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2008 Cargo Traffic Steady at the Port of Prince Rupert, Despite Global Economic Decline


January 22, 2009

Prince Rupert, B.C - Led by a surge in container traffic through the Fairview Terminal, the Port of Prince Rupert on the north coast of British Columbia, Canada, handled 10,596,863 tonnes in 2008, a moderate increase over 2007, despite a global economic downturn that has resulted in declining traffic through most other North American West Coast ports. Prince Rupert is located about 90 miles southeast of Ketchikan, Alaska.
According to information provided by the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Fairview Terminal handled 181,890 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) from 78 vessels in its first full year of operations, following the facility's opening in late October, 2007. The terminal's throughput for the first six months was 42,555 TEUs, before jumping more than 300 per cent in the second half of 2008 with 139,335 TEUs as a result of the addition of the second COSCO/CKYH Alliance service in July. In the fourth quarter, the terminal operated at greater than 60 per cent of its 500,000 TEU capacity with a throughput of 79,106 TEUs.
"The opening of the Fairview Container Terminal in 2007 was an important step toward connecting the Canadian economy to the developing economies of Asia and solidifying Canada's position as a leader in international trade in the Asia Pacific Region," says PRPA Board of Directors Chair Dale MacLean. "The new express gateway is providing shippers with unparalleled speed and reliability, a competitive advantage in their supply chain management, while the Fairview Terminal has created a solid foundation for economic activity in Western Canada and a stimulus for new investment across the region."
Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) President & CEO Don Krusel says the second half surge in traffic reflects the growing confidence of shippers in the competitive advantages of moving their cargo through the new Asia-North America  express gateway corridor anchored by the Prince Rupert container terminal.
"The PRPA, in conjunction with our CN, Maher Terminals and the COSCO-CKYH Alliance partners, are delivering on our commitment to providing our shipping customers with unparalleled reliability, speed and cost effectiveness," notes Mr. Krusel. "This is more crucial now than ever before because the global economic turmoil is drastically affecting their businesses. The competitive advantages of shipping through Prince Rupert are delivering value to their bottom lines."
Krusel points out that the record-breaking 1.8 million tonnes of container cargo which moved through Fairview Terminal during 2008 is demonstrated proof of the success and value of the government and private-sector investment in the container terminal.
"Fairview Terminal never achieved more than one million tonnes of cargo in any given year during its first 30 years of operation as a bulk/breakbulk facility. Now, after only 14 months of operation, and with considerably more capacity for growth, the terminal is moving 80% more cargo through a brand new trade corridor into North America."  
Ridley Terminals Inc. (RTI) handled 4,847,031 tonnes in 2008, down slightly from 5,085,771 tonnes in 2007.  RTI experienced an increase in coking coal, petroleum coke and wood pellets, but a decrease of nearly 300,000 tonnes of coal as a result of production cutbacks by its coal producing customers.
Throughput at Prince Rupert Grain (PRG) decreased 26.3 per cent in the calendar year to 3,759,517 tonnes from 5,098,402 tonnes as a result of a 33.6 per cent drop in wheat traffic. However, PRG, which handles about 30% of grains moving through Canadian west coast ports, saw an increase in barley, canola and grain screenings in 2008.
The Port of Prince Rupert's cruise business experienced its best cruise season in its five years of operations, welcoming 63 ships and a record 103,635 passengers compared to 99,135 in 2007, and a 21% increase in passengers participating in shore excursion tours, from 25,621 in 2007 to 30,962 in 2008. The continuous improvements in the shore excursion program resonated with more passengers, who spent nearly $2.4 million in the city on tours and excursions in 2008, up 32.4% from 2007 and 267% in 2006. In addition, the total economic impact of the cruise industry in Prince Rupert is estimated to have exceeded $10 million in 2008.
The PRPA also announced that significant progress on the Fairview Terminal Phase 2 expansion and Canpotex potash terminal projects has been made. The planning component for Phase 2, a 1.5 million TEU facility, is 95% complete, including all field and marine work in preparation for construction. The PRPA is anticipating Phase 2 construction to begin in late 2010, dependent upon the concluding of the environmental assessment currently under review by federal regulatory agencies. Meanwhile, Canpotex is well into the feasibility study for its planned new potash handling terminal on Ridley Island. The facility is one of two west-coast terminal projects that will add approximately 11 million tonnes of annual potash shipping capacity to its current 12 million tonnes by the end of 2012.


Source of News:

Prince Rupert Port Authority


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