Politicians, members of the business community, and representatives of the Tsimshian First Nations boarded a ship called the “MV COSCO Prince Rupert” on Friday, to hold a welcoming ceremony for the brand new cargo ship for its maiden voyage from the Prince Rupert port; which according to its operators, it will the first of many.
The brand new ship was very recently constructed in Korea and started its first voyage from Prince Rupert loaded with 8,500 TEUs worth of cargo. The ship’s operators, COSCO Group, say that the naming of the ship after the City of Prince Rupert is a significant recognition of the city as a major port in the shipping industry.
Executive vice-president of COSCO, Dave Bedwell, says the community has itself to thank.
“We could never do [the same operation we have here] in metro Vancouver. The uniqueness of this little port is that everyone works together. If there’s an issue, they resolve it and they resolve it really fast. We could never bring these ships to Vancouver or some other port and have the cooperation of the community to make the business successful,” says Bedwell.
Bo Liang is the president of COSCO Group, he says that by naming the one of their new vessels after the Prince Rupert, the city’s profile internationally is likely to increase.
“I think most people leaving this city have little knowledge about Prince Rupert. But, with this new vessel more and more people will know about where Prince Rupert is and about the community. It seemed like a good idea,” says Liang.
Shaun Stevenson is the vice-president of marketing and business-development for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, he says that this is a validation of the work that has gone into developing the Prince Rupert port.
“It shows that Prince Rupert has arrived as an internationally recognized gateway for trade with Asia. And COSCO being based in China and a large company, its an honor that they would name one of their ships after us,” says Stevenson.
A small group of dignitaries were taken up to the bridge of the vessel on Friday for the ceremony. Stevenson, the mayor of Prince Rupert, Jack Mussallem and the mayor of Port Edward, Dave MacDonald all presented gifts of plaques and local aboriginal art to the ship’s captain, Milton Vaz.
According to COSCO, the ship will be making regular stops in Prince Rupert and will be carrying everything from chemicals to electronics to and from the Prince Rupert port.