Ocean technology industry in Nova Scotia makes a splash at overseas conference

May 5, 2015

The Burnside area of Dartmouth is already known as the hub of the ocean technology industry in Nova Scotia, but now, some of the giants of the oceaneering business in Halifax and the surrounding region are beginning to gain international acclaim.

As Daily Business Buzz reported, no fewer than 19 ocean technology enterprises from Atlantic Canada were present at this year's Ocean Business exhibition and conference, which was held in Southampton, England, last month. Attendees included representatives from 13 Nova Scotia-based enterprises, five of which have a presence in Burnside:

  • EMO Marine Technologies Ltd. (Dartmouth)
  • Geospectrum Technologies Inc. (Dartmouth)
  • Hawboldt Industries Ltd. (Chester)
  • JouBeh Technologies (Dartmouth)
  • Metocean Data Systems (Dartmouth)
  • Omnitech Electronics Inc. (Dartmouth)
  • Open Seas Instrumentation Inc. (Musquodoboit Harbour)
  • Pro-Oceanus (Bridgewater)
  • Rolls-Royce Naval (Dartmouth)
  • Romor Ocean Solutions (Dartmouth)
  • Vemco (Shad Bay)
  • Xeos Technologies Inc. (Bedford)

Strong turnout underscores calibre of local ocean technology industry

As Nova Scotia Business Inc. pointed out, Atlantic Canadian companies' robust presence at the event was not exactly surprising – after all, Nova Scotia is home to the highest concentration of ocean technology businesses in North America.

"The fact that 13 of the participants … are located in or around HRM speaks to the area's capabilities in nurturing and supporting the ocean technology sector," noted Ronald Levesque, a communications officer with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as quoted by Daily Business Buzz.

The ACOA, in partnership with the provincial governments of Atlantic Canada, contributed $100,000 to fund the representatives' trips. According to Levesque, the money was put toward networking and booth-related costs – a small price to pay for cultivating connections to strengthen international business in Canada and establish companies from the Atlantic provinces on the world stage.

One attendee – Nick Birchill, vice president of sales and marketing at MetOcean Data Systems – noted that the conference did not favour large corporations over smaller enterprises. Instead, the layout gave every organization the chance to showcase itself on an even playing field, which benefited less well-known businesses. This was the perfect setup for companies that have a lot to offer despite their low name recognition, a description that fits many oceaneering firms in Atlantic Canada.

Thumbs up

"We're a hidden industry in some ways, but we're doing it right," asserted Nasser Sayah, director of sales and marketing for JouBeh, as quoted by Daily Business Buzz.

Tidal energy sector offers more good news

Shortly before the conference, the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia released a report that detailed the potential economic advantages associated with growing the tidal energy industry in the province. The report, titled "Value Proposition for Tidal Energy Development in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and Canada," was supported by the ACOA and the provincial government. Researchers found that capitalizing upon tidal energy could add up to $1.7 billion to Nova Scotia's GDP over the next quarter-century, create as many as 22,000 jobs and generate as much as $815 million in direct labour income.

Today, existing ocean technology enterprises in Atlantic Canada are attracting global attention. Tomorrow, tidal energy promises to benefit Nova Scotian businesses, residents and the economy as a whole.

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