Mission & History
The Prince Rupert Port Authority is a local port authority constituted under the Canada Marine Act, and Letters Patent issued under the Act, to operate the Port in the Prince Rupert Harbour. We are an autonomous and commercially viable agency, governed by an independent Board of Directors with full control over all Port decisions, with a mandate to facilitate and expand the movement of cargo and passengers through the Port of Prince Rupert.
The Port Authority is responsible for the overall planning, development, marketing and management of the commercial port facilities within Prince Rupert Harbour. This includes ensuring competitive, efficient and timely responses to customer needs and business opportunities. It also means ensuring we facilitate these opportunties in in a manner that is safe, responsible, and sustainable.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority takes an entrepreneurial approach to business development. This approach has resulted in the forging of many strategic alliances and partnerships to move the development of the Port forward into the new millennium.
Our vision is to be a leading trade corridor "gateway" between North American and Asian markets.
Our mission is to develop and grow the Port of Prince Rupert in an economical, safe and environmentally sound manner.
The Port of Prince Rupert is within the traditional territory of the Tsimshian, who have lived and traded in the area for thousands of years. The transportation corridors that developed among the first peoples throughout the region became the backbone of an ever-widening trade network that developed over thousands of years and into the early period of European contact.
Prince Rupert was built in the first years of the 20th century as the railhead for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Plans were drawn for a West Coast port of major stature, and prime waterfront lands were reserved for port and railway development.
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTP) extended from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert and linked with Eastern Canada's Grand Trunk Railway to form the nation's second transcontinental railway. The project's principal promoter and GTP Manager, Charles Melville Hays, lost his life in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. By the time the last spike was driven in 1914, the railway-building era was drawing to a close and Canada was moving into economic recession. The GTP slipped into bankruptcy and shortly after the outbreak of war in 1919, it was absorbed by Canadian National Railways (today's CN Rail).
The city's fortunes turned to fish. Cow Bay became the seat of fishing activities with the advent of the halibut exchange and growth in processing companies such as the Atlin Fish Plant, now the Atlin Cruise Terminal. The fishing industry diversified and over the next 75 years was an economic mainstay.
As the most northerly railhead on the continent of North America, Prince Rupert served as a World War II port of embarkation for the war in the Aleutians and the Pacific. Extensive facilities were built to handle the US and Canadian troops and equipment that silently shipped through the port city.
In 1972 the Port of Prince Rupert was declared a National Harbour and by 1975 construction of its first facility, Fairview Terminal, was completed.
The building and continued expansion of Prince Rupert port facilities provided the impetus for development throughout Northwestern Canada and was an engine driving economic growth in this region.
The creation of the Prince Rupert Port Authority as a governance body occured in 1997, and has overseen the Port's transition from a regional resource port to an emerging North American trade gateway.