The Port Alberni Port Authority was formed July 1, 1999, as a continuation of the Port Alberni Harbour Commission. Under the Canada Marine Act, the Port Authority is mandated jurisdiction of the Alberni Inlet from the Somass River to Tzartus Island.

The inlet is prone to calm waters, is free from any navigational obstacles, is ice free year round, and offers a direct shipping route to the Pacific Rim. With a length of just over 40 kilometres and an average width of roughly 1.5 kilometres, the Alberni Inlet can easily accommodate Panamax size vessels.

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