Port of St. John's weathers storm

Moira Baird
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Contribution to provincial GDP up by 11 per cent

The St. John's Port Authority says the city's 500-year-old port continues to be a crucial economic engine for the province - contributing $255 million directly and indirectly to its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008.

That's up 11 per cent over 2005, according to an economic impact study commissioned by the port authority.

Two-thirds of those dollars - or $169 million - came in direct contributions to the GDP. Gross domestic product is the total value of goods and services produced in the province.

The St. John's Port Authority says the city's 500-year-old port continues to be a crucial economic engine for the province - contributing $255 million directly and indirectly to its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008.

That's up 11 per cent over 2005, according to an economic impact study commissioned by the port authority.

Two-thirds of those dollars - or $169 million - came in direct contributions to the GDP. Gross domestic product is the total value of goods and services produced in the province.

The port authority also says 3,021 jobs were generated by activity in St. John's harbour.

That activity includes ships ferrying supplies and equipment to the province's offshore oilfields; container ships delivering retail goods; and small tankers and large fishing vessels.

By 2011, the port authority is forecasting another 11 per cent increase in its contribution to the provincial GDP. (See chart on page A2 for details.)

"We're pleased," said Sean Hanrahan, president and CEO of the port authority.

"If you look at the Canadian economy, and perhaps more so the American economy, over the same period, we think we weathered the storm pretty well.

"Hats off to the private sector in that regard."

The port's role, he said, is providing the infrastructure that the private sector needs to do its work.

"They take the platform we provide and take it from there."

Hanrahan said the economic engine is fuelled by those users.

Some of the biggest: container shipping company Oceanex; A. Harvey and Co., which owns and operates the offshore marine base; the 120-year-old ship repair yard Newdock; and Woodward Group, which specializes in coastal shipping to Labrador and the Arctic.

Ships supplying the offshore oil industry account for 60 per cent of all vessel traffic in the port these days.

"They're certainly a huge contributor to the port," said Hanrahan.

Other traffic contributors include Woodward Group, Irving vessels, large fishing vessels and cruiseships.

Oceanex is the port's biggest revenue generator, accounting for 62 per cent of its income. Other revenue generators include Suncor Energy, which supplies drill fluids and marine diesel to the offshore industry from Pier 17, and the Keg restaurant, which leases its waterfront building from the port.

"It's another example of us providing the infrastructure and the private sector taking the risk and driving it from there," said Hanrahan.

The economic impact study was conducted by the consulting firm Goss Gilroy Inc., which is headquartered in Ottawa and has offices in St. John's. The company surveyed port users for the study.

mbaird@thetelegram.com

Organizations: A. Harvey and Co., Suncor Energy, Goss Gilroy

Geographic location: St. John's, Labrador, Arctic Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • CW Moss
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Every year the Port Authority publishes figures which are astounding. Thousands of jobs, millions of dollars are the usual format. The reality is the Port Authority itself has approximately 14 employees of which half are management, half unionized. Some port users think they are overstaffed and over managed. They should publish some real facts relating to the Port such as the figures pertaining to large salaries and generous bonuses and perks paid out to the management staff. Letting the public see how much the Port paid out in legal fees would also be interesting especially when the Port has a lawyer on staff. How much did this recent study cost? Wouldnt you think that with their own Product Development department and so much top heavy management they could have done their own research? The Port Authority as basically a landlord can easily weather a storm, as long as tenants are in place they make money. The extent of their business negotiations is to draw up an agreeable lease agreement and from there on raise the rent to improve profits.
    Dont expect to see the real facts published any time soon, but you can look forward to next years, Fool the Public press release.

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Did ANYONE read the first sentence in the 2010 Budget Highlights prepared by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador? It states Real GDP declined 8.9%. And we get this weathered the storm pretty well crap. I wonder what it is that Goss Gilroy Inc. is talking about. Would they like to explain how the port contributed $255 million to GDP in 2008 (2009?). If the port is charging this much in port fees I think that they are charging too much. If they are talking about value of goods shipped, I wonder why the truckers don't tell us how much they have contributed to the economy. If we have 3021 people off loading ships in St.John's, then I think it is about time they mechanized the process for better productivity or is that a foreign concept in St. John's.

  • CW Moss
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Every year the Port Authority publishes figures which are astounding. Thousands of jobs, millions of dollars are the usual format. The reality is the Port Authority itself has approximately 14 employees of which half are management, half unionized. Some port users think they are overstaffed and over managed. They should publish some real facts relating to the Port such as the figures pertaining to large salaries and generous bonuses and perks paid out to the management staff. Letting the public see how much the Port paid out in legal fees would also be interesting especially when the Port has a lawyer on staff. How much did this recent study cost? Wouldnt you think that with their own Product Development department and so much top heavy management they could have done their own research? The Port Authority as basically a landlord can easily weather a storm, as long as tenants are in place they make money. The extent of their business negotiations is to draw up an agreeable lease agreement and from there on raise the rent to improve profits.
    Dont expect to see the real facts published any time soon, but you can look forward to next years, Fool the Public press release.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Did ANYONE read the first sentence in the 2010 Budget Highlights prepared by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador? It states Real GDP declined 8.9%. And we get this weathered the storm pretty well crap. I wonder what it is that Goss Gilroy Inc. is talking about. Would they like to explain how the port contributed $255 million to GDP in 2008 (2009?). If the port is charging this much in port fees I think that they are charging too much. If they are talking about value of goods shipped, I wonder why the truckers don't tell us how much they have contributed to the economy. If we have 3021 people off loading ships in St.John's, then I think it is about time they mechanized the process for better productivity or is that a foreign concept in St. John's.