Prince Rupert may have a world class port positioned in exactly the right place at the right time, but it isn’t just ours.
“I don’t like the name Port of Prince Rupert,” PRPA CEO and president Don Krusel told Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce members on Thursday. “Maybe just as much or more so… it’s the Port of Prince George, Port of Quesnel… Tumbler Ridge … it’s more their port than Prince Rupert’s.”
Krusel touched on the unprecedented growth at the port over the past several years and its connection to the rest of Canada, but while not specific, indicated that this growth was the tip of the iceberg.
Demand for Canadian resources is skyrocketing as the centre for economic activity has shifted from North America to China and the Indo-Asian areas. This shift, along with Prince Rupert’s geographical location and capacity, makes the northwest B.C. port the bullseye on the map to meet the demand.
“There is unprecedented urbanization going on in [Pacific Asia and China]. They’re adding [equivalent of] two Greater Vancouvers every month for the next 20 years … that’s the level of urbanization taking place,” he said.
“The eyes of the world are on Prince Rupert now … we’re on the radar.”
Krusel outlined current projects taking place at the port including Fairview Terminal, Pinnacle Pellet and Ridley Terminals. Of prominence, he said the Road, Rail, Utility Corridor project, while out of sight, is a game-changer.
“Unless you were flying over it, you wouldn’t know it [was underway] … but two local companies building $90 to $100 million projects … sends a message to the industry of the world that Prince Rupert has the capacity for these large-scale projects. Having that capacity and experience … is something to celebrate.”
Krusel said that in the next 24 to 36 months expectations are to see a number of announced projects started, as well as the investment decisions for a number of LNG projects.
“It’s hard to imagine the magnitude of these [LNG] projects … it will make the $200 to $300 million projects look like a drop in the bucket,” he said.
While extremely optimistic, Krusel acknowledged that this growth will not come without problems.
“Just as we have anxiety … this community will feel some strains and stresses. A lot will embrace these changes, but we also recognize there are those who will have anxiety about it … fear about what the future holds,” he said.
Krusel added the PRPA has taken a number of steps to reduce that concern through dialogue and to give back to the community.
As examples, he pointed to the Port Interpretive Centre, the new community information forums, the Community Investment Fund; establishment of baseline water sampling and continuing monitoring, air quality monitoring, a comprehensive review of maritime harbour practices and new navigational aids in the harbour.
“Every province in Canada wishes they had [our] coastline,” he said. “We recognize we are stewards of the coastline … we are committed to growing the port and respond to trade needs of this country [but do it] in the safest, most sustainable way in the world.”