As the Covid-19 pandemic triggered lockdowns and economic disruptions around the world, the Port of Prince Rupert stayed open, keeping vital supply chains flowing. A record 32.4 million tonnes of cargo moved through the Gateway in 2020, an increase of 9 percent over 2019.
The growth was led by a rise in exports of wood pellets, coal, and propane. Pinnacle Renewable Energy’s Westview Terminal delivered its best year ever, exporting 1.47 million tonnes of wood pellets, an increase of 33 percent over 2019. Ridley Terminal saw a year-over-year increase of 26 percent and AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal marked its first full year of operation in May 2020, ending 2020 with 1.16 million tonnes loaded onto 27 vessels bound for Asia.
The rise in bulk shipments helped offset a drop in container traffic, caused by factory shutdowns in Asia and locked down economies in North America. However, as container shipping rebounded in the latter half of the year, vessel calls rose and 1.14 million TEUs moved through DP World’s Fairview Container Terminal by year’s end, a mere 6 percent off the record pace set in 2019. The pandemic also forced the cancellation of the cruise season, having a significant impact on passenger volumes. The Prince Rupert Port Authority is working closely with local stakeholders to ensure the region is ready to welcome back passengers when cruise operations can safely resume.
President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Shaun Stevenson, is lauding the efforts of the hardworking people who, amid strict new health and safety protocols, delivered another record-breaking performance.
“In a year marred by uncertainty, the Port of Prince Rupert has facilitated increased trade activity and remained fluid, thanks to the diversification of our cargoes and the determination of our Port partners and the 6,200 people working in the gateway industry in northern British Columbia who maintained safe, sustainable operations at our terminals and other port-related businesses,” said Stevenson. “Weathering the storms set-off by the Covid-19 pandemic, our Port has handily proven its resiliency, efficiency, and reliability as a key trade gateway for Canada.”
Did you know? Port operations provided the foundation for $1.5 billion of economic activity and contributed nearly $12 million to local municipal government tax revenue last year.