On February 6 the Prince Rupert Port Authority released the tonnage handled in January, and the month is an indicator of a potentially bright year for container traffic in Prince Rupert in 2012.
Tonnage handled by Fairview Terminal was almost double what it was in January of 2011. In total there were 44,477.9 TEUs handled at the terminal in January, up from 23,070.3 in 2011 for a 92.8 per cent increase.
Imports slightly more than doubled compared to last year, jumping from 12,689 TEUs in 2011 to 25,445 TEUs this year. Exports were up 83.3 per cent over all, with the number of loaded TEUs up 38.5 per cent and sitting at 9,097 and the number of empty TEUs being handled up 160.6 per cent to sit at 9,933.3.
“Typically, we see a rise in container imports from Asia at the start of the year. The firms and factories that close for Chinese New Year will accelerate production and shipping before the 15-day celebration to ensure continuity of supply. With the Year of the Dragon starting two weeks earlier than 2011’s Year of the Rabbit, this year’s bump is especially prominent in January,” said Michael Gurney, Manager of Corporate Communications with the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the increase
“It’s a spike on the long-term trend line of steady growth here in Prince Rupert.”
While Fairview is up to start the year, the same cannot be said for the other terminals on the North Coast.
After a record year in 2011, Ridley Terminals saw a 65 per cent drop in traffic from year to year, falling from 878,906 tonnes to 307,639 tonnes in January. The two biggest drops were in Petroleum Coke, which fell from 121,302 tonnes last year to none this year, and Metallurgical Coal, which fell 64.2 per cent from 670,935 tonnes last year to 240,131 tonnes this year. Also of note, while there were 9,803 tonnes of wood pellets shipped in 2011, there were none shipped in the first month of 2012.
Prince Rupert Grain was down 28.7 per cent from last January, declining from 379,030 tonnes to 270,410 tonnes this year. Canola was the biggest drop, falling 51.9 per cent from 169,435 tonnes to 81,500 tonnes this past January.
Also down was logs being shipped from the harbour. Last January there were 49,351 tonnes while this year there were none.
Overall the tonnage handled by the Prince Rupert Port Authority was down 33.5 per cent, from 1.54 million tonnes last January to 1.02 million tonnes this January.