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Anticipating Change… Progress Through Port Diversification

Aport with all its eggs in one basket is unlikely to succeed in the long run. But just how does one attract a fresh line of business, such as cruise for a cargo port, LNG for a breakbulk port, or international trade for a domestic port?

By Lori Musser

As commodity or economic cycles wax and wane, so too will a port’s level of success. However, as regulations, asset utilization, resource availability, technologies and competition evolve, so too can a port’s opportunities. Cyclicality isn’t usually a problem on the upswing, but when a line of business declines, a port needs alternatives.

A port whose leadership anticipates change and proactively seeks opportunities to diversify profit centers will stand a better chance of prospering. Shaun Stevenson, vice president of trade development and public affairs at the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said a critical leadership role is to look at opportunities through a strategic lens. Paraphrasing hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Stevenson said ports must skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. He explained that the hallmark of leadership, at least in Prince Rupert’s port experience, is recognizing where trade is heading – a truly complex task.

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