The federal government has approved $13.1 million in infrastructure spending at the Stewart World Port.
In a press release Transport Canada said the money will come from the National Trade Corridors Fund to upgrade the bulk facility, increasing capacity and improving movement of emerging export commodities like bulk wood, mineral and agricultural products from northern B.C., Yukon, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“Our government is investing in Canada’s economy by making improvements to our trade and transportation corridors,” said Minister of Transport Marc Garneau. “We are supporting projects to efficiently move goods to market…stimulate economic growth, create quality middle-class jobs, and ensure that Canada’s transportation networks remain competitive and efficient.”
The improvements will save shippers a significant amount of time by allowing product to move directly from Western Canada to overseas markets through the port, rather than overland to other western ports.
Stewart World Port officially opened in Sept. of 2015 at a cost of $70 million. Phase 2, at a cost of $60 million, featured concentrate-holding sheds and a travelling bulk shiploader rated at being able to handle 3,300 tonnes of material per hour.
Phase 3 is expected to create about 275 construction jobs, but Stewart World Port President Brad Pettit says the lasting benefits will come from other sectors positively impacted by the port’s new export capacity.
“There will be significant construction jobs while we’re building, but that’s nothing in comparison to the long-term jobs in commodities—for example there are a lot of mines near Stewart, so shipping out of Stewart becomes really necessary for them to be a viable business.”
Stewart Port is located at the end of the extremely deep Portland Canal two kilometers south of the town of Stewart. It is Canada’s most northerly ice-free facility with direct access to Asian markets a day and a half faster than southern ports. Trade with Asia grew by 18.9 per cent to $199.2 billion from 2015 to 2018, according to Transport Canada.
Stewart World Port is privately owned by Ted Pickell of Fort St. John.