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World Hydrogen Summit in the Netherlands: An interview with Jennifer Cleversey Moffitt, Belledune Po

In the days following the well-attended World Hydrogen Summit in the Netherlands, Belledune Port Authority’s Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Jennifer Cleversey Moffitt reflects on the signing of the MOU with the Port of Rotterdam, what it encompasses and what it can predict for future agreements, the economic prosperity of New Brunswickers and a common vision for Canadians.

We sat down with Jennifer to ask some thought-provoking questions. Here is the interview:

Q: What makes the Port of Belledune an ideal trade partner for European Ports looking to import hydrogen, such as Rotterdam?

A: The Belledune Port Authority is a federal Port authority – one of 17 nationwide. This means that we are not only linked to a vast transportation network including rail, roadway, airports etc., but we also have a mandate to further policy objectives for our country. When Canada and New Brunswick make commitments internationally, the Port becomes a part of the solution. This includes memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Germany and the Netherlands on energy security issues.

Being a part of the port authority network also means we follow legislative requirements strictly and meet the highest standards for environmental review, operational safety and security. As an entity regulated by Transport Canada, we are a safe and trusted asset.

Q: What does the Port of Belledune offer that other ports cannot?

A: We have over 1,600 acres of industrially zoned land and have created relationships with stakeholders and rightsholders that have fostered respectful and meaningful conversations. Being one of the first port authorities in Canada to sign an engagement protocol with First Nations five years ago, the Port has worked diligently to create open communication founded on trust. This positive, mutually beneficial relationship is viewed favourably by potential investors and we are committed to working with developers to bring sustainable and inclusive projects to the region.

Aside from this, the combination of a deep-water port near the mass of land that is already industrially zoned is unheard of in North America. The efficiency of the highway system with rail lines that run directly onto terminals is not a common thing and makes Belledune particularly attractive to investors.

Q: How will developing hydrogen for export benefit New Brunswick, and more broadly, Canada?

A: The Province’s Hydrogen Roadmap study will be the first of its kind in Canada and our Port’s planning of the Green Energy Hub focusing on hydrogen development is the first of its kind among port authorities. This combination of policy, commercial investment and international commitment makes the Province of New Brunswick the logical choice for development of hydrogen.

The Province of New Brunswick is actively reviewing legislation to enable hydrogen development in a thoughtful way. This has included engagement with stakeholders, potential investors and rightsholders. Creating an environment that is welcoming to investors is important and the work the province is doing compliments and supports our port’s development planning.

Q: What specifically enticed the Port of Rotterdam to sign a MOU with the Belledune Port Authority? How might this influence other European ports to follow suit?

A: Being only 2,800 nautical miles from the Netherlands, Belledune is an ideal location – offering a safe and secure connection and corridor for the EU. Signing the MOU with the Port of Rotterdam has linked the Port’s planning to the Dutch government’s recent announcement of €7.5 billion investment in green hydrogen. This equates to nearly $11 billion Canadian dollars! Unprecedented by any country’s standard.

The MOU also has milestones and objectives that align with the Dutch government’s objectives. We are working closely with the Port of Rotterdam and others to ensure they are fulfilling international obligations as an ally – respecting the EU sanctions and restrictions while providing safe and secure energy solutions. We would, of course, abide by the same rules should other ports express interest in signing a similar agreement.

Q: What, in your expert opinion, makes the Port of Belledune stand out among other Canadian Ports?

A: The Port of Belledune’s infrastructure, geographic attributes including land, proximity to Europe and deep water, policy alignment with all levels of government, relationship with First Nations, and people who are working tirelessly to make this an opportunity for energy development in New Brunswick make this place and this vision one of the most attractive in the world.

This combination does not exist anywhere else and investors tell us this regularly.

Q: Having participated in the Summit with colleagues, peers and key competitors/potential strategic partners, what has been the key takeaway?

A: The Belledune Port Authority is poised and ready to be the leader in the global clean and green energy shift.


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