Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO Don Krusel was the speaker at the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce on February 15, and one of his key messages was the importance managing the growth of the port is to the economy of western Canada as a whole.
“For Canada to benefit from the growth in demand from Asia, we need to increase our port capacity on the west coast of North America. The problem is that because most ports are in major metropolitan centres they are constrained in the growth…That is not so for Prince Rupert. We are blessed to have 400 hectares on Ridley Island for development that is away from metropolitan areas,” he said, noting that what happens here will have a ripple effect.
“What we do or don’t do at the Port of Prince Rupert can decide the fate of many individuals in western Canada. If we can’t create coal capacity in a timely manner, many proposed mines may not proceed. That would affect companies and individuals in places like Tumbler Ridge BC or Hinton Alberta that are counting on those mines for jobs…We have undergone a transformation from a modest port to a significant port for Canada to access the Asian markets.”
On the local side of things, Krusel reiterated that he sees bright things ahead.
“I think that we are all going to witness significant growth and development for the Prince Rupert Port Authority and the community in the next 12 to 24 months,” he said, noting there are other projects being discussed in addition to the proposed Canpotex facility, the proposed wood pellet facility and the recently announced LNG proposal.
“Prince Rupert is becoming frequently mentioned as the most viable solution to trade on the west coast.”
Krusel did acknowledge that there are concerns people have with the proposed growth of the port, and said they were taking them seriously.
“I want to state unequivocally that we at the port authority have heard people’s concerns, understand those concerns and are working to address them,” he said, mentioning that they are close to a resolution to the train whistling issue by Fairview Terminal and will be working with the City on improving access to the waterfront.