SAINT JOHN – When Port Saint John CEO Jim Quinn looks out his office window, he sees the influence of J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) everywhere – the tugboats, the dredging vessels, the container ships carrying lumber to foreign ports, and the rail lines and trucks that bring products in and out of the port.
“The JDI companies in our port are so essential – Atlantic Towing, Harbour Development, Irving Equipment,” says Quinn. “These are companies that keep this port going and provide those support services that are so essential in moving ships in and out of here and providing employment for so many people.”
Jim Irving, co-CEO of JDI, will be presented with the 21st annual Port Award of the Year for outstanding contributions at a Port Days luncheon, June 11. It will take place from noon to 1:30 pm and feature Premier Blaine Higgs as the keynote speaker.
“When we looked at the things Jim has done in terms of building businesses that directly affect our port, we thought it was time to honour him and those JDI enterprises,” says Quinn.
“JDI has a big presence in our port through its various companies and also a big presence in our region. The impact his companies have throughout Atlantic Canada is pretty significant.”
The Port Award of the Year was introduced in 1998 and over the years many key port stakeholders have been recognized, from stevedoring companies and cruise lines to the general manager of the Saint John Seafarers Mission and Saint John Harbour Pilots.
Quinn says Irving belongs in that select group because JDI is essential to the success of the port and the export economy in the province. He says the transportation links provided by New Brunswick Southern Railway (NBSR) and JDI trucking companies illustrate their central role in port activities.
“An airplane without wings isn’t much of an airplane and a port without rail lines isn’t much of a port,” says Quinn. “NBSR connects us to CN and also gives us access to other Class 1 railways.”
“You also have to look at the trucking component of JDI. The majority of the containers that are exported through our port are road-based containers. They’re coming in from all parts of New Brunswick – the north, east and southwest. JDI’s involved in that network – not on an exclusive basis but it’s one of the companies that help make that logistics chain work.
Quinn says Irving is also being honoured for the charitable work that JDI and the port are heavily invested in, most notably the PALS program that supports area schools and vulnerable children.
“So much of what we do is in alignment with what JDI is trying to do – the best example is PALS,” says Quinn. “This is one cause that we really get behind and it’s so wonderful to be part of something that was initiated by the JDI group.”
Ultimately, Quinn says, Irving is a supportive person and invested in the success of the port, its people and the community as a whole.
“JDI has been such a key partner and so supportive of the work we do here. Mr. Irving has also been very generous with his time on a personal basis. He’s opened the door and said, ‘anytime you need to get advice or anytime that you need help, call me.’ He’s very serious about that. He wants to help build the port and put it to work.”
Port Days takes place June 9-11 at the Saint John Trade & Convention Centre. To register for the conference and buy tickets to the lunch honouring Jim Irving and popular annual events like the golf tournament and the Seafood Fiesta, attended by 750 people each year, visit the online registration page for Port Days. Beginning Monday, you can only buy tickets at the registration desk at the Saint John Trade and Convention Center. Call 632-8590 for more information.
This story is sponsored by Port Saint John.