From one ribbon cutting to another, Ray-Mont Logistics launched its operations in Prince Rupert following the official completion of the Fairview Terminal expansion.
In this new partnership for the Port of Prince Rupert, Ray-Mont will improve the port’s export business by loading empty shipping containers and stuffing them with Canadian and Mid-West U.S. grains, pulses and cereals.
“A highly efficient Rupert terminal offers a flexible and strategic gateway from western Canada to Asia and beyond,” said Charles Raymond, president and CEO of Ray-Mont Logistics International.
The new transloading operation is located on the south end of Ridley Island along the recently built road, rail and utility corridor and it will be the first facility on the west coast of Canada that can handle a 100 car-unit train in a matter of three to four days.
“That is truly impressive,” said the Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne who flew to Prince Rupert for the milestone occasion. “Canada has always been a trading nation, I said it before, we will also be a Pacific nation.”
He pointed out that although Canada only represents point-five per cent of the world’s population it makes up for 2.5 per cent of global trade.
“Trade is a part of our DNA,” Champagne said. He spoke about his recent trade talks with India. “I can ensure you that they are looking at people like you to make sure that security of supply is coming from Canada.”
Not long after the speeches, the minister had hopped up a Hyster container handler and began driving it down the lot with a huge grin on his face. Everyone was celebrating Prince Rupert on this day, even the weather — 20 plus degrees Celcius in pure sunlight — was cooperating.
Chief councillor of Metlakatla Harold Leighton addressed the new project that will employ 40 people to start, and as operations grow, so will the work force. Our doors are open, he said during his speech, and it’s time to rebuild ourselves. The growth of the export business at the port has continued to benefit and involve the Metlakatla community.
“Our technical staff have been involved with the planning with Ray-Mont early on and they worked with them to move and put the facility in place. They want, in the future, to develop a more permanent facility in partnership with Metlakatla so we have already developed a good relationship with them,” Leighton said.
This year not only commemorates Ray-Mont’s development into Prince Rupert’s Pacific gateway, it’s also the Montreal-based company’s 25th anniversary. The intermodal freight transportation company also operates in Montreal and Vancouver container terminals, but the company has said that on the west coast Prince Rupert has less congestion and is a smoother gateway for Canadian exports.
With the port’s Phase 2 container terminal expansion complete, there will be even more empty containers that will need to be repurposed to bring balance to the port’s import-export trade system.
“We need to see more of Ray-Mont’s type facilities,” said Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert. “We have to create the warehousing, the container stuffing, the value added services so we can fill Phase 2 and incent Phase 3, 4 and 5 by building these types of logistics services here on Ridley Island and connecting it by efficient connection to Fairview Terminal.”
What Krusel means by “efficient connection” is that the port intends to build a connector road that will run from the south end of Fairview Terminal to Ridley Island, avoiding the lengthy and slightly congested route through the city.
For now, Ray-Mont’s transload facility is the first and only site the port has on the road, rail and utility corridor, and it’s ready to begin operations in time for the 2017-2018 crop year.
“You’re going to be a great addition to the story that’s unfolding here in Prince Rupert,” Krusel said — that story being that it’s a small town with a big port.