Using the Port of Prince Rupert as an alternative — and more efficient — option was the talk of a shipping conference held in Long Beach, California last week.
The 16th Trans-Pacific Maritime conference held a panel called “Prince Rupert, a model for cooperation that benefits supply chains” on March 1.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority’s CEO, Don Krusel, was in the panel along with representatives from DP World, Canadian National Railway and Microsoft, to discuss how Prince Rupert is a growing player in the port scene.
Over the four days, Prince Rupert was mentioned in other presentations as well, said the manager of corporate communications for the Port, Michael Gurney.
“One shipper talked about how in trying to get his cargo to a distribution centre near Chicago it made much more sense to go through Prince Rupert than through any of the busy West Coast U.S. ports, even though his destination is actually in the U.S.,” Gurney said, adding that other stories of the same ilk were brought up in other sessions.
As West Coast U.S. ports become more congested, Prince Rupert’s port gains the advantage in maintaining speed and efficiency.
The Fairview terminal was built with speed in mind, Gurney said.
The trains are loaded right at the terminal and because Prince Rupert is a smaller community without the urban sprawl Vancouver has, the trains can hit mainline speeds almost immediately.
At the conference there was also some discussion on expanding the Panama Canal.
“One presenter felt that despite the opening of the expanded canal that there would not be a threat to Prince Rupert traffic specifically because of our fast service through the Midwest. That’s reassuring,” Gurney said who has received questions on the subject before.
The Port is a regular sponsor of the annual Trans-Pacific Maritime conference and usually sends someone to take part in one or more of the panel presentations.
Gurney also said that many of the Port’s shipping customers were at the conference touting Prince Rupert as a reliable solution with a consistent performance.
“Despite challenges in the last few years around winter time slow downs, because of weather on the railroads for example, they keep sticking with Prince Rupert and they expressed thanks for Rupert’s ability to help them through difficult times.”