September 18, 2020 — The Association of BC Marine Industries (ABCMI) and the Association of Pacific Ports (APP) are pleased to announce a collaboration agreement that includes reciprocal membership in both associations for Canadian ports. Noting that the two organizations share many goals – creating opportunities for growth, addressing issues such as maritime workforce and skill development, and promoting best practices and innovative technologies to name just a few – ABCMI Executive Director Alex Rueben and APP Executive Director Jane McIvor expressed excitement about the potential for collaboration. “While ABCMI membership is focused on the industrial marine sector of Canada’s West Coast, many of the issues identified here are equally relevant for other jurisdictions,” Rueben said. McIvor agreed, adding such things as efficient port access, streamlining of permitting processes, and the scarcity of industrial land to the list of issues of interest for both organizations.

Established in 2015, ABCMI’s membership encompasses six sectors: shipbuilding and ship repair, industrial marine services, marine professional services, marine products, small craft marine construction and repair, and ocean science and technology. In 2019, these sectors generated a total output of $6.8 billion and contributed a total of $3.7 billion in GDP to the provincial economy. These sectors comprise 1,039 companies, directly employing 21,925 workers and sustaining a total of 32,820 jobs in the province. Within the industrial marine services sector, Rueben sees port infrastructure as an area where a joint effort could realize positive results. “For example,” he said, “the supply of drydock space in British Columbia is under capacity. Working with the APP and Canadian ports could provide the catalyst needed to provide solutions.”

From McIvor’s perspective, the technology sector within the ABCMI could provide APP members throughout the Pacific with ideas and solutions for local issues. “Having a familiarity with the innovations being developed in British Columbia, I can see many applications that would provide significant benefits for our membership,” she said. “Our mandate to promote best practices and new technologies will most assuredly be furthered by this collaboration.”

Another area where interests cross is the recruitment and development of a skilled workforce for the maritime industry. Both Rueben and McIvor noted strong competition from other industries in efforts to attract a younger generation to a career in the marine industry. “The Port of Stockton, California, for example, implemented an Internship Program which, from the recruitment process through to apprenticeship practices and evaluation, provides a great road map on how to develop an effective program for both the organization and the student,” said McIvor. Using examples like this will strengthen ABCMI’s efforts as they develop proposed similar initiatives in partnership with the B.C. Provincial Government and industry sectors.

As the collaboration between the two associations moves forward, McIvor and Rueben will be working together to identify those areas where the alignment of goals will provide the greatest opportunities for members. Engagement of members through co-hosted events, showcasing best practices and lessons learned, and providing a forum where common issues can be discussed will only serve to strengthen the value that both associations are providing to their members.

For more information on the ABCMI:

For more information on the APP:

Jane McIvor                                                                                                          Alex Rueben
Association of Pacific Ports                                                                               Association of BC Marine Industries
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