Led by a surge in container traffic through the Fairview Terminal, the Port of Prince Rupert handled 10,596,863 tons 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. 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.” Mr. Krusel points out that the record-breaking 1.8 million tons 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 tons 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 tons in 2008, down slightly from 5,085,771 tons in 2007. RTI experienced an increase in coking coal, petroleum coke and wood pellets, but a decrease of nearly 300,000 tons 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 tons from 5,098,402 tons 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 20