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Prince Rupert Port Authority: Northern B.C. is critical to Canada’s international trade ambitions

A letter from Shaun Stevenson, President & CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to those of us who live in northern B.C. that this region is critical to the economic health of the province and the country. By being strategic in unlocking the opportunities Canadian trade enables, northern B.C. generates profound economic activity related to the movement of goods.  

According to the Northern BC Export Profile commissioned by the Prince Rupert Port Authority and the Northern Development Initiative Trust, exports of a wide variety of products from the energy, forestry, mining, agriculture, and aquaculture industries in northern B.C. were worth over $19 billion in 2019 alone. The value added by northern B.C. residents to those products generated the jobs, wages, supplies and services that provide the foundation of our local economic communities, from Fort St. John to 100 Mile House to Kitimat.

What may surprise many is the importance that the Port of Prince Rupert, and the transportation corridor that connects northern B.C. to the world, play in ensuring the global competitiveness of those export products. Importers and exporters throughout North America and Asia recognize it though and use northern B.C.’s speed, reliability, and efficiency as a vital ingredient for global business success. 

The Port of Prince Rupert moved over $60 billion worth of goods to and from countries all over the world last year. The northern B.C. businesses involved in the transportation and handling of those goods generated over $1.5 billion of economic activity in our local communities, directly employed more than 3,700 people and generated over $360 million of wages that circulated through every one of our northern B.C. cities and towns. 

The workforce that makes up northern B.C.’s trade gateway is diverse and dynamic. Railroaders, longshore workers, tradespeople, truck drivers, mariners, biologists, technologists, and professional engineers are just a small sample of the broad variety of occupations that contribute to its success. On average, people working in those roles earned salaries of approximately $95,000 a year in 2020, according to a study conducted on behalf of the Prince Rupert Gateway Council. 

The next time you pass a train, truck, or vessel, or see a terminal in action, take a moment to appreciate the roles those workers play in connecting northern B.C. to a dynamic global economy. Their skills and dedication are contributing to the ever-growing reputation of the Port of Prince Rupert and northern B.C. as the most innovative and competitive trade gateway in North America.  A world-class labour force, combined with investments in leading technologies, best practice environmental management, and the lowest carbon emission intensity in North America have positioned this region as Canada’s leading-edge for international trade.

As that reputation grows, and the volume of global trade continues to sustainably expand and diversify, we can all reap the benefits this service industry provides. 

- Shaun Stevenson, President & CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority