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
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.
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