spill prevention. Port Saint John was the first east coast port to join Green Marine back in 2011.
Participating in Green Marine and bringing Green Tech to the city demonstrates the Port’s commitment to making the transportation industry more sustainable.
Port Saint John’s award-winning inclusion model went into action in 2012.
It’s a simple concept, with strategic execution.
On the stakeholder side, companies with interests and investments in the Port are given a voice through consultation. Their input, through four user groups, is sought on a regular basis. There is also an annual consultation meeting where stakeholders interact with each other and provide written feedback on building a more cohesive Port system.
“Our city is affectionately known as the Port City for a reason. Our community surrounds us, the Port is part of the lives of many people but by the same measure, due to the nature of our business, it is not easy to ‘reach out and touch’ the Port. At its core, the inclusion model brings our stakeholders and community members closer to the Port. We’re a more tangible, accessible organization with outcomes guided by stakeholder input and community values,” says Paula Copeland, manager of corporate communications and governance for Port Saint John.
The Port’s inclusion model applies to Port Days. The business portion of the event is preceded by Community Day and a day of networking. This year’s event includes a leisurely river cruise and golf tournament, followed by the provincial government’s Export Awards.
The New Brunswick Export Awards recognize outstanding export performance in the international marketplace, celebrating entrepreneurship in the region.
In 2013, Port Saint John won a Collaborative Partnership Award for their work with the Greater Moncton International Airport.
Bringing the Export Awards to Port Days opens up an entirely new audience for the awards. It raises awareness about New Brunswick entrepreneurs in a setting with transportation industry leaders.
“Partnering with the Department of Economic Development to bring the Export Awards to Port Days is strategic in terms of promoting New Brunswick shippers and receivers. We have a wealth of entrepreneurial talent and world class businesses whose work should be recognized and celebrated,” Peter Gaulton, chair of the Port’s Board of Directors, says.
Port Days has long been a vehicle for driving business to and through Port Saint John.
This year, the event’s business section will include an interview-style panel moderated by J. D. Irving Limited communications officer Geoff Britt.
Panelists have been carefully selected for their background and unique perspective on making Atlantic Canada competitive in the global marketplace.
The list includes: Joy Nott, president & CEO, I.E.Canada, Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters; Michel Têtu, former diplomat and consultant in trade & international relations; Dale Thibodeau, president, Thibodeau & Associates; Dan Bresolin, director of marketing, CN Railway and Raymond Johnston, executive vice-president, Green Marine Management Corporation.
This is the first year the business session will engage the online community. Using the #sjportdays on Twitter, people can direct questions to the panelists. The session is open to the public.
Following the business session, Francois Poirier of TransCanada Corporation, president of the Energy East Pipeline Project, will be giving a keynote address.
“The quality of business leaders coming to Port Days this year is unparalleled. These people are experts in their field and are eager to generate discussion around making Atlantic Canada an even stronger player in the global marketplace. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing from them,” Gaulton says.
A pilot project held during Port Days will also see representatives from ten Latin American companies visit Saint John to meet with New Brunswick shippers and receivers. The project, funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, includes Port and provincial government representatives on the working committee.