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Port of Prince Rupert delivers record year. Seizes volume from US ports

PortandTerminal.com, January 20, 2020

A record total of 29.9 million tonnes of cargo was moved through the Port of Prince Rupert in 2019, the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) has reported.

PRINCE RUPERT, BRITISH COLUMBIA – The Port of Prince Rupert announced on Friday that it had a recorded a record year in cargo volume in 2019. The nearly 30 million tons of cargo it moved through the port in 2019 was up by +12% shattering its previous record set in 2018.

Map of Canada and the Northwestern United States with a red call-out showing the location of the Port of Prince Rupert

Much of that growth has come at the expense of American Ports as was highlighted in a recent AJOT interview given by Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach.

Cordero noted the growing threat of Canada’s Pacific coast port complex at Prince Rupert during the interview. He highlighted the fact that California and other U.S. ports face a cost disadvantage because they pay the U.S. Harbor Maintenance Fee on imported ocean freight while containers entering the United States from Canada via Prince Rupert do not have a similar assessment

Supporting the overall positive trend at Prince Rupert was the strong performance at DP World’s Fairview Container Terminal with over 1.2 million TEUs at an increase of 17% over 2018.

DP World's Fairview Container Terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert. Two ships being loaded at the docks. Snow dusted mountains in background
DP World’s Fairview Container Terminal moved 1.2 million TEU in 2019, an increase of 17% over 2018

The addition of propane volume through AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal, and growth in coal handled at Ridley Terminal where cargo levels were up 18% over the previous year also boosted the total growth.

Northland Cruise Terminal also saw a year-over-year increase in passenger volumes of 35%, totalling over 12,400 visitors to Prince Rupert through cruise travel.

In 2019, several infrastructure projects supporting growth and diversification at the Port of Prince Rupert were announced, including the Ridley Island Export Logistics Park, the Zanardi Bridge and Causeway Project, and the Metlakatla Import Logistics Park.

All of these developments have been supported by the Government of Canada’s C$153.7 million ($117.6 million) investment through its National Trade Corridors Fund.

Moreover, construction commenced on PRPA’s Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor. The 5.5-kilometre corridor will provide a physical platform for two new rail sidings and a private two-lane haul road between Fairview Container Terminal and Ridley Island.

An anticipated C$2 billion ($1.53 billion) in capital expansion projects starting in 2020 will support further cargo growth, including DP World’s Fairview Terminal expansion project that will bring the terminal’s capacity up to 1.8 million TEUs by 2022; the Vopak Pacific Terminal project, which is currently undergoing its environmental assessment and expects to make a final investment decision in 2020; as well as Pembina’s Prince Rupert Export Terminal, which is currently under construction and anticipates being operational in late 2020.

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