By Christopher Williams

Further to trade missions to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Brazil earlier this year, Saint John Port Authority (SJPA) is now in the second phase of a three-phase North South Business Strategy. The “North South Incoming Mission,” taking place June 13 to 14, 2012, builds on strengths of the Port Days theme Canada’s Gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, and takes business to the next level. An ‘outbound’ mission is now being planned for the fall.

“In conjunction with Port Days, we are adding a new event, which facilitates trade,” explains Andrew Dixon, Senior Vice-President, Planning & Development, SJPA. “Rather than just talking about the possible trade connections, we are getting the key players together to see if they can take advantage of our Port as a gateway to these markets.”

Mr. Dixon says the SJPA Business Development team has been working closely with Andy Jacques, Senior Trade Commissioner for Canada in the Dominican Republic, and Alexander Leon, Senior Trade Commissioner for Canada in Costa Rica, as well as the World Trade Centre of Atlantic Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), the New Brunswick Department of Economic Development (formerly Business NB) and Invest NB.

Jim Quinn, President and CEO, SJPA, says Saint John is a transition point for importers and exporters. “We have an integral role to play in connecting business opportunities on the incoming mission. At this unique meeting, business leaders from the South will have an opportunity to meet business leaders in New Brunswick and the surrounding region to discuss how they can build imports and exports.”

The North South Business Strategy is based around Port Saint John’s two regular container services to the southern markets. Tropical Shipping Canada is in its 11th year of success in Saint John and Mediterranean Shipping Company began a bi-weekly global transshipping service here in May 2012.

With significantly higher volumes from the new PotashCorp mine near Sussex, N.B., potash shipments to the Caribbean and South America are expected to double from one to two million tonnes annually by 2014.  PotashCorp’s primary markets from New Brunswick are Brazil, the Caribbean and the Eastern U.S.

Outgoing mission this fall

Shannon Blanchard, Cargo Development and Marketing Specialist, SJPA, says trade associations as well as the Canadian consulates in the various countries help ensure that relevant businesses are invited to participate in the matchmaking mission. “The third phase, taking place in the fall of 2012, will be organized by the World Trade Centre of Atlantic Canada. New Brunswick-based businesses will be invited to participate in an outgoing mission to be held in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica to further develop north-south market relationships,” says Blanchard.