The Best Place to Do International Business in North America (is still Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Almost six years ago, I penned a piece that demonstrated how Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada is the best place to do international business. And in my usual style, I was right, although, as always, five plus years ahead of my time. And just like I was recently vindicated in my stance on Home Country Sourcing by Buyers Meeting Point, five plus years after the fact, I have been again vindicated in my position by a recent study by The Boyd Company who state that Halifax-Dartmouth (officially known as the Halifax Regional Municipality) is the cheapest corporate headquarters location in North America with big, big savings to be had. In fact, it is 8% cheaper than the lowest head-office cost site in the U.S., the Indianapolis-Carmel-Fishers area and over 30% cheaper than New York City, the most costly North American metropolis in which to operate a corporate headquarters. This is largely, but not entirely, due to very competitive labour costs (which probably has to do with the fact that it doesn’t yet cost a Million dollars to buy a house in the city).

In fact, the study, which notes Halifax’s proximity to Europe and its position as a regional business centre that attracts top graduates, suggests that companies in Toronto and Vancouver should relocate to Halifax because of the cost savings. And based on my previous analysis, and knowledge of the region, I’d say that any multi-national that wants to straddle North America and Europe equally in a typical work day should consider relocating here. Halifax is the San Francisco of the east coast, with warmer summers and some of the most temperate winters in Canada. (Mark Twain wouldn’t be complaining about the cold had he chosen to spend his summer in Halifax!)

And it doesn’t even consider the fact that Halifax Stanfield International Airport — in the midst of a 10-year capital plan to upgrade its facilities, expand services, and enhance the overall airport experience — offers customs services 24/7/365 (with US pre-clearance), handles over 3.5 M passengers annually, and has a main runway that is 10,500 feet which allows the airport to accommodate wide-body and heavy-aircraft for passenger and cargo service, given that 10,000 feet can be considered an adequate length to land virtually any aircraft at sea level — and Halifax Airport is only 150 m above sea level. Or the fact that our port is also expanding, recently adding more Super Post-Panamax Cranes (SPPX) to support its four SPPX container berths. With the deepest container berths on the Eastern Seaboard, the Port of Halifax can simultaneously accommodate two of the largest vessels in existence simultaneously. And given that we’re at least two days faster to Europe than any other Eastern Port, Halifax Gets it There fast!

However you want to look at it, your North American headquarters should be based in Halifax. See you soon!