2017 Annual Report
The strongest ports are those that can handle a variety of cargoes, helping them balance the ups and downs of world markets. At the Port of Prince Rupert, cargo diversification is an essential part of our strategy. Throughout 2017, the port built new relationships, enhanced the capabilities of its existing terminals, and broke ground on new developments to further diversify our trade gateway. We also invested in new and enhanced technologies to further safeguard and steward one of the world's most pristine harbours. And we developed innovative ways to support Canada's trading economy while benefitting the communities where we do business. As the Port of Prince Rupert continues on a path of growth and diversification, attracting new people to join our port businesses and reside in our community will continue to be a priority. We hope you will take a few minutes to watch the following video, where you'll meet the people who help our organization thrive and see the attributes of the small town that supports our big port.
The Prince Rupert Advantage
Prince Rupert has an outsized impact on global trade for a community of 12,000 people. The reasons for this start with the geography of our harbour. For connecting North America to the Asia Pacific, no other port can match Prince Rupert’s natural advantages.
Prince Rupert is 1-2 days closer to Asia than other West Coast ports. That means less fuel, less risk, and more reliable performance.
Following a shorter transit across the Pacific Ocean, commercial vessels and the cargoes they deliver enjoy safe, efficient access to Prince Rupert's world-class terminals.
Room to grow
Prince Rupert is home to the deepest natural harbour in North America, and among the deepest in the world. Combined with direct access to trans-Pacific shipping lanes, we have room to safely manage growth.
CN’s rail network offers premium reach into North America’s resource economies and consumer markets, on the flattest available grade through the Rockies.
Whether through direct employment or investments that improve local quality of life, residents of Prince Rupert and its neighbouring communities are invested in the continued growth and success of port operations.
Building on those advantages, the Port of Prince Rupert and its partners have created a track record of excellence in Trade, Community Impact, Safety, and Sustainability.
Measuring Our Success
Our portfolio of terminals handles a variety of cargo, each of which is affected by its own market cycle. Through continued investment in trade infrastructure, the Port of Prince Rupert enables an even greater array of commodities to flow in and out of Canada. This ensures we can remain stable—even grow—year to year.
Total Volume (tonnes)
Intermodal Volume (TEUs)
Bulk Grain Volume (tonnes)
Coal Volume (tonnes)
Wood Pellet Volume (tonnes)
Total Cruise Passengers
The Port’s growth vision and accompanying strategy ensures the needs of port tenants, future trade opportunities and regional economic development goals are coordinated and balanced. The result is a slate of well-planned, integrated and diversified developments that anchor Prince Rupert’s future as a gateway for trade.
Fairview Phase 2 North – The expansion of Fairview Container Terminal, launched in the first quarter of 2015, was completed in late 2017 and increased the port's annual capacity for containerized cargo to over 1.35 million TEUs. With the addition of three Malaccamax dock gantry cranes, a second vessel berth, and expanded on-dock rail capacity, the Fairview Container Terminal is prepared to meet future demand and capable of handling the largest vessel in the world.
Ray-Mont Logistics – A new transload service for agricultural exports was constructed and commissioned in late 2017. Ray-Mont Logistics, one of Canada’s leading transload service providers, completed its new facility on the south end of Ridley Island in sync with the completed expansion of the Fairview Container Terminal.
PRPA Security & Maintenance Building – Construction of a new building to house the Prince Rupert Port Authority's Security, Operations and Maintenance functions was launched in early 2017. The $16 million project was the largest new commercial building developed in the City of Prince Rupert in recent years, and will play an important role in supporting several of the Port Authority's critical business units when complete in 2018.
Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal – Following the completion of an environmental assessment in 2016, in early 2017 AltaGas announced a positive final investment decision and launched construction on a new facility designed to ship up to 1.2 million tonnes of propane annually. The $500 million facility is being developed on lands leased by Ridley Terminals Inc., and is anticipated to employ upwards of 50 people when operational in 2019.
Prince Rupert Marine Fuels – The exploration of a new marine fuel delivery service for the Port of Prince Rupert was announced in 2017, with Wolverine Terminals proposing to develop a service would enable cargo vessels anchored or berthed in the Port to fuel locally. Currently the Port of Prince Rupert is one of the only major ports in the world to not offer marine fuelling services for cargo ships, a significant competitive disadvantage. An environmental assessment for the project was commenced in early 2018.
