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Economic value of commercial
marine shipping in Canada
pegged at $30 billion

2017-05-31

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

A new report, The Value of Commercial Marine Shipping to Canada, released by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), estimates the national economic value of commercial marine shipping at approximately $30 billion, significantly higher than traditional economic impact measurements. The CCA report is the first study of its kind to examine "value" as including cultural, environmental, and security dimensions in addition to economic measures.

"Traditional economic impact studies measure the direct and spinoff impacts of the industry but do not capture the overall value of marine shipping in facilitating international trade throughout the economy," said Dr. Mary R. Brooks, Chair of the Expert Panel and Professor Emerita at Dalhousie University. "When assessed from a broader social value perspective, the net overall value of marine shipping to Canada is positive and sizeable."

Historically, the economic impact of the Canadian commercial marine shipping industry has been measured by GDP, and in 2016 was estimated at $3 billion. However, conventional measurement of GDP fails to capture the role that marine shipping plays in enabling specialized production and efficient trade patterns.

The Panel therefore commissioned a quantitative trade model to try to better understand what the Canadian economy would be like if the Canadian commercial marine shipping industry did not exist. The model estimated that without shipping, Canada's long-run real GDP would be permanently reduced by 1.8% or around $30 billion. This is about nine times larger than the industry's GDP and roughly the size of the Canadian agricultural sector or the economy of New Brunswick.

Examining the cultural, environmental, and security dimensions of the shipping industry was also key to understanding its overall value. The Panel found that while negative impacts on the environment and security are in some cases sizable, these impacts are mostly declining due to changes within the industry. Marine shipping was also found to be an important part of Canada's history, culture, and Arctic sovereignty despite concerns about its impact on culturally important activities, ecological areas, and ways of life.

Requested by Vancouver-based Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, the report is the second report by the CCA to examine the shipping industry. The first report, published in 2016, assessed the risks associated with commercial marine shipping in Canada.

"Taken together, these two reports provide a comprehensive overview of the risks associated with commercial marine shipping and the overall value of the industry to Canada and Canadians," said Dr. Eric M. Meslin, FCAHS, President and CEO of the CCA. (Photo PRPA).

 
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