On Monday afternoon I had the opportunity to join some local leaders, high school students and fellow media on a tour of Ridley Terminals to see the work that has been done and the expansion to date. I also had the opportunity to talk to Ridley Terminals chair Bud Smith about the planned expansion, and it’s clear Ridley Terminals has a bright future ahead.
Whoever came up with the idea to take deposits for future capacity and use that money for further expansion in the future is to be commended for their foresight. With Premier Christy Clark making mining a major part of her BC Jobs Plan, there are going to be a lot of companies looking for ways to get their product out to market either after the construction is complete or as part of a business case for the mine going forward. Making that possible with a deposit that will be used to grow expansion is not only a win-win for the company and RTI, but should ensure the desired further expansion becomes a reality sooner than later.
And speaking of desired future expansion, it was good to hear that there has been consideration given for a second berth at the facility. Being able to unload coal from a train and load it onto a ship faster is certainly a good move towards increasing efficiency and drawing customers, but with two berths the number of ships that have to overnight in the harbour while waiting their turn and the length of time they have to wait will be cut down, and that is another strong marketing tool to drawing more customers – particularly when coupled with the shorter sailing time to Asia.
This stage of expansion is scheduled to last until 2014, but talking with Bud it’s clear that 2014 is the end date of expansion. He’s stated that as long as there is a demand for more capacity and expansion, and the business case is there, RTI seems open to continued expansion in the years ahead.
On the flip side of all this, of course, is more jobs for the community. And at Ridley Terminals, it is more of the high paying, steady jobs that will be needed in the community going forward. That will not only benefit Prince Rupert, but will help the region as a whole.