In Canada and the United States, a port authority (less commonly a port district) is a governmental or quasi-governmental public authority for a special-purpose district usually formed by a legislative body (or bodies) to operate ports and other transportation infrastructure. In Canada, the federal Minister of Transport selects the local chief executive board member and the rest of the board is appointed at the recommendation of port users to the federal Minister; while all Canadian port authorities have a federal or Crown charter called Letters Patent.
Numerous Caribbean nations have port authorities, including those of Aruba, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Central and South America also have port agencies such as autoridad and consorcio (authority and consortium).
In Mexico, the federal government created sixteen port administrations in 1994–1995 called Administración Portuaria Integral (API) in Spanish, as result of the Lay de Puertos of 1993. These are organized as variable capital corporations (Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable or S.A. de C.V.), with the intent of creating more private investment in a state owned sector.
Port authorities are usually governed by boards or commissions, which are commonly appointed by governmental chief executives, often from different jurisdictions.
Most port authorities are financially self-supporting. In addition to owning land, setting fees, and sometimes levying taxes, port districts can also operate shipping terminals, airports, railroads, and irrigation facilities.
The distinction between inland and being marine is occasionally open to discussion. No distinction is made here between river and Great Lakes ports.
With date of Letters Patent.
St. Lawrence Seaway
Charter date in parenthesis.
Gulf of Mexico
Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway
Listed from northwest to southeast. API is Administración Portuaria Integral.
Gulf of Mexico
- Port Authority of Jamaica, Jamaica
- Barbados Port Authority, Barbados
- Grand Bahama Port Authority, The Bahamas
- Autoridad Marítima de Panamá
- Comisión Portuaria Nacional, Guatemala
- Dirección General de Puertos Empresa Nacional Portuaria, Honduras
- JAPDEVA – Atlantic Port Authority, Costa Rica
- Israel Port Authority
- General Organization of Sea Ports, Bahrain
- Saudi Ports Authority, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- Bintulu Port Authority
- Busan Port Authority
- Gwadar Port Authority
- Indonesia Port Corporations
- Port of Kaohsiung
- Port of Kitakyūshū
- Port of Niihama
- Port of Shanghai
- Port of Singapore
- Port Qasim Authority
- Sri Lanka Ports Authority
- Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
In the United Kingdom operators of ports and harbours become de facto port authorities under several pieces of legislation. Examples include the:
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