For those of you just waking up, one of our readers was busy last night... Thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to the dialogue from Anon 10:56 PM. I urge readers to take a look and wade in with your thoughts or comments. In the meantime let me add some thoughts to my earlier comments and those of Anon 10:56PM.
Shelburne's coastal location and other attributes can provide Shelburne County with a comparative advantage because of its proximity to a significant segment of the world's consumer and industrial markets. However .... to take advantage of it requires looking at the glass from a different angle than we have traditionally.
YES ... our location can be helpful in terms of providing a gateway for others to ship through. And, yes as pointed out by Anon 10:56, our lack of good land transportation systems reduces the advantages we might derive as a shipping gateway.
HOWEVER ... our real advantage might be as a place to import materials for fabrication and manufacturing for export to other markets or to service proximate markets. Anon 10:56 alludes to that application when he/she refers to servicing the offshore development that is expected in the coming years. Anon 10:56 also suggests "green ship demolition and decommissioning" as another application of our advantage that our harbour provides.
History shows ... industries can develop using raw materials from other locations if they can be imported easily and if your location provides an advantage in both importing raw materials and exporting finished products to likely markets. The world is replete with examples of this successful model. Holland does not grow cocoa beans but everyone has heard of dutch chocolate. Nor is it the original home of tulips. And yet , Holland is now known as the home of the flower first introduced during the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1500s. Moreover, it is now recognized world-wide as the commercial centre for the production, research, development and introduction of tulips. In like manner, Antwerp has developed as the world centre for diamond cutting, polishing and related trades and industries. Belgium has no diamonds but the Belgian Congo did. Importing the diamonds to Belgium for finishing served the colonial interests of the day for adding value to raw materials found in distant lands. And, it didn't hurt that Belgium was close to its most likely consumer and industrial markets. Antwerp continues to be one of the primary diamond centres of the world. I mention these simply as examples.... there are thousands more that you may think of yourselves dear readers. In our own back yard, ambulances shipped all over the world but manufactured in Yarmouth!
Sooo.... I think Anon 10:56 has a point when pointing out the disadvantage imposed on our communities because of the under-investment in land transportation in our area. On the other hand, if we focus on developing container traffic to provide materials for manufacturing and assembly businesses in Shelburne County and for exporting products assembled and manufactured here .... maybe there is a more localized container opportunity that would also support the development of new local industries.
And.... if we can bring containers here to support local manufacturing, and we have the ship-buildng and offshore supply businesses going, maybe we could even start a container manufacturing, repair and/or servicing facility to complement our other efforts in this area.
NOW... if you can add to that model the introduction of value-added industries that we might grow from our own natural resources.... you might have the makings of a diversified economy that would not only sustain the communities in Shelburne County but might actually prompt vigorous socio-economic development ... and we've only started the discussion!
For Example ... someone recently wrote about the possibility of manufacturing the massive windmills that are key to the development of renewable energy around the world, here in Shelburne. Given their size, delivery of these windmills lend themselves to ocean transport over land transport as does the importation of raw materials and manufactured components for their assembly. When added to the Black Bull raw materials that can be used to manufacture solar panels, a whole new group of green industries might not only lend themselves to our County's industrial base... but may even help us increase our own energy self-sufficiency, while making Black Bullmore competitive and viable while reducing the environmental impact of shipping large volumes of raw materials down Water Street in Shelburne.
Anyway dear reader and especially Anon 10:56... that's the way I see it this morning. Remember, Plato taught his students that reality was in many ways dependent on perspective .... the harbour you see is different than the one I see although it is the same harbour..... and both perceptions of its reality are legitimate and worthy of consideration when looking for opportunities!
PS.... If you don't mind, I am saving my comments re Education, Tourism and Service industries for a later blog...... You'd be surprised how they might be linked to the present discussion!