Pacific NorthWest LNG – Following several years of exploratory work, environmental assessment and feasibility studies, the Pacific NorthWest LNG project sited at Lelu Island was terminated by proponent Petronas and its partners in mid-2017. The project was one of many proposed LNG export development in British Columbia that did not move forward last year due to unfavourable international market conditions.
Building Economic Prosperity
Natural attributes paired with industry-leading efficiency have translated into years of solid performance for Prince Rupert—and the promise for much more in the years to come.
With new capacity for growth, the Fairview Container Terminal handled the largest annual volume of cargo in it’s 10-year history. To meet demand, over 200 new people were hired by the ILWU to join the workforce of Prince Rupert's largest employer. Containerized imports of furniture and auto parts represented the largest growth categories, with year-over-year increases of 27% and 23% respectively. While agricultural exports through the Fairview Container Terminal declined in 2017, strong growth in lumber, pulp and other forest product exports kept the volume of outbound laden containers on par with 2016.
The Prince Rupert Grain Terminal continued to handle strong volumes of Canadian grain from producers across the Prairies, supporting thousands of jobs in Canada’s agri-food sector. While overall tonnage through the terminal declined modestly due to a 16% drop in wheat shipments, bulk exports of barley rose by over 500% to a six-year high of 428,379 tonnes.
The Westview Wood Pellet Terminal continued to establish itself as Western Canada’s gateway for biofuel, shipping nearly half of Canada's total wood pellet production to markets in Europe and Asia. Throughout 2017 Pinnacle Renewable Energy, the terminal owner and operator, made investments in new production facilities in Alberta and British Columbia to convert wood waste into biofuel and further utilize their capacity at Canada's first dedicated wood pellet export facility.
The Ray-Mont Logistics transload facility on Ridley Island began operation in September 2017, providing new options for agricultural producers to export their crops to world markets. The transload operation takes delivery of Canadian agriculture products, including pulses, meal pellets, wheat and soya beans, arriving by rail and transloads them into containers for export, a process that employs roughly 40 people and has capacity to ship over one million tonnes through Fairview Container Terminal every year.
After several years of declining cargo volume, a recovery in metallurgical coal prices in mid-2016 saw mines in the northeast British Columbia communities Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge re-opened. This resurgence in BC's largest resource extraction sector drove a 90% rise in total throughput at Ridley Terminals in 2017, with customer contracts executed that will bring the terminal closer to its current operational capacity in the next 24 months.
Prince Rupert saw a more than 100% increase in the number of cruise passengers visiting the community during the 2017 season, with 25 vessel calls hosting a combined 17,000 guests. This upswing in tourism was due to both a continued industry outreach program executed by the Port of Prince Rupert, and the efforts of local business owners in the form of a unified cruise working group.
A coordinated effort between the Port of Prince Rupert and its many partners exerts positive control over every vessel, ensuring round-the-clock safeguards. The result has been the evolution of a global reputation for navigational safety. As the number of vessels calling on the port continues to grow over the next decade, maintaining that reputation continues to be a top priority.
Our practices and procedures keep vessels moving safely and goods flowing securely. Working closely with a variety of partners, the Port of Prince Rupert exerts positive control over the harbour and ensures round-the-clock safeguards.
Shore-based Radar Network
A new radar regime for the Prince Rupert Harbour was in operation for its first full year, improving vessel monitoring and management and increasing the safety of the port’s marine transportation network. The three-radar system provides coverage that extends west to Haida Gwaii and north to the Alaskan border.
Mariner's Guide to Marine Mammals
Together with groups like the Vancouver Aquarium, BC Cetacean Sightings Network, and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the Port of Prince Rupert contributed to the creation of the Mariner’s Guide to Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises of Western Canada. The guide is intended to inform mariners of high-density areas, the risk of collision between vessels and marine life, and helps minimize vessel disturbance.
Port Security & Emergency Operations Centre
Throughout 2017 the Port of Prince Rupert constructed a new building to house its maintenance staff and equipment, which also includes an enhanced Port Security Operations Centre and a dedicated space for the Port's Emergency Operations Centre. The new centre improves the round-the-clock monitoring of port properties and the Prince Rupert Harbour, and will enhance the Port's ability to mobilize coordinated responses to any incidents in its jurisdiction.
