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PORT OF PRINCE RUPERT WEATHERS PANDEMIC TO SET ANOTHER RECORD YEAR

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.”

#DYK

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.

MAKING A SAFE PORT EVEN SAFER

Coordinating the movement of the hundreds of vessels that call on the Port of Prince Rupert each year involves a team of partners working together. The collective commitment to safe shipping includes undergoing periodic Navigational Risk Assessments, which examine potential hazards, model the impact of future growth and consider ways to continually improve marine safety.

Find out more about PRPA’s Safe Port Action Plan for 2021-22 or visit rupertport.com/marine-operations-safety

SUPPORTING SALMON STOCKS

PRPA launched the Skeena River Salmon Enhancement Program in 2019. The initiative provides $1 million in funding to projects that increase salmon stock productivity, as well as support the maintenance and rehabilitation of critical habitat.

The Port Authority is partnering with SkeenaWild Conservation Trust on the Skeena Sockeye Century Project, research that will play an important role in the future recovery of wild salmon stocks in British Columbia.

SkeenaWild Conservation Trust’s Executive Director Greg Knox says it “will provide the type of scientific insight we need to better protect and enhance wild salmon ecosystems in our region.”

For more information on the Skeena River Salmon Enhancement Program criteria and application process, contact the Community Relations Team via email at community@rupertport.com

LOGISTICS PLATFORM WILL CREATE NEW JOBS AND EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is investing $25 million in the development of the Ridley Island Export Logistics Platform. The project will expand the Port’s capacity for transloading natural resource products from B.C. and other parts of western Canada for containerized transport. It's expected to generate 200 jobs in transloading, and is a critical service addition needed to enable future container growth, which is forecast to generate an additional 2,000 jobs in warehousing, longshore work, rail and trucking for northern B.C. over the next decade.

Harold Leighton, Chief Councillor of Metlakatla First Nation says “the development of the export logistics platform is another opportunity to continue our shared success through both business and employment opportunities.”

Metlakatla First Nation participates in many aspects of the growth of the container business at the Port of Prince Rupert through its agreements, port infrastructure construction projects and entrepreneurial ventures like Gat Leedm trucking, the largest container trucking operation in Prince Rupert.

Transloading is the process of transferring a shipment from one mode of transportation to another.

CONNECTOR CONSTRUCTION CARRIES ON

Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor - Kurt Slocombe Interview 01

Kurt Slocombe, Vice President Gateway Operations and Planning, stands at the northern edge of the Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor.

Crews from the Coast Tsimshian Northern Contractors Alliance, a local First Nations joint venture, have been working around the clock to build the Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor on the Southeastern edge of Kaien Island.

To maintain their safety and reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, the workers were split into separate, rotating teams. They made massive strides on the project throughout 2020 and are now focused on completing dredging and laying the remaining rock to make way for the paving structure. They expect to be finished this spring.

When the Connector Corridor is activated and integrated into Fairview Terminal’s upcoming expansion, it will reroute hundreds of container trucks away from downtown Prince Rupert each day, making public roads safer and less congested.

The new route will also shorten the distance those trucks travel to reach Fairview Container Terminal by 15 kilometres, cutting down on vehicle emissions by an estimated 75 percent.

BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES

Rihanna Innes-Robinson admires a tomato grown in Gitxaala Nation’s community greenhouse, a project supported by the Community Investment Fund.

Community greenhouses, medical diagnostic equipment, playgrounds, sports fields, and search and rescue operation centres represent a handful of the projects that have received support from the Community Investment Fund over the past decade. The Prince Rupert Port Authority dedicates a portion of its annual net income to the program, and so far, $12.5 million has been committed to the Fund, contributing to more than 80 projects across Prince Rupert and the Northwest B.C. region.

Community members take part in a vessel blessing ceremony for Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue in Masset. The vessel was purchased through a contribution from the Community Investment Fund.

Every January, a call goes out for proposals and local organizations are invited to apply for contributions to broad community-based projects, that follow a set of criteria and fall under one of these categories:

  • Health and Wellness

  • Youth and Education

  • Culture and Environment

  • Arts and Recreation

Contact the Community Relations Team at community@rupertport.com for more information about the Community Investment Fund and other sponsorship programs.

PROJECT OF THE DECADE

Shames Mountain Ski Area - Community Investment Fund 10th Anniversary

The Community Investment Fund recently marked its 10th anniversary of completed projects with a series of video updates and a special contest. Shames Mountain Ski Area/My Mountain Co-op garnered the most votes from the public and will receive $10,000 for a future project through the Community Investment Fund.

FACES OF THE GATEWAY

As the administrative assistant for the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Public Affairs and Sustainability Department, Manpreet Toor is responsible for an array of important tasks that rely on her organizational and interpersonal skills. She regularly provides administrative support to all 12 of her teammates, including contacting and scheduling meetings with external parties, tracking project progress, filing expense reports, and formatting documents. Toor describes her position as the “centre point” of her team.

Born and raised in India, Toor moved to B.C. to attend the University of the Fraser Valley, where she earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems. She relocated to Prince Rupert in 2015 and started her career as an administrative assistant at a local accounting firm before applying for her current position at PRPA. Toor says the experience she gained interacting with clients at her prior job prepared her for role at PRPA and that many of the same clerical and time management skills she had honed directly applied.

Tapping into her educational background, Toor has also spent time aiding PRPA’s I.T. Department on several projects and is currently assisting with the rollout of a new customer relationship management system. It’s that variety in her day-to-day routine that keeps Toor motivated, she says “the thing [she] likes most is every day is different, it’s flexible.”

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