RTI is waiting to hear from the federal government on the status of its sale. The organization just hired its next president and COO.

RTI still for sale by government exiting coal business

With coal-fired electricity on its way out in Canada, RTI awaits word from the federal government as to the status of its future ownership

With coal-fired electricity on its way out country-wide, Ridley Terminals Inc. is still awaiting word from the Liberal federal government as to the status of its future ownership.

With Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s announcement to phase out coal-fired electricity in Canada by 2030 in late November, the crown corporation Ridley Terminals (RTI) is still announced as for sale by a government looking to get out of the coal business, confirmed Michelle Bryant-Gravelle, corporate affairs manager at RTI last week.

“The federal government announced the sale of RTI in 2012 and we are still waiting on direction from the new government on what will happen with that process,” she said. “Ridley Terminals was built to get Canada’s natural resources to market. We do not own the coal, we provide unloading, storage and vessel-loading services for the mines, who are our customers. All products received at the terminal is loaded onto ships destined for overseas markets.”

Bryant-Gravelle also said no coal coming through RTI is used domestically within Canada, with its top three countries being China, Japan and South Korea that the terminal ships coal to.

The manager specified that thermal coal will be the type of product that will need re-evaluation with the announcement.

“The majority of coal shipped through RTI is used for metallurgical purposes, we foresee no change with respect to the use of coal for this purpose. With respect to thermal coal the timelines are adequate to adjust our business model if necessary,” Bryant-Gravelle said.

With a declining world coal market, Ridley has felt the effects over the past few years with rail-unloading volumes and ship-loading volumes decreasing almost 40 per cent each from 2014 to 2015, and total cargo traffic dropping in 2016.

By the end of October, RTI had handled 2,836,730 tonnes of cargo at its coal facility, down from 3,910,758 from October 2015. RTI’s diversification strategy starts with the proposed AltaGas propane export terminal that is approaching its final investment decision expected by Q4 2016.

“The advantage of Ridley is not its coal. The advantage of Ridley is that it’s a port that can handle bulk items on the coast. And we are running out of places on the coast that has rail access that can do this. It’s so hard to build almost anything in the U.S. anymore because of environmental opposition. The opportunities are huge here, but we’re living in an economy that’s tight,” said RTI board chair Byng Giraud in July at its latest annual general meeting.

“RTI is continuing to carry out work in relation to its diversification strategy. AltaGas figures prominently in our diversification strategy,” said Bryant-Gravelle.

NEW PRESIDENT AND C.O.O.

RTI has found its new president.

Marc Dulude was appointed the corporation’s new president and chief operating officer on Nov. 21 and he began his leadership tenure this past Monday, officially succeeding interim president and COO David Kirsop. Kirsop held the position since Jan. 1, 2016.

Dulude was executive vice-president and chief operating officer of International Matex Tank Terminals (IMTT) Quebec Inc. for 23 years. IMTT operates a 14-hectare facility on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, handling a range of petroleum products, biodiesel, bulk commodity chemicals and natural oil products. Dulude also served as vice-president for commercial affairs at the Port of Quebec Corporation for 10 years.

“After a significant global executive search, the board has concluded that Marc’s considerable leadership and experience in bulk terminal facility management, along with his strong track record of success in commercial affairs and diversification, made him the best candidate,” said Giraud. “Our terminal facility is currently at a crossroads and we look forward to Marc continuing his track record of growth here at Ridley Terminals.”