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Cargo traffic through Port of Prince Rupert down in 2022

The northern B.C. port saw a two per cent drop in cargo tonnage in 2022, compared with 2021.
Port of Prince Rupert
The Port of Prince Rupert saw cargo volumes drop by two per cent in 2022, compared with 2021.

A total of 24.6 million tonnes of cargo moved through the Port of Prince Rupert in 2022, down two per cent from 2021.

The majority of the cargo arriving and departing fromt the port travels by rail through Prince George. In a statement issued on Thursday, the Prince Rupert Port Authority attributed the decline to disruptions to the global supply chain over the year, and rapidly-changing energy demands.

“The Port of Prince Rupert needs to evolve its services and capabilities, or our gateway’s competitiveness will erode. Global trade and supply chains are changing rapidly, and we must adapt,” port authority president Shaun Stevenson said. “It highlights the importance of the projects that are currently in development, including container terminal and logistics service expansions, as well as the expansion and diversification of existing terminals and creation of new export facilities needed to support Canada’s role in global energy security. As these projects reach critical decision points, 2023 will define the future of the Port of Prince Rupert.”

DP World Prince Rupert’s Fairview Container Terminal saw a two per cent decrease in its container volumes last year. Congestion at inland ports caused a backlog of traffic during the middle of 2022, the port authority statement said.

The southern expansion of the Fairview Terminal was completed last year, increasing the terminal’s annual capacity to 1.6 twenty-foot equivalents (TEUs). Planning for the northern expansion is underway, and construction is expected to start this year. Once complete, the terminal’s capacity will increase to 1.8 million TEUs per year.

Trigon Pacific Terminals, formerly Ridley Terminals Inc., saw a three per cent decrease in coal volumes in 2022. The terminal shipped seven million tonnes last year. In November Trigon was approved for a $75 million grant from the National Trade Corridors Fund towards the construction of a second berth that will diversify its cargo mix and double its export capacity.

AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal shipped 1.7 million tonnes, a 17 per cent increase over 2021.

In its second year of operations, Pembina’s Watson Island LPG Bulk Terminal handled over 538,000 tonnes, a 45 per cent jump year-over-year. Drax’s Westview Wood Pellet Terminal saw a six per cent increase in volumes, with over 1.5 million tonnes exported.

A poor crop year contributed to a nine per cent decrease year-over-year at Prince Rupert Grain’s terminal.

In addition to cargo, the Port of Prince Rupert had its busiest cruise ship season in a decade, hosting 40,998 cruise passengers.

“We are focused on continuing the challenging task of developing a dynamic gateway that serves Canada’s trade needs and plays an important role in aiding the global energy transition,” Stevenson said. “The port has the opportunity to secure over $2 billion in new project investment in 2023, which represents supply chain capacity and resiliency for the country, and new employment, economic opportunity and tax base for the local community and region.”