“It will represent one of the largest infrastructure investments in some time at Prince Rupert.”
Those are the words of Ridley Terminals chair Bud Smith in describing expansion plans that would double the capacity at the facility in Prince Rupert from 12 million tonnes to 24 million tonnes by 2015.
On January 18 Ridley Terminals Inc. signed an agreement with US –based Arch Coal that will see the facility in Prince Rupert ship two million metric tonnes of coal in 2011 and 2.5 million metric tonnes of coal from 2012 through to 2015.
And according to Smith, the signing of this contract holds significant benefits for Ridley Terminals and the region as a whole.
“It is a five year contract, at a top rate, with minimum annual volume guarantees for RTI. And in that regard it is one of the best contracts we now have in place, and it may serve as a kind of benchmark for our market rate structure,” he said, noting that CN Rail was instrumental in securing the agreement.
“Over the five year term it will provide enough revenue to repay about 75 per cent of the loans RTI needs for the cost of our essential expansion plans. The specifics of those essential expansion plan costs will be announced in due course, but they are very, very significant… 100 per cent of the revenue we derive from the Arch contract will be spent expanding capacity in northern BC at Prince Rupert. The capital we earn all will be spend or applied right here in Prince Rupert.”
Smith said the terminal is expecting to ship its 12 million ton capacity during 2011 with the signing of new contracts and the growth of capacity on some existing contracts. The new capacity at the site could be coming as early as the first quarter of 2012. He also says that the company’s expansion plans hold benefits that will reach far beyond the terminal site itself.
“It is an expansion that will protect jobs at RTI; expand rail/tug/construction and other jobs at RTI and elsewhere across northern BC and northwestern Alberta; significantly increase revenue for the Prince Rupert Port Authority; increase tax revenues for the City of Prince Rupert and District of Port Edward; and enable miners in both northern BC and Northwest Alberta to open new mines or grow existing mines or reopen old mines,” he said.
“In all RTI’s new contracts, including Arch, are a huge win for northern BC.”
With tonnage almost doubling from the end of 2009 to 2010, Smith added that the staff at the terminal are to be commended for their performance and ensuring Ridley Terminals remains an attractive shipping facility to customers.
“I also want to say that during this time of greatly increased through put at RTI, our work force has performed incredibly well. Their good safety record is strong, they have met the challenges of tremendous new demand for their services and they have done all of that with aging equipment,” he said.
“It is our workforce that will most appreciate the new infrastructure we’re about to start putting in place.”