Will Saint John miss the boat?

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SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Speakers presented two opposite visions for the Port of Saint John Tuesday at a National Transportation Week Port Days event.

Dr. Herman Boschken, a professor of organization and management at California’s San Jose State University, says the port should build a new high-tech container terminal to take advantage of the flow of traffic from Asia to North America via the Suez Canal. Such traffic is increasing in importance every day, and Saint John is well positioned geographically to take advantage of this, he says.

The new container terminal would have to consist of four terminals with each terminal having two or three cranes each, according to Boschken. The cost would range between $200 million to $600 million.

Malcolm Ravenscroft, associate director of London Maritime Partnership, on the other hand, suggested Saint John should, “not fight the big ports” and develop itself as a “niche port.” He said smaller ports could compete against the big ports “in three ways: flexibility, flexibility, and flexibility.”

Smaller ports have more flexibility than big shipping lines do, he insists, so they can handle a smaller line’s ship as soon as it arrives at the port, distribute its cargo right away, and keep track of it as it moves.

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