While the last 20 months have been a time of unprecedented uncertainty and challenge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Prince Rupert has maintained resiliency, reliability, and competitiveness as a global trade gateway. At the close of 2020, the Port set another record for annual cargo volumes with 32.4 million tonnes of cargo passing through the Port of Prince Rupert – nine percent more than in 2019.
While regions around the world have faced economic downturns, job losses, and supply chain disruptions, northern BC’s most vital trade corridor has maintained reliable and efficient operations, thanks to its dedicated workforce and diversified cargoes. Essential port operations also provided important economic stability for the local region while ensuring essential goods made it to market and supply chains through the gateway continued, unimpeded.
According to a new Economic Impact Assessment, conducted on behalf of the recently established Prince Rupert Gateway Council – a group comprised of the employers, industries, and labour organizations that make up the trade Gateway – employment in port-related activities has more than doubled over the past decade and the movement of goods has increased by over 100% to attain the annual volume record of 32.4 million tonnes, thanks to the vast contributions of Gateway partners. Annual trade moving through the Port of Prince Rupert is now valued at $60 billion, reaffirming Rupert’s position as the third largest Port in Canada by value of trade.
“The Prince Rupert Port Authority is delighted to see the long-term, successful partnership amongst key Gateway contributors formalized through the formation of the Gateway Council,” said Shaun Stevenson, President & CEO of Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA). “Collectively, the shared vision of a prosperous and vibrant northern BC economy built on a competitive international trade corridor is becoming a reality that is only further strengthened through collaborative effort.”
Gateway Council members include the Prince Rupert Port Authority, CN, Ridley Terminals Inc., Prince Rupert Grain, DP World Canada, Pinnacle Renewable Energy, AltaGas Ltd., Pembina Pipeline, Ray-Mont Logistics, Quickload Logistics, Coast 2000 Terminals, Gat Leedm Logistics, Vopak Canada and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union.
“This study continues to emphasize that the Port of Prince Rupert isn’t just a Prince Rupert story—its an industry that’s growing in communities throughout northern BC and serves a vital link to market for Canada’s farmers and our agricultural industry,” said Jason Fletcher, President, Prince Rupert Grain. “The region continues to prove itself to be a global player and is reaping the benefits of that with strong employment and wage growth.”
Despite the headwinds caused by COVID-19, the Port has consistently facilitated increased trade in support of Canada’s economic health through the pandemic. The Port’s highest total annual volume to date was led by a rise in exports of coal, propane, and wood pellets with 26% growth in total volume handled at Ridley Terminals Inc., 1,159,207 tonnes in new LPG propane volumes at Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal, and 33% growth in export volume at Westview Pellet Terminal, respectively. Thanks to the diversification of its cargoes, and the commitment and determination to maintain a safe working environment through the pandemic by its Port partners and the men and women working in the Gateway, the Port of Prince Rupert’s operations have remained resilient.
The Port’s reputation for fast and reliable intermodal performance has continued to be strong through 2021, offering customers a fluid and uncongested port of call and gateway into the US Midwest from Asia – a unique feat on the West Coast in today’s volatile supply chain landscape.