DP World’s Fairview Terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Propane, coal and port expansion helped economy stabilize: says NDIT report

Second annual State of the North report released by Northern Development Initiative Trust

Following a downward trend in 2017, the economy in northern B.C. is stabilizing, thanks to the LNG Canada project announcement and increased industrial activities at the Port of Prince Rupert and on Ridley Island, states a new report.

Northern Development Initiative Trust released its second annual State of the North report that tests the economic climate in northern B.C.

The previous report established the baseline trend of what northern B.C.’s economy was like in late 2017, but since then the $40-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project was announced for Kitimat, there has been more demand for steelmaking coal, and the Port of Prince Rupert completed its Phase 2A expansion.

“The port is the story, and a huge part of the local economy. You see an increase in shipments, increase in traffic and the development of further traffic,” said Susan Mowbray, senior economist with MNP. Data collection and interpretation for the report was conducted by MNP, a national accounting, tax and business consulting firm.

“When we put together the previous report, we established the baseline, the trend, of what the northern economy was,” Mowbray said. “We’re starting to see it was actually changing. We could see it turning.”

Much of the turn has to do with oil and gas, and clean energy projects. There isn’t much data on individual communities except for what was gathered from the Port of Prince Rupert and ferry routes.

READ MORE: Downward trend and uncertain economic forecast for forestry, says NDIT report

Housing prices in Prince Rupert were ‘volatile’ in 2018. Average homes were up 25 per cent in the first quarter only to go down by -10.5 per cent in the third quarter. Mowbray said this was just a correction. Meanwhile, Kitimat went up 20.4 per cent and saw the biggest change from year over year after LNG Canada made its final investment decision.

BC Ferries saw a drop in passenger traffic on the Port Hardy-Prince Rupert route in 2018, and a slight increase on the Skidegate-Prince Rupert route.

“Tourism is largely driven by the exchange rate,” Mowbray said. When the dollar dips, it’s more expensive to go to the U.S. so most Canadians just stay at home, or travel around the country.

“Up until 2017 there was a really strong growth in tourism numbers that just sort of started to level off.”

Looking forward into 2019, Prince Rupert’s industrial scene is growing with the completion of AltaGas’ propane export terminal on Ridley Island. The propane export terminal is expected to add around 40 jobs to the area. The gas is being railed in from Alberta, so Mowbray said there shouldn’t be any issues around pipelines.

Then there is the rise in steelmaking coal prices improving exports at Ridley Terminal. Mowbray said the demand for steel is expected to stay high, but she said it will be interesting to see how the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum will affect that, with the U.S. importing less and producing more.

Also, most of our coal is going to China. “We will have to see what happens there,” she said.

The current situation between the Canadian government and the Chinese government over the Huawei executive who was arrested is putting a strain on the two countries. China has issued a warning about travelling to Canada.

“The question is, how will that affect the long-term outlook right now, in the short term, we’re not expecting to have an effect,” Mowbray said.

READ MORE: Canadian man, 61, arrested in China on fraud charges: local media

To report a typo, email: editor@thenorthernview.com.


Shannon Lough | Editor
Shannon Lough 
Send Shannon email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Port Ed council chambers full over campground dispute

Port Edward council puts decision to fund Lester Centre on hold

Houston homicide suspect remanded in custody

A Houston man accused of the second degree murder of Elija Dumont… Continue reading

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Prince Rupert 2030 Vision ready to be shared with the public

Redesign Rupert is unveiling their plan for the city

Q&A with Lax Kw’alaams Mayor John Helin

Helin spoke about topics in his community ahead of the village’s upcoming election

Your Prince Rupert 55th Rotary Auction guide

Online guide to all the items up for bid before Monday’s live auction

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Most Read