Administration of Ports and Harbours

AuthorEdgar Gold; Aldo Chircop; Hugh M. Kindred; William Moreira
Although the statement that Canada is not a maritime state in the true
sense of the expression1 is arguably correct, there can be little doubt
that Canada i s a trading nation. This is the result of Canad a’s historical
and continuing role as a signif‌icant exporter of its abundant natural re-
sources. Although since Confederation the United States has been Can-
ada’s principal trading part ner,2 in the last few decades tr ade with other
regions, in particular seaborne trade with the Asia-Pacif‌ic region, has
grown rapidly. As the volume of this seaborne trade has increased so
has the importance of Canadian ports as gateways to foreign markets.
Over 95 percent of the commodities and processed goods Canada
exports annually to other countries, not including the United States,
are transported by sea.3 In total, goods discharged from and loaded to
ships at Canadian port s, which includes ports administered by port
1 See Chapter 2, Se ction (3).
2 At this ti me approximately 75 percent of the value of Can ada’s trade is with the
United States w ith approximately 20 percent of the goo ds Canada export s to
the United State s carried by sea from C anadian ports. As sociation of Canadia n
Port Authorities (ACPA), “Industry Inform ation Canadian Port Indus try”
(2013), online: ACPA ndustry/industr y.html [ACPA , “In -
dustry I nformation”].
3 Ibid.
authorities and by smaller regional or private ports, exceeds approxi-
mately 500 million tonnes annually.4
The term port is generally used to describe a geographical loca-
tion consisting of harbour boundaries and adjacent uplands on which
businesses, typically providing marine related services are located.5
Types of service providers located within port boundaries include mar-
ine terminal operators, vessel agents, shipyards, ships’ stores suppliers
(or chandlers), bunker fuel suppliers, emergency response contractors,
marine pilots, and tug and tow boat operators.
Typically after a ship has docked at a marine terminal, longshore-
men, employed by the terminal operators, unload or load the ships.
Marine terminal operators may operate their facilities on privately held
lands or in some cases Crown lands leased from port authorities or the
federal or provincial government. Cargo handling services are generally
provided to ships in accordance with terminal operating agreements
between vessel owners and the terminal operators and, often, according
to published tariffs.
Local ships’ agents typically make arrangements for a ship’s oper-
ational needs, including provisioning by local chandlers, completion
of repairs by local shipyards, and hiring of tugs. Ships’ agents also deal
with regulatory matters such as arranging for pilots and customs clear-
ance and interfacing with other agencies such as marine traff‌ic control
centres and port authorities.
For obvious reasons marine terminals are almost always located on
lands adjacent to major roads or rail systems. As such, ports serve as the
interface between these land-based transportation systems and marine
transportation. Cargo is delivered to and carried from marine terminals
via domestic transportation systems including trucking companies and
railways, who move cargo to and from the marine terminal to inland
destinations where the cargo is stored, aggregated or distributed, de-
pending on whether it is import or export cargo.6 A variety of other fed-
eral agencies conduct inspections pursuant to, for example, the Canada
Shipping Act, 2001,7 the Customs Act,8 and the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency Act.9
4 Ibid. See ACPA, “Public Relation s Port Industry Facts” (2007), online: ACPA /pr/facts.html [ACPA, “Public Relation s”].
5 Port has been def‌ined t o mean a “[h]arbour havi ng facilities for ships to moor
and load or disch arge.” Peter Brodie, Diction ary of Shipping Terms, 3d ed (Lon-
don: LLP Limite d, 1997) at 148.
6 ACPA, “Public Relation s,” above note 4.
7 SC 2001, c 26, s 11.
8 RSC 1985, c 1 (2d Supp).
9 SC 1997, c 6.

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