Monday, November 14, 2022

Prince Rupert Port Authority hails agreement for Northland Cruise Terminal Operations with Global Ports Holding

Video from the 2022 season, things may soon be very busy in 2023 and beyond for the Prince Rupert Cruise Industry

The operations of the Northland Cruise Terminal will be very different in 2023, that following an announcement this morning from the Prince Rupert Port Authority that they have entered into a terminal operating agreement for facility with Global Ports Holding PLC, a major provider of services to the global cruise industry.

The global Ports Facility operator offering up the prospect of over 250,000 visitors per year once they put their operations plans into motion.

The focus of the work ahead for GPH will be to follow up on the successful return of the Cruise industry in 2022, with the global service provider to operate Northland Cruise Terminal, as well as manage the shore excursion program and oversee all cruise scheduling and passenger services at the Port of Prince Rupert 

Prince Rupert will soon be added to the GPH global ports map
as the international Cruise industry group arrives on the North Coast to
take up operations of the Northland Cruise Terminal

With Prince Rupert a gateway towards the Alaska Cruise industry, the announcement today notes of how GPH will help to develop Prince Rupert as a destination of choice and help to build the industry footprint. 

In their statement today, the PRPA also notes how this marks first North American port that GPH will add to their portfolio. 

GPH is the world’s largest independent cruise port operator with 26 cruise ports in 14 countries currently under its management. With a global network of award-winning ports and terminals, GPH has an established track-record in destination development and cruise port operations. Prince Rupert is the first port in North America in the company’s portfolio and its first foray into the Alaskan market. 

GPH is uniquely positioned to transfer best practices to its future Prince Rupert operations, focusing on operational excellence and exceptional shore-excursion development. Building on the company’s strong global reputation for cruise destination development, it will bring considerable demonstrated experience in the areas of business-to-business tourism marketing and the ability to leverage its existing vast network of cruise industry relationships, making it an ideal strategic partner for cruise tourism growth in northern BC.

The agreement will span the next ten years and the full scope of what will come from the relationship is outlined by PRPA  President and CEO Shaun Stevenson.

“This 10-year agreement signifies the wealth of opportunity that exists in the Alaskan cruise theatre, and the key role the Port of Prince Rupert can serve in its future growth. 

Prince Rupert’s value proposition to cruise visitors is a strong one – a natural port of call on an Alaskan itinerary, a rich and diverse cultural history, and spectacular north coast scenery as a backdrop. 

GPH has the expertise to elevate cruise tourism in the area to meet Prince Rupert’s vision of growing a thriving cruise sector as a world-class destination, with significant economic benefits for the local community and surrounding region.” 

How the next ten years may look is also explained in today's announcement

Under the terms of the TOA, GPH will assume cruise-related operations in 2023. These operations include managing the local, integrated cruise passenger shore excursion program, managing the cruise schedule and the relationships with cruise lines calling on Prince Rupert that underpin it, while attracting additional lines to the destination to grow the business, and ensuring cruise passenger services meet the highest standards of quality.

The potential impact that GPH may bring to the region was also noted by Mike Maura Jr., the Regional Director  for Americas of Global Ports Holdings, with a significant surge in visitors in the years ahed, making for part of the narrative to their notes for today.

“With its strategic location within the Alaskan cruise theatre, its rich Ts’msyen culture and history, and its breathtaking landscapes, the Port of Prince Rupert has immense potential to meet the rising demand from the cruise industry and accommodate the increasing volume and size of cruise ships. 

We believe that Prince Rupert has a realistic path to seeing weekly cruise calls and up to 250,000 passengers annually. As GPH, we look forward to working in partnership with the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the Cruise industry and the local community as we bring our global expertise and operating model to the port.”

The World's largest port operator was quick to hail their agreement with the Port, placing it prominently on their website today.

A look at their network of global ports and how they service them can be reviewed here.

The name of interest for local stakeholders to make note of is Kevin D'Costa, who will be he GPH official that will be will be looking to engage with the local operators when it comes to services and tour options.

An important part of the effort to provide more excursion alternatives, GPH has added industry veteran, Kevin D’Costa to the team. Kevin’s focus will be to assist local operators in developing an array of exciting new alternatives for cruise guests while maintaining the high level of service provided to the cruise lines themselves. 

From the GPH statement, Colin Murphy, Head of Business Development outlined the enthusiasm that the the company has for their entry into the North American cruise theatre.

“Prince Rupert is a beautiful unspoilt destination and has tremendous potential as a key player in the Alaska market. We are looking forward to working with our cruise partners to improve the guest experience, working with the local community to add more exciting shore excursion opportunities, and driving more traffic.” 

GPH also offered up a glimpse of the region for their customers and partners as part of their announcement.

The untouched and pristine destination of Prince Rupert is home to unique and rich Indigenous culture & traditions, a vibrant art scene, as well as abundant wildlife. 

From its parks & trails, its remote grizzly bear sanctuary and scenic community views, Prince Rupert is a unique destination on the North Coast of Canada & often referred to as the “City of Rainbows.” 

A culturally rich and diverse community with a long history of Coast Ts’msyen habitation, Prince Rupert is the only municipality situated in the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world.

The full statement from the PRPA today can be reviewed here.

Mote background on the Prince Rupert Cruise Tourism sector can be explored through our archive page.


  1. let's give the same level of scrutiny to the PRPA that you normally give to the City:

    No financial details were provided.

    No word on how this arrangement may affect existing cruise tour operators.

    And a distinct lack of detail in the release pertained to the rationale for the necessity of this move.

    Also no comments or commitments were made in the release in regards to the hiring of local labour.

    It remains to be seen whether a group without a presence in North America, let alone Canada, let alone BC, let alone Northern BC... can adjust to the particular reality of Prince Rupert from their headquarters in Istanbul, Barcelona, or London.

    1. The PRPA managed close to 40 000 visitors this past year. They found a partner with a plan to get to 250 000 visitors annually. A partner who specializes in destination development and shore excursions. What is there to scrutinize?

      As for the "local labour" comment, are entrepreneurs and small business owners in the tourism industry not local labour?

    2. "What is there to scrutinize?" --> see all of the above referenced points and provide info for the unanswered questions please!

    3. Someone's thirsty,
      Financials - Join a GPH shareholder call, or a PRPA public meeting ask the question.
      Impact to local cruise operators - GPH has a track record, there is no reason to think local operators are not in good hands given their delivery in other regions where they have had success.
      Details - It's a press release, 40 000 current year 250 000 ten year goal pretty self explanatory.
      Local Labour - Apparently you do not count regional entrepreneurs and local tourism operators as local labour.
      Market presence - Businesses can enter new markets. and succeed without a presence. Alaska Marine Ferry, Citywest, Aquilini investments, FJM investments, multiple ocean carriers have done so and will continue to in Prince Rupert and other communities, regions, and countries around the world.

  2. It's a media release, not a lengthy vision statement, and PRPA is a corporation, not an elected government that claims to be transparent. The cruise industry is international and highly competitive, so a partnership with an international operator is probably a good idea.

    1. PRPA is not a corporation. they are an agent of the crown. they are a government entity. they are owned by canadians (and by extension, rupertites). and yes, they do claim to be transparent.

      their media release should at least be able to answer some of the basic questions from the previous commenter.

  3. If I was Prince Rupert Tourism / Economic Development, Metlakatla and Lax Kw'alaams. I'd be calling GPH and pitching a gondola restart.