Widely praised as a visionary leader, Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO Don Krusel has announced his retirement after guiding the remote port in Northern British Columbia for 25 years. He has notably transformed it into arguably the fastest-growing container port in North America, fostering both Canadian and U.S. trade with Asia.
His last major public event at the port was the ceremony on August 29 celebrating the completion of DP World’s expansion of the Fairview Container Terminal. It has boosted container-handling capacity to 1.35 million TEUs. A former breakbulk facility in a long-dormant port began to be converted in 2007.
Krusel once described the container strategy as “A Hail Mary pass for the port” and earlier this year predicted that Prince Rupert will overtake Montreal as the second-biggest Canadian container port after Vancouver within a decade.
Krusel joined the organization in 1987 as its Chief Financial Officer, and has served as President and CEO since 1992. His retirement caps a remarkable career in which he led the Port through a transition from a small resource port to become a diversified gateway for North American trade, notably with Asia.
PRPA Chief Financial Officer Joe Rektor has assumed the role of interim president and CEO, effective Sept. 11. A search has begun for Krusel’s replacement.
“I am proud of the tremendous accomplishments and growth that have taken place at the port and community of Prince Rupert over the last decade. With the completion of the recent expansion project to make Fairview Container Terminal the second largest terminal in Canada, and the Port well positioned for another decade of exceptional growth, it is an appropriate moment to announce my retirement from the Port and pass the leadership to a new generation,” said Krusel.
PRPA’s Board Chair Bud Smith attributed the Port’s current success to Krusel’s vision of Prince Rupert’s global potential. “Don saw the need for an innovative gateway model that could benefit trade between Canada and Asia, and he led the way in sharing his vision about how Prince Rupert could accomplish that,” said Smith.
Smith said PRPA’s partners, stakeholders and customers will be well served in the transition to a new CEO. “Don leaves the port authority in excellent hands with the leadership team and the organization he has built over the last quarter century.”
During Krusel’s tenure, his tenacity was instrumental in overseeing the conversion of Fairview Terminal from a forest and agri-products facility. Under his leadership, a number of other foundational port projects have been completed, including the development of the Northland Cruise Terminal, Westview Wood Pellet Export Terminal, Ridley Island Road Rail Utility Corridor, Ridley Island project cargo facility.
Throughout his stewardship, Krusel has been an advocate for enhancing the social well-being of the communities of northwest British Columbia through initiatives that include the Port of Prince Rupert Community Investment Fund and the implementation of several landmark First Nations’ accommodation agreements. He has also been an active participant on many boards dedicated to the sustainable development of the Canadian maritime sector, including Green Marine, Ocean Networks Canada, the Western Transportation Advisory Council and the Association of Canadian Port Authorities.