City’s port hits record highs in August while other ports see slow summer growth

The Prince Rupert Port Authority finished off the summer months with some cargo levels reaching record highs in August over the previous year, while other west coast ports such as Seattle and Vancouver have seen their business grow very marginally or even shrink this summer.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority finished off the summer months with some cargo levels reaching record highs in August over the previous year, while other west coast ports such as Seattle and Vancouver have seen their business grow very marginally or even shrink this summer.

The total number of TEUs (or average cargo containers) to come to and from the city’s port this August was 43,418, which is 33.46 per cent higher than August of last year.

While no statistics for August 2011 have been released for either the Vancouver or Seattle ports, the average growth at the Seattle port from May through July is -14.6 per cent when compared the same months in 2010, and in Vancouver their growth this summer has been an average of 0.97 per cent. Compare that to Prince Rupert, which has had a significantly higher average growth in TEU traffic from May to July of 18.77 per cent. It should be noted, however, that Prince Rupert does not do nearly the same volume as the other two ports.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Vice-president of Marketing and Business Development, Shaun Stevenson, says that one of the reasons port has been growing faster than the rest of the market is because the economic downturn has forced companies seeking to ship good to and from Asia to look for a more cost effective alternative  to the other ports.

“Ultim-ately, in these economic times, shippers are looking to tighten their supply chains and create greater efficiencies and Prince Rupert offers a way to do that,” says Stevenson.

Last month, the number of containers being imported to Prince Rupert’s Fairview Terminal went up 28.5 per cent over August of last year to 24,724 TEUs, which is about 1,300 TEUs less than in July.

The number of loaded TEUs being exported from the port in August increased a whopping 58.01 per cent over last year to 9,292.5 TEUs, but this number is also less than in July by about 1,200 TEUs.

The export of empty containers from Prince Rupert increased when compared to August 2010 by 26.85 per cent to 9,401.5 TEUs, 845 more than in July.

Stevenson says that large increase the export of loaded containers is part of a larger surge in export traffic from the city over the last year.

“I think it really shows the opportunity that trade in the Asia-Pacific region represents for BC exports, particularly forest products,” says

Stevenson.

The Prince Rupert Harbour shipped out 44,563 tonnes of logs in August, a 36.36 per cent increase over August of last year, which is 30,000 tonnes more than was shipped in July.

The only kind of grain to be sent through Prince Rupert Grain was wheat, and 215,650 tonnes of it was shipped in August, a 0.98 per cent increase over last year.

At the Ridley Terminals Inc., the amount of metalugical coal being sent through there has hit a record high of 822,012 tonnes, which is almost triple the amount in August of last year, and an increase from July of over 500,000 tonnes.

If Ridley handled that much coal every month it would exceed Ridley Terminals capacity for coal, which is estimated to be 12-million

tonnes.

“That’s a record month, and it shows that there is a lot of cooperation going on between the terminal and the railway to create as much capacity as possible,” says Stevenson.

Thermal coal and petroleum coke going through Ridley both fell by 46.73 and 12.42 per cent respectively when compared to last year, with T. Coal falling about 140,000 tonnes less than in July.

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