The Michigan Port Collaborative (MPC) will next month conduct a nine-day tour of port and harbor communities throughout the state of Michigan to launch the first ‘full spectrum’ economic impact study of ports ever conducted in this state.
Through a grant provided by the Michigan Waterways Commission, in cooperation with the City of Alpena, the Port Collaborative has hired Dr. Vincent Magnini, PhD., Executive Director of the Institute for Service Research in Virginia Beach, Va. to conduct the study.
Bill Boik, consultant, formerly of the Michigan DNR, is also providing assistance on this project.
According to Felicia Fairchild, Board Chairman of the state wide organization, “Our Collaborative is 501(c) (3) not-for-profit and we have been involved in representing the ports of Michigan for over a decade on issues that are critical to the economic success of all port communities.”
When lake levels dropped drastically in 2009, concern regarding the economic viability of many Michigan ports began to wane at the state and federal levels. The dredging and infrastructure challenges caused by low water levels created a trend in thinking that harbors are an economic liability.
Fairchild added that “We represent the ports of Michigan and we want to change that thinking… Michigan Harbors are the front doors to our communities.”
Several economic impact studies already exist, but most do not include all ports, nor do they include economic drivers for individual ports other than traditional maritime measurements.
According to MPC, many ports also attract tourists and ancillary businesses because of special attributes unique to their port communities. However, tourism dollars and additional factors that add economic value to individual ports have not been included in previous studies.
MPC board members will meet with port representatives in their respective regions from May 10th through May 18th.