New Harbour Patrol Vessel
With the number and size of commercial vessels transiting the Prince Rupert Harbour increasing over the coming decade, the Prince Rupert Port Authority invested $3 million in a state-of-the-art harbour patrol vessel to complement the existing Charles Hays vessel. The new vessel will be 60-feet long and capable of performing duties like mobile incident comman and harbour debris removal in all weather, and is expected to begin sea trials in late 2018.
One trade we’ll never make: exchanging our future for short-term gain. Our current success is rooted in decades of ambitious yet practical planning, and reflected in the careful consideration we apply to every project and program we activate. The result is a growing gateway that supports an extensive workforce, abundant opportunities and a robust regime of environmental safeguards.
The Port of Prince Rupert emphasizes long-term planning, integrating activities and proactive partnerships. As we prepare for new terminal developments and growth in vessel traffic, ensuring a balance between industry and environment is a key measure of our success.
Underwater Monitoring Station
In partnership with Ocean Networks Canada, our port established an additional underwater observatory within the Prince Rupert Harbour that collects real-time information about the local marine environment. The two stations, located at Atlin Terminal and Digby Island, gather information related to noise and water quality. The live data is available through the Ocean Networks Canada website.
Green Wave Vessel Incentives
Our Green Wave environmental incentive program offers discounted harbour dues to commercial ships that implement emission reduction measures and other environmental practices. In 2017, Green Wave was expanded to include vessels that incorporated underwater noise reduction technologies in our ongoing efforts to mitigate the impact of vessels on marine mammals, with 38% of the unique vessels calling on the Port of Prince Rupert qualified under the three-tiered system. We continue to see an increase in high-performing vessels visiting the port, and therefore allocated increased financial discounts to qualifying vessels in 2017.
Carbon Emissions Inventory
A significant indicator of our environmental footprint is the airborne emissions related to port activities. In 2016, PRPA’s emissions inventory estimated that port activities resulted in 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the broad port jurisdiction, and 27,000 tonnes of CO2 in the tighter terminal boundary. While GHGs have decreased overall in the past three years, much of this reduction can be correlated with lower cargo volumes during this time. Relative to the amount of cargo, the ‘intensity’ of GHGs per tonne of cargo is 8% lower than in 2010. Several emission reduction initiatives are expected to further reduce emissions over time, including the Green Wave program for vessels, shore power at Fairview Terminal, no idling policies, electrification of terminal equipment, and more efficient port design and infrastructure, and GHG offset purchases.
Water Quality Monitoring
Our water quality monitoring program has grown to include 29 unique sampling sites throughout the harbour. The program monitors levels of nutrients, chlorophyll, metals, hydrocarbons and bacteria, and sites are tested quarterly (bi-weekly in summer months). Water Quality Index scores established by the Canadian Council of Minister of the Environment were almost exclusively ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’ at all sites, with the exception of one 'Fair' rating along the inner harbour shoreline.
Air Quality Monitoring
Fine particulate (PM 2.5) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions have substantially decreased since 2013, largely due to the changes in the North American ‘Emission Control Area’ (ECA) requiring ships to use lower sulphur fuels. Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) intensities trended downward in 2016 as newer marine engines penetrate the international fleet of ships, but continue to be an emission of high interest for PRPA. In 2017, NO2 readings from air quality monitoring stations showed an average daily maximum of 2 parts per billion (ppb), and 98% daily maximum of 21 ppb. These concentrations are well below the BC Ministry of Environment current objective of 100 ppb and a Year 2025 objective of 42. PRPA is advancing an initiative to establish a permanent baseline monitoring program for NO2.
Commitment to Community
The success of our trade gateway results in continuous improvements to the health and cohesion of northwest British Columbia. We take pride in ensuring our operations reflect local values and that a significant portion of our resources are allocated back into our communities. To achieve this we have created programs and initiatives that keep residents informed and provide funding to local improvement projects that contribute to longterm community vitality.
As we grow, we must do it with an eye on sustainability and environmental protection. We are guided in all of our activities by the key principles of pollution prevention, environmental integrity, efficient use of resources, and continuous improvement. With these in mind, our operations demonstrate respect – for the environment, our neighbours and future generations.
