Port operations


What government approvals are required in your jurisdiction for a port operator to commence operations following construction? How long does it typically take to obtain approvals?

Approvals for a port project are typically acquired prior to the start of construction. These will be obtained from the CPA, other applicable federal regulatory bodies and in some cases applicable provincial regulators. The issuance of these approvals can take from weeks to years depending on the size and complexity of the project and how many regulators are involved.

Once project approvals have been issued, construction has been completed, and any inspections or confirmations required by the project approvals have occurred, the port operator can then commence operations.

Typical services

What services does a port operator and what services does the port authority typically provide in your jurisdiction? Do the port authorities typically charge the port operator for any services?

CPAs provide the services listed in question 6 and also promote the competitiveness of the CPA as compared to other ports and advocate on behalf of the marine industry. The CPA charges fees that are collected through its tenants or from vessel owners in the case of harbour dues.

Access to hinterland

Does the government or relevant port authority typically give any commitments in relation to access to the hinterland? To what extent does it require the operator to finance development of access routes or interconnections?

Access to interconnections by road or rail is handled on a case-by-case basis involving negotiations with the railway line servicing the CPA’s premises or the neighbouring municipalities. CPAs will typically work to facilitate access, and in some cases may contractually commit the CPA to additional infrastructure investment, subject to whatever arrangements the CPA and the terminal operator make for cost recovery by the CPA.


How do port authorities in your jurisdiction oversee terminal operations and in what circumstances may a port authority require the operator to suspend them?

CPAs manage terminal operations through their contractual arrangements (which focus on land operations) and the CPA’s general by-laws (which focus on marine operations).

Port access and control

In what circumstances may the port authorities in your jurisdiction access the port area or take over port operations?

If there is a breach of the agreement between the CPA and its operator or tenant, the remedies available to the CPA may permit the CPA to take over operations at that facility. Most CPAs also maintain the ability to retake terminals and other CPA property in the case of a national emergency or other public purposes justification.

Failure to operate and maintain

What remedies are available to the port authority or government against a port operator that fails to operate and maintain the port as agreed?

Remedies are based on the terms of the lease or concession agreement and any enforcement measures which are available to the Port Authority pursuant to the Canada Marine Act and its regulations.

Transferrable assets

What assets must port operators transfer to the relevant port authority on termination of a concession? Must port authorities pay any compensation for transferred assets?

Most CPA agreements provide that any improvements to the property revert to the CPA at the end of the agreement without any compensation to the operator. Parties may negotiate exceptions to this for improvements that either the CPA knows it will want removed, or ones that the operator knows it will want to take and the CPA is preparing to allow them to take.