The City of Terrace is moving forward on plans to conduct a feasibility study for a transload facility, a project that if realized would significantly uplift the economic landscape of the Northwest.
The city approached the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine for its suppport in writing for a $100,000 grant request from the provincial Rural Dividend Fund.
According to city’s manager of economic development, Danielle Myles, the RDKS now joins the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Skeena Sawmills, Chinese developer Taisheng, Rio Tinto and CN Rail with their support to take the small but vital first step for a major in-land port.
If funded, the feasibility study will identify and investigate the best site within Terrace for the facility, and assess the business case for all economic, commercial, financial and managerial components.
Rational behind the project looks at the approximately 60,000 people and industries surrounding the services and supply centre Terrace is known to be.
As the region diversifies its economy from forest-based to other industries, notably within the 2,400-acre industrial park development owned by a Chinese developer marketing large lots for up to 30 factories, a transload facility is vital for the offloading of raw material and then the transport of finished product to China via the Port of Prince Rupert.
Currently, challenging grades make it difficult for CN to efficiently use the industrial park three kilometres east of the rail line, as well effectively serve Rio Tinto in Kitimat.
“With the build out of the industrial park and expansion of the manufacturing sector in Terrace, there is a growing need to consider the feasibility of a transloading and logistics facility to not only support large industrial users, but to provide a service to the current and established users in the aluminum, forestry and construction sectors,” reads a letter seeking RDKS support.
The city recognized the role the Port of Prince Rupert plays in trans-continental trade, but noted that limitations with land availability in their vicinity makes a Terrace transload facility a potentially ideal partner for future growth.
“To support the PRPA in long range planning and dovetail with the City of Terrace’s interests,” the letter continued, “…we see a synergy and mutual benefit to this feasibility study.”