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Paula Copeland
Port Saint John

An Inclusive Approach to Port Management: Stakeholder Engagement in Practice at Port Saint John

Port Saint John, Canada’s fourth largest port by tonnage, is an historic port with foundations in the development of Canada. Not unlike many east coast North American ports, the city that became Saint John grew over a period of more than 400 years, due to commerce and industry created by the port. As with all port cities, the Port is a key economic generator but can only exist with a social licence to operate. In Saint John the Port faces the need to modernize wharf/pier and cargo handling infrastructure in order to benefit from opportunities present in today’s marketplace. Instilling this idea and gaining support in the region became an objective of the port management team. This objective continues to be vital, to ensure support for modernization and growth of the Port—an essential component of local and regional prosperity. Seeking to achieve these objectives and recognizing the opportunity for a paradigm shift, with the support and guidance of its board of directors, the port management team embarked on a new strategic direction four years ago which has led to increased partner collaboration and ever growing support from the community and policy makers. The overall goal of the Port over the past four years has been to ‘raise our game’ as part of the community and establish a creative and collaborative vision to achieve the best outcomes and economic benefits via sustainable business development practices and economic growth. This has been achieved through development and implementation of a Port Saint John designed stakeholder engagement model. Four years into implementation of this strategic engagement process, the inclusion model and its benefits warrant a thorough review.

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