Transformation, Transportation or Speculation? The Prince Rupert Container Port and its Impact on Northern British Columbia

Gary Wilson, Tracy Summerville


Much of the discussion around the port development has focused on the positive impacts that the container port will have on the regional economy. As the opening quote suggests, the port is being hailed a piece of “transformational infrastructure”, creating numerous opportunities for economic diversification in northern British Columbia. In this sense, therefore, it is widely expected that the container port will help to move the northern economy beyond the type of traditional resource dependency outlined by scholars such as Harold Innis (Drache, 1995). We will argue, however, that there are at least two other potential outcomes or scenarios concerning the port’s development and its impact on northern British Columbia which call into question some of the assumptions made by the port’s proponents. First, the port might be a great success as a gateway to a transportation corridor that stretches across western Canada and into the United States, but have little or no positive impact on the northern British Columbia economy. Second, the port might not live up to the expectations that have been set nationally or locally neither as a transportation gateway nor as a piece of transformational infrastructure


ports, transportation, shipping

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125