Rob Booker, the new Ridley Terminals CEO addressed Chamber of Commerce members and described a bright future for the Prince Rupert operation.

Business commuity meets new leader at RTI

Ridley Terminal has new leadership at the helm

Rob Booker new CEO of Ridley Terminals Inc. and Will Hunter, CFO of major partner AMCI Group are bullish on Prince Rupert’s Ridley Terminals.

AMCI, who along with Riverstone Holdings, purchased RTI in July 2019, introduced RTI’s new CEO Rob Booker at the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Feb. 19.

“Rob Booker will oversee all aspects and lead the marine terminal in maximizing existing efficiency and increasing capacity to meet customer demand, as well as the planned expansion and the proposed second berth.,” Michelle Boomars-MacNeill, president of PRDCC said.

Booker brings extensive leadership from his years as a senior vice president at another bulk terminal and as previous operations manager from a similar marine terminal to RTI.

In these roles, he led several multi-million dollar capital projects, in addition to being in sales, marketing, logistics, maintenance, safety and environmental performance. Boomars-MacNeill said, he in his more than 25 years of experience, he also held senior positions in the Canadian mining sectors.

“His experience in the Canadian marine terminals is unparalleled. As they look to growing and expanding the business, Mr. Booker is taking the helm at RTI. Not only does he officially know how to run a terminal, he also understands the need for safe responsible terminal operations,” Boomars-MacNeill said.

Booker said his connections to mining and Prince Rupert date back nearly four decades.

“I got my first full-time job in the Peace River region at Quintet Coal and shipped coal here (Prince Rupert) in 1982, so there is along history of mining in my life that connects me to Ridley Terminal,” Booker said.

Booker said the connections to the southeast B.C. mining deposits is a game-changer for RTI.

With January’s announcement of the Teck Resources commitment to export through Prince Rupert, he said it is a massive increase from the terminal’s historical position.

“Historically, RTI was a bit of an insurance policy should something bad happen in the southeast corridor. We’re moving from an insurance policy to a primary resource for export coal by Teck. It’s a great contract, with a great company with a long history of mining and success. We are really excited about the potential it brings,” Booker said.

As for the future, Booker said the need for coal isn’t ending any time soon.

“Our suppliers, Teck, Conuma, Coalspur have deposits that are 25, 50-year, 100-year in length. Metallurgical coal is going to be with us as long as we make steel and the deposits in Canada are world class. They are going to be mined for a long time and we’re going to be that terminal.” Booker said.

He noted that with 18 to 25 million tonnes in capacity and 6,000 to 12,000 tonnes an hour ship loading rank among the best in the world.

“Those numbers were beyond belief almost in 1981 to 1982, when the terminal was built, but nobody is building any equipment that is much faster than that. It is an exceptional legacy,” Booker said.

“It is an exciting time to be CEO at Ridley.”

Hunter told the chamber that this world-class potential was integral to AMCI’s decision to purchase RTI.

AMCI was founded in 1986 as a metallurgical coal trading business. During the past 33 years it was solely dedicated to metal extraction in primarily the metallurgical coal industry, but they now have other businesses in magnesium, copper and iron ore, said Hunter.

“We’ve done a fair bit of work asset wise in Canada. We have Conuma near Tumbler Ridge and as part of that transaction we got to know the Ridley Terminal and were really excited to be able to acquire it,” Hunter said.

As part of the purchase and acquisition process AMCI brought in a partner.

“Riverstone Holdings is a global net resource, primarily an oil and gas firm. They run $39 billion in capital [with] 19 years of service in the oil and gas space.

“We have been partnered with them since 2017 on an Australian project. They do all their coal transactions with AMCI. They have done a lot of work in Canada, primarily on the upstream and mid-stream in oil and gas. We are very pleased to be partnered with them,” Hunter said.

An important part of RTI that was particularly attractive to AMCI was the ability to partner with Lax Kwal’aams and Metlakatla First Nations, a limited partnership that also owns a 10 per cent stake in RTI.

“That was a piece that a number of the buyers who looked at the transaction didn’t appreciate. We took one look at it and said ‘we won’t do this deal without them’ “, Hunter said.

“We are very happy to be partnered with them. They are fantastic. They provide a level of insight that we wouldn’t normally have in any transaction.”

K-J Millar | Journalist
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William J. Hunter, CFO of AMCI and Rob Booker CEO of Ridley Terminal Inc. on Feb. 19 at the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce lunch. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

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