Transparency remains a remarkably under-analyzed notion in port studies internationally, and Canada is no exception.
Over the last three decades, many governments globally have reformed port governance from central government management to more autonomous ports but their practices do not necessarily reflect 21st-century public expectations for transparency.
In this phase of their research, PortEconomics members Mary Brooks, Geraldine Knatz, Thanos Pallis and Gordon Wilmsmeier extend their earlier study (see the technical report: PortReport No 5) – that explored the availability of the information available to the general public and port stakeholders through a port’s most public face—its website. That study explored 59 separate items to identify transparency practices by ports, revealing uneven levels of port transparency as well as the need for further improvements in that transparency. The study found that, within each region, transparency levels in decision-making governance, the reporting of these decisions, and the consequent port activities were found to be inconsistent. Reporting on relations with stakeholders and public consultations was irregular.
This follow-up research focuses on what factors of transparency are important to Canadians, reflecting the views of various port professionals, users, and stakeholders. It takes a closer look at what needs to be made visible (and to whom), and what is seen as appropriate verification of what is reported: that is, two of four factors of transparency,
A summary of those findings was presented at the Canadian Transport Research Forum (CTRF) 2021 held in May 2021.