The Prince Rupert Port Authority’s success creates opportunities across BC’s Northwest.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority’s success creates opportunities across BC’s Northwest.

All hands on deck: The people behind the port’s success

The port may be in Prince Rupert, but the benefits and opportunities stretch across the north

Residents of Northern B.C. know a thing or two about surviving storms.

Resilience takes equal parts preparation and in-the-moment adaptation. Prepare your tools, your shelter and your skills so you have options when the storm hits.

The past year’s health and economic instability has been a storm like no other, but it’s safe to say the Port of Prince Rupert weathered it like true northerners: with a combination of preparation and adaptation — plus a whole lot of grit from the women and men working in the gateway across the Northwest region.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Port of Prince Rupert delivered a record year, moving 32.4 million tonnes of cargo. This achievement is a testament to the hard work of the more than 6,200 people across Northern B.C., whose jobs both directly and indirectly support our gateway,” says Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO, Prince Rupert Port Authority.

FURTHER READING: Prince Rupert Port Authority predicting record breaking years for the decade

A busy port means stability and opportunities for many industries across the Northwest.

From forests and fields to trains, ships and markets overseas

At the beginning of the pandemic, amid factory shutdowns in Asia and locked down economies in North America, container traffic dropped, but several of Prince Rupert’s export terminals thrived.

Pinnacle Renewable Energy’s Westview Wood Pellet Terminal set its own record last year, as continued demand for biofuels as an energy source in Asia and Europe drove their volumes up 19 percent over 2019. AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal marked its first full year of operation last May and safely shipped nearly 1.16 million tonnes of propane on 27 vessels by the end of 2020, providing Canadian energy to homes and businesses in Japan. Ridley Terminals also had an outstanding performance, with coal exports up 26% from 2019, supporting steel-making and other industries in Korea and China.

By year end, other terminals such as Prince Rupert Grain and Fairview Container Terminal also were able to report near identical volumes as 2019.

“All cargo handled at the Port of Prince Rupert represents the energy and commitment of the men and women who made it happen,” Stevenson says. “From forestry and mill workers to truck drivers and railway operators, many people play a part in the process of moving an estimated $60 billion in trade. This year has proven that our strategy to continue diversifying our cargoes and services is the best possible way to protect and grow long-term jobs in our region.”

The Prince Rupert Port Authority gives Canadian businesses easy access to Asian markets.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority gives Canadian businesses easy access to Asian markets.

Post-pandemic prosperity

As terminals and worksites continue to operate under strict health and safety protocols, the Prince Rupert Port Authority is forging ahead on infrastructure planning and projects that will aid in the province’s economic recovery. To bolster those efforts, the Port recently received a $25 million commitment from the Government of British Columbia to support export logistics development.

“Our investment in the Port of Prince Rupert will help create new good-paying jobs in our region, while improving western trade corridors and helping Canadian importers and exporters get goods to market,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “It will support regional businesses and provide the necessary infrastructure to boost our provincial economy to help build back stronger from the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an important investment in the future of Prince Rupert and of B.C. as a whole.”

Sharing the success

Across Northern BC, businesses and producers rely on the Port of Prince Rupert not only as a key trade corridor, but as a local economic generator. Last year, Port operations provided the foundation for $1.5 billion of economic activity in the region and contributed nearly $12 million to local municipal government tax revenue.

To learn more about the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s record year, visit ruperport.com.

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