Port Hawkesbury lies on the Strait of Canso on south Cape Breton Island in northeast Nova Scotia, Canada. Called Ship Harbour before 1860, it was renamed for Charles Jenkinson, the Baron Hawkesbury. Being the terminus for rail and highway connections to the mainland until 1955, it was an important transportation hub. In that year, the Canso Causeway was completed, reducing the port’s influence. Today, the economy of the Port Hawkesbury depends primarily on sulfite pulp million, although it also has companies that focus on producing concrete and building and repairing boats. In 2006, just over 3500 people called Hawkesbury home. Many of those people work in nearby Point Tupper’s industrial park.
The Strait of Canso Superport Corporation created the modern Port Hawkesbury facilities. The Strait Superport was formed in 1996 when stakeholders from the community took over the operation. In 2000, the Strait Superport purchased Port Hawkesbury Pier and the Mulgrave Marine Terminal. Since then, the port has continued to grow, with reconstruction of the wharves and the construction of a new warehouse facility at the terminal.
Port Hawkesbury’s Strait Superport is 20 kilometers long with a depth of 27 meters. Capable of handling vessels of 500 thousand DWT, the port handles cargoes including manufactured goods, pulp and newsprint, petroleum products, gypsum, breakbulk, and seafood. In 2004, 24.8 million metric tons of cargo passed through Port Hawkesbury.
Port Hawkesbury and the Strait Superport are blessed with one of North America’s finest eastern natural deep-water harbors. The Canso Causeway that links Cape Breton and mainland Nova Scotia forms the northern boundary of the Superport and assures that Port Hawkesbury is ice-free all year.