Gillian Kirk, Liza Aboud, Catherine Wade and Melanie Mackay are on the board of directors for Ridley Terminals Inc. and were present at the annual public meeting on July 17, 2018. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Gillian Kirk, Liza Aboud, Catherine Wade and Melanie Mackay are on the board of directors for Ridley Terminals Inc. and were present at the annual public meeting on July 17, 2018. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Equality and more jobs in coal terminal’s future

Ridley Terminals Inc. shipments out of Prince Rupert increased by 90 per cent in 2017

Numbers talk, whether its the amount of tonnage shipped to foreign markets, or the gender ratio on the board of directors.

Ridley Terminals Inc. held its Annual Public Meeting on July 17, and based on the numbers presented it was clear the Crown corporation has clawed its way out of the dark.

“We’re out of the tunnel now, the light is really bright,” said Marc Dulude, president and chief operating officer for Ridley Terminals.

In 2017, vessel shipments totalled 7.56 million tonnes, an increase of 90 per cent from the previous year, and Dulude said this year it’s only going to be way better. In June, the terminal shipped more than one-million tonnes, and it’s expecting to handle nine-million tonnes in 2018.

Here are highlights from the coal terminal’s public meeting.

Bust to boom

Global coal markets have recovered and are on the rise. Last year, the company ran a $1.2-million loss forecasting improved market conditions and increased coal shipments.

The demand for steel has buoyed the shipments of metallurgical coal, while petroleum coke and thermal coal also had a strong year. Total revenues were $178-million, up 192.5 per cent from the previous year.

READ MORE: Ridley Terminals moves ahead with expansion project

Dulude said they’ve signed and renewed major long-term contracts, and the future is bright. RTI is investing $232-million in the terminal in the next five years, $149-million of which is going into expanding the berth, if approved by federal authorities.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

With all the business growth, and possible expansion, Ridley Terminals has 125 people on its team and plans to hire another 15-25 people. When asked if the company plans to specifically hire First Nations members and women, Dulude said, “You’re going to see that yes we want to achieve equity on gender.”

Ridley Terminals is currently working on a strategy to have its workforce more representative of the make up of the community, which includes more First Nations and more women.

Dulude said it’s about developing talents and paying attention to the nature of jobs in the future. Programming talents will be needed, which is why Ridley Terminals has invested in coding and technology in Prince Rupert classrooms.

“We’re trying to figure out what the organization will need in the future,” he said.

Gender equality

In recent months, the board of directors has seen a complete restructuring. As of June, four women and three men make up the board of directors.

Melanie Mackay and Catherine Wade, who is Métis, were appointed in February, while Liza Aboud joined the board last month, and Gillian Kirk was appointed in 2015.

“There is an energy and a freshness. I feel a little more freedom. It’s been really good,” Kirk said at the public meeting.

Wade is leading a review of the organization and making sure it’s updated to the current standard.

“There’s nothing that inhibits a woman from being a director,” Wade said.

Achieving gender equality in Canada has been a strong theme for the federal Liberal government.

Auditor General Report

Failures in Ridley Terminal governance was revealed in a report released in April. In response, the board chairman, Michael McPhie, said in the last six months they’re completely up to date with four of the five-year plans approved.

He also said there was a deficiency in the number of appointed directors to the board until this year.

READ MORE: Report finds failures in governance at Ridley Terminals

“Now, we have a full compliment of directors, which also allows us be properly governed with committees, with proper oversight of operations, all that sort of thing,” McPhie said.

In one of the recommendations that came from the report, the Transport Minister has asked that the board report on a quarterly basis. Travel and hospitality expenses for the board and president are available on Ridley Terminal’s website.

“The objective for us now is to say, okay Ridley is doing quite well as an organization, as you can see. We’ve got a good new management team in place and Marc has done really well. We have a whole new board complement so now maybe we can work together and address these individual items.

“I like our new board, it’s completely absolutely gender parity. We have some awesome new people who are really talented, and now we can look forward. That’s the plan,” he said.

Next up, Ridley Terminals will be celebrating 35-years, as well as 2oo-million tonnes shipped.

 

shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com 

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