In just the past six or seven years, the Hamilton Port Authority (HPA) has attracted more than $300 million in investment. Companies come to the Port first and foremost for its robust transportation connections; Hamilton has one of the most extensive networks of multimodal goods movement infrastructure of anywhere in Ontario.
As businesses establish themselves in and around port lands, a clustering process takes root: ancillary and related businesses arrive to serve their customers, and even competitors set up shop to benefit from the transportation efficiencies. This is the process that guided the Port of Hamilton’s emergence as an agricultural hub, as the Port is now home to grain export terminals, fertilizer terminals, and secondary food processors.
With an eye to continued development, the Hamilton Port Authority is looking to repeat this successful clustering process in other high-growth sectors, including the emerging field of clean technology.
The Port of Hamilton is home to a growing list of environmentally-focused firms that are helping to give momentum to a clean technology cluster in Hamilton. These firms include: Biox, a renewable energy company producing high-quality biodiesel fuel; and REfficient, a technology reuse marketplace that matches buyers with companies’ surplus computing and telecommunications equipment.
“Our vision is a clean-tech cluster that will help to put Hamilton on the map in this growing sector, and help HPA attract jobs and investment to the port,” said Bruce Wood, HPA President & CEO.
HPA is positioning itself to develop an integrated network of companies and services that will help Port Partners reduce their environmental footprint, while striving for cost savings. “We are really starting to see sustainability as a competitive advantage,” said Bruce Wood. “We’re looking at the Port as a community of businesses and industries, and asking: ‘where can we find synergies and provide value?’ We’re finding so many of the innovations have an environmental sustainability aspect to them.”
One prospective tenant, Port Fuels & Material Services Inc., is completing an Ontario provincial environmental screening process on the road to developing a plasma gasification facility on Hamilton Port property. This innovative non-incineration energy-from waste process will allow port-located companies to deal with their waste close to its source, while providing a cost-effective green energy source back to the port community. In a province where the cost of electricity is rising steadily, a competitively-priced source of clean energy can make a big impact.
HPA is also exploring solar technologies, and opportunities to capture excess heat from on-port manufacturing operations and redistribute it to other tenants. “Our approach is to embrace new ways of improving our environmental performance, and in doing so, making the Port of Hamilton a highly attractive place to start or grow a business,” said Bruce Wood. “We want to be known internationally as a green port, and we’re well on our way to making that a reality.”