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Port study predicts nearly 5,000 new full-time jobs, video and story

Nearly 5,000 new jobs in northern British Columbia, directly related to Port of Prince Rupert activity, will be created should the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) realize its full-buildout of planned infrastructure and terminals through 2025 and beyond.

The PRPA made the announcement on Monday as it released the Economic Impact of Capital Expansion Plans forecast, outlining everything from job growth numbers in the region to wage statistics to municipal taxes to the City of Prince Rupert and the District of Port Edward.

The study, which was sourced from the port itself, its partners and project proponents, states that 4,780 full-time equivalent jobs will be created, directly related to port activity. An additional 2,090 indirect jobs (generated by industries that supply and support the port business) are also expected to be created, as well as 1,580 induced jobs (impact of employee-spending in the community).

This equates annually to $310 million in additional wages, $59 million in additional taxes for the municipalities of Prince Rupert and Port Edward, $178 million in combined taxes to all levels of government and $400 million annually in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Canada.The forecasted development plan takes into account both current and proposed projects related to the Port’s 2010 Land Use Plan, its 2020 Gateway vision and its ideal diversified cargo breakdown by 2024 consisting of coal (25 per cent of cargo handled), LNG (24 per cent), container (14 per cent), potash (13 per cent), other bulk/break bulk (13 per cent), grain (seven per cent), project cargo (two per cent), pellets (two per cent) and other (0.4 per cent). This volume would total an anticipated 76,610,000 tonnes of cargo. Comparatively, PRPA handled 20,160,000 tonnes in 2014 (with coal, grain and container cargo making up a collective 96 per cent of traffic).

The study makes assumptions for capital investments, and average employment levels and wages, and is predicated on positive final investment decisions, and buildout of two LNG terminals, among other terminal creations and expansions.

Among the projects currently underway or in the planning or speculative stages yet to receive a final go-ahead include expansions of the container terminal and coal terminal, construction of an export logistics park and import logistics park, construction of a dry/liquid bulk terminal, a breakbulk terminal, a minibulk/breakbulk/project cargo terminal and the two LNG terminals.

Currently, the Port employs 3,060 people directly, contributing net tax revenues (in 2014) to Prince Rupert of $6.1 million and $0.7 million to Port Edward.

At full-buildout the PRPA anticipates it could be responsible for 14,000 jobs in B.C., 8,000 of which are directly related to port activity, with a total economic output topping $2.7 billion annually.

Based on the study, 12-year construction activity of the various expansions and terminal creations would create jobs such as architects, plumbers, electricians, project managers, engineers and vendors of materials such as machinery and equipment.

“In addition to the sustained economic benefits of planned infrastructure and terminals, their construction could provide as many as 26,000 person years of employment, $1.7 billion in wages and over $2 billion in GDP,” the press release stated.

The mayors of Prince Rupert and Port Edward also offered their support for the forecast.

“The City of Prince Rupert is looking to the future with renewed optimism as we see even greater opportunities to become a truly global port city. Along with protecting our natural environment and improving quality of life for residents, one of the five points of our Hays 2.0 vision is about supporting sustainable economic growth and diversification for Prince Rupert like that planned by the Port. We are pleased to see their plans coming to fruition and what that will mean for our community,” said Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain.

“The potential for our corner of British Columbia to facilitate this level of trade is remarkable, and something we collectively welcome and are actively preparing for. The availability of new jobs close to home will reduce the number of residents who have to leave the region to find work,” added Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald.

Metlakatla First Nation Chief Harold Leighton also offered words of support for the port’s forecast.

“Our community has seen tremendous benefit from the past and current development of the Port and we look forward to contributing to the immediate build-out and long-term operation of these important pieces of Canadian infrastructure,” said Leighton.

The PRPA’s development plan includes the development of port lands, consisting of 1,000 hectares of federal crown land for terminal related development. This involves the futures of Fairview Container Terminal, the Ridley Island Industrial Site and Lelu Island to comprise “a trade gateway with the capacity to ship over 100 million tonnes of cargo annually”.

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