Port Interpretive Centre/Visitor Centre
Now in its sixth year of operation, the Port Interpretive Centre welcomed over 31,000 visitors in 2017 to explore the products, vessels and economic impact of the Port of Prince Rupert’s trade gateway. In partnership with Tourism Prince Rupert, the space is also home to Prince Rupert’s Visitor Centre, providing tourists with timely information about the community and the many businesses that drive its success.
Community Information Forums
Community understanding of port activities is essential, and we strive to maintain open dialogue and engagement. One way we do this is through regular meetings of our Community Information Forums, local stakeholder groups that provide a context to share information about the Port’s operations and tackles issues in the communities in which we operate. In 2017, we introduced this platform into the coastal Tsimshian communities of Lax Kwa'laams and Kitkatla, expanding our efforts to ensure our operations and developments are aligned with the interests of residents in our region of northwest British Columbia.
Community Investment Fund
Each year we earmark a share of our income for local projects that contribute to the region’s quality of life and create long-lasting benefits. The Community Investment Fund enables millions of dollars in local improvement projects to take place every year in the Prince Rupert area. Each of these projects fills an important role in the support of sports, recreation, performing arts, healthcare, education, the environment and other needs in the community.
We are committed to creating opportunities for future generations to prosper in their own communities. One way we demonstrate this is through the Learning Gateway, which provides educational resources designed to engage students in K to 12 in learning about the port’s role in international trade, and the diverse career opportunities it supports. We also partner with local education providers to increase local programming available for students and residents. Whether that’s promoting literacy with our Read With the Rampage program that brings local hockey heroes into classrooms, or sponsoring the introduction of news skilled trades training, we are dedicated to improving educational excellence in the communities we operate.
Local community development is an imperative for us. The people of Prince Rupert and its neighbouring communities are what make our operations possible, and are invaluable partners in our efforts to keep this region healthy and sustainable future generations. Over the last six years, we’ve helped enable more than 60 local improvement projects that enhance the quality of life on BC’s North Coast: arts organizations, civic projects, recreational clubs, education initiatives, and more.
Lester Centre for the Arts Theatrical Lighting
Prince Rupert's performing arts centre was able to purchase new theatrical lighting and stage draperies with a $114,500 contribution from the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment Fund. Opened in 1987 as a state-of-the-art 700-seat facility for the cultural benefit of Northwest BC residents, the Lester Centre for the Arts has hosted thousands performers and 1.5 million patrons over the last 31 years.
Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association
One of Prince Rupert's newest sport societies received $60,000 in matching funding to enable the purchase of new equipment and enhanced youth programming. The Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association added a number of new features including a sprung floor, landing mats and uneven bars to the club’s home in the Ceremonial Room of the Museum of Northern BC.
Rushbrook Trail Revitalization
One of Prince Rupert’s public waterfront walkways will be reopened in 2018 as the result of an $835,000 contribution from the Port's Community Investment Fund project that was launched in mid-2017. The project, led by the Rotary Club of Prince Rupert, will rehabilitate a 1.2 kilometre walkway that runs adjacent to the north end of Prince Rupert’s inner harbour, enhancing community waterfront access.
Metlakatla Community Greenhouse
The coastal community of Metlakatla is able to harvest homegrown fresh produce year-round thanks to a $46,000 contribution from the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment Fund. The greenhouse provides the basis for training in agricultural practices, and enables the community to lead workshops in food preservation and preparation workshops in the community kitchens.
Oona River Community Hall
The coastal community of Oona River was able to improve the accessibility of its largest public space after a financial contribution from the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment Fund.The new access ramp to its Community Hall was the outstanding piece of a $200,000 revitalization project, and brings the gathering place into compliance with current building codes.
Employing Fiscal Integrity
Sound financial management drives the responsible stewardship of our resources. Each year, the Port of Prince Rupert releases its financial statements. The bottom line? These figures detail our organization’s committment to the sensible and effective use of our assets, year after year.
These are the conditions we’re fighting to create as we steward the incredible natural resource that is the Port of Prince Rupert. Thank you to our local communities, our shippers, supply chain partners, terminal operators, service contractors, and everyone else who made 2017 a success in each of those categories. A special thank you to the women and men on the water, in the terminals, and on the trains and trucks that are moving Canada’s trade through the Port of Prince Rupert.
Explore in-depth at rupertport.com