Overview

The North American East coast is the largest shipping point in the continent thanks to New York, but what about Nova Scotia? Why does the northern neighbour to America’s largest shipping destination pale in comparison in terms of sheer volume being transported annually?

To best understand why Nova Scotia’s ports fall behind to New York’s we need to travel back in time a bit to the origins of North American east cost globalization.

European discovery of New York was led by the French in 1524 and the first land claim came in 1609 by the Dutch. As part of New Netherland, the colony was important in the fur trade and eventually became an agricultural resource thanks to the patroon system. In 1626 the Dutch bought the island of Manhattan from Native Americans.

In 1664, England renamed the colony New York, after the Duke of York (later James II & VII.) New York City gained prominence in the 18th century as a major trading port in the Thirteen Colonies.

In comparison, Nova Scotia was initially occupied by Mi’kmaq. Over the next 150 years (the 16th and 17th centuries right now) the region was being colonized by European travellers. Major trade didn’t begin in the area until 1605, when the Royal port was established On the north bank of the Annapolis River.

During this time, the New York region had already been well-under way with trade via ocean, and had several ports established in areas like the New York harbour and Erie Canal.

In regards to your question on the areas respective geographic locations, this without a doubt played a pivotol role in the development of each area.

New York hosted significant transportation advancements in the 19th century, including the first steamboat line in 1807, the Erie Canal in 1825, and America’s first regularly scheduled rail service in 1831. These advancements led to the expanded settlement of western New York and trade ties to the Midwest settlements around the Great Lakes.

Due to New York City’s trade ties to the South, there were numerous southern sympathizers in the early days of the American Civil War and the mayor proposed secession. Far from any of the battles, New York ultimately sent the most men and money to support the Union cause. Thereafter, the state helped create the industrial age and consequently was home to some of the first labor unions.

New York’s extremely rapid commercial growth is the main reason why Nova Scotia’s harbour’s hail in comparison to that of America’s largest metropolis.

The great metropolis of New York City is the nerve centre of the nation. It is a leader in manufacturing, foreign trade, commerce and banking, book and magazine publishing, and theatrical production. A leading seaport, its John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. New York is also home to the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in the world. The printing and publishing industry is the city’s largest manufacturing employer, with the apparel industry second.

Conversely, Nova Scotia employs roughly 450,000 and has a GDP of roughly $40 billion. The State of New York on the other hand, employs upwards of 8 million people and boasts a GDP of roughly $1.45 trillion (with a t)

The sheer size of New York’s economy in comparison to Nova Scotia’s makes it utterly impossible for Nova Scotia’s ports to compete with it’s Southern Neighbours. Not to mention, the US has a considerably larger economy than Canada’s, which demands much greater international trade activity to Central and Southern America, as well as Europe and obviously Eastern Asia.

If you’re rooting for Nova Scotia, the future could be looking bright given the proposed tariff restrictions the US government is looking to implement on countries like Mexico and China. These tariffs have been said to reach up to 40% for some countries, which will leave global trading partners no choice but to ship through Nova Scotia and have Canadian companies import these products into the States.

However, I highly question the likelihood of this actually happening, so for the time being, Nova Scotia will continue to receive considerably less imported goods than it’s southern neighbour.

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David McDonald

David McDonald

David is a 19-year-old Canadian student currently attending the University of Guelph. He currently studies Public Management and economics with hopes of one day becoming an accomplished journalist. David enjoys reporting on global events and actively try to make a difference in the world.
David McDonald

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