Container Ship Being loaded credit World Shipping Org

Welcome to the Economics 1 Nova Scotia Community College Strait Area Wiki featuring the world-wide container shipping industry and focusing on the proposed private-sector Maher-Melford container terminal/port for Mulgrave, Nova Scotia using as its harbour, the Strait of Canso.

In this wiki, we will show how container shipping has revolutionized the transport of goods (and even services) into highly efficient mechanized processes capable of moving huge amounts of products across oceans and revolutionizing international trade.

We will also discuss the geographic value of the Strait of Canso for such purposes, and examine how the building of a major container terminal could impact the local economy in terms of employment, and contribute to Canada's gross domestic product.

We will look at some of the economic forces that influence success or failure in this industry such as Canadian fiscal and monetary policy. Ultimately, we will cover eleven key topics in economics (see table of contents).

Strategic Significance

As far back as 1893, John M. Gow, in Cape Breton Illustrated, recognized the value of Cape Breton as a potential transportation hub in its proximity to Europe. He noted the Strait area as an ideal ice-free deep water harbor, but eliminated it as an idea at the time for Louisburg, because without the causeway (constructed in 1955), the currents and narrowness made navigation by sail quite difficult. He also eliminated Sydney as a choice because of the possibility of ice which would prevent steady supply.

Since the Canso causeway, locks, and canal were constructed, the Port Hawkesbury Mulgrave area has become progressively more interesting to various development proposals. Just before the recession of 2008, there were optimistic projections about the growth of the container industry and intermodal shipping in general, and Melford-Maher recognized the possibilities for this area was making its plans for a major terminal here, citing an abundance of land, less regulations, and an adequate supporting infrastructure.

For a primer on the container shipping industry, and an overview of some of the problems posed by the recession, we are including this video produced by the British Broadcasting Service: (click on the video link below)

Container ship leaving port. (credit Journal of Commerce)