The province announced funding for a project to more than quadruple the capacity of the Port of Prince Rupert to containerize goods for export.
On Thursday, the province announced $25 million to improve and expand the Ridley Island Export Logistics Platform. The province's investment adds to the $49.8-million federal contribution through the National Trade Corridors Fund, along with private-sector funding.
Once complete, the project will increase the port's ability to containerize goods for export from 75,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year to more than 400,000 TEUs per year, according to a statement issued by the provincial government.
"Our investment in the Port of Prince Rupert will help create new good-paying jobs in our region, while improving western trade corridors and helping Canadian importers and exporters get goods to market," said North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice in a press release. "It will support regional businesses and provide the necessary infrastructure to boost our provincial economy to help build back stronger from the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an important investment in the future of Prince Rupert and of B.C. as a whole."
The 28-hectare project will create a platform to transload goods arriving at the port by road and rail into shipping containers for export. New railways, dedicated access roads, offloading and storage facilities – and the associated equipment – are all part of the project, being lead by the Prince Rupert Port Authority.
The project is expected to create 200 direct jobs, plus roughly 2,000 additional jobs in areas such as warehousing, longshore work and trucking.
"We thank the B.C. government for investing in the development of the Ridley Island Export Logistics Platform, and its recognition of the value it will create for B.C. export industries and the communities that economically rely on them," Prince Rupert Port Authority president Shaun Stevenson said in a press release. "This pivotal project presents an unprecedented opportunity for sustainable economic recovery, improved competitiveness, and greater diversification and stability throughout northern B.C."
Metlakatla First Nation Chief Councillor Harold Leighton said the First Nation is looking forward to participating in the project. The Metlakatla First Nation operates Gat Leedm trucking, which is the largest container trucking operation in Prince Rupert.
"The development of the export logistics platform is another opportunity to continue our shared success through both business and employment opportunities," Leighton said in a press release.
The $250 million-project is expected to be operational by 2023.
The $115-million Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor, a five-kilometre road along the southwestern edge of Kaien Island, is expected to be complete later this year. The route will be activated when DP World’s Fairview Terminal expansion is completed in 2022.
The project will redirect container trucks off of public roads and cut the travel distance from 20 down to five kilometres.