Prince RupertÆs breakbulk tonnage grows
The Port of Prince Rupert experienced its best year since 2000, handling 7.7 million metric tons of commodities in 2006 compared to 4.4 million metric tons in 2005, the Canadian port said Wednesday.
The record came despite the fact that the port closed its Fairview breakbulk terminal in order to convert it to a container port that will open this fall.
The substantial increase in 2006 tonnage throughput is a direct result of Prince Rupert Grain and Ridley Terminals Inc. capitalizing on improved market conditions and more competitive freight rates to aggressively pursue new business while handling more products for current customers, said Don Krusel, Prince Rupert Port Authority President and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Prince Rupert grain throughput increased more than 52 percent from 3.1 million tons in 2005 to 4.7 million tons. Contributing factors, the port said, included a reduction in rail freight rates in August 2006 to 3 percent below other West Coast grain terminals, a lack of congestion, and the highest throughput of any grain-cleaning elevator in Canada.
The opening of new coal mines in northern British Columbia and strong Asian demand for thermal coal fueled a 177 percent increase in coal throughput to 2.8 million tons in 2006. Ridley Terminals also began construction on a wood pellet handling operation, scheduled for completion in early spring 2007.
The Port of Prince Rupert's strong 2006 performance is anticipated to continue growing in 2007 and be further strengthened with the completed conversion of the Fairview Terminal to a 500,000-TEU container handling facility in October.