The Port of Belledune is a proud member of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the unified and recognized voice of seaports in the Americas – and was excited to celebrate the Western Hemisphere Port Days on April 5th, 2021 in partnership with the Association. This year’s theme was “Celebrating Our Workforce”. The theme was chosen to honor the skills, professionalism, and commitment of the port industry workforce, which include thousands of people who ensure that cargo and passengers move efficiently through the ports everyday. While being an essential service all throughout the global pandemic, workers continued to make sure vital goods were delivered to grocery stores, businesses, and medical care facilities.
The theme of celebrating a workforce runs deep for the Belledune Port Authority (BPA). Driving the economy and working to increase employment opportunities in the region is always top of mind for the BPA. To make sure the Port’s own workforce stays informed, educated, and motivated, emphasis is placed on training and development, and moving forward in one’s respective role is highly encouraged. There is an understanding that to best serve the region, as well as the marine shipping business, the Port’s workforce must remain highly competitive. Projects at the Port can have a direct impact on the number of jobs available for certain industries around the area. When the Port is thriving, as can the surrounding communities.
Port Days is also a great opportunity to celebrate the role that seaports play in the worldwide economy. In 2018 alone, Canada’s seaports handled a total of 380.53 million metric tons of goods valued at US$266.67 billion! As a port that specializes primarily in dry, liquid, and breakbulk commodities, the Port of Belledune is essential for bringing in or exporting out raw or value-added product that impacts everyday life, whether it be wood pellets for heating purposes or gypsum that goes into drywall to build houses. Specializing in these products that continue to be vital for everyday life has resulted in the Port having a “buffer” to potential adverse effects. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development, in the COVID-19 & Maritime Transport Report from 2020, in North America during the global pandemic, the number of ships calls by bulk carriers remained stable. This is because these products play such a significant role in daily life.
The Port of Belledune will always be an essential part of Canada’s supply chain, regardless of external crises such as the current pandemic. A commitment to growth and development is well-established within the organization, and the ability to remain and grow as an economic driver and offer more opportunities for the surrounding communities will always be a priority for each Port employee as they continue working hard in their roles everyday. In this way, they will play a significant role in the recovery of the region post-pandemic.