Thursday, July 03, 2008

Port Volumes increase by 237 per cent over two years

"We've turned a corner and we've got a much brighter future and hopefully there will be many more bright things to come," -- Joe Rektor, vice-president of finance and administration for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, responding to financial reports that show a sizeable increase in shipments through the port's facilities.

The opening of the Fairview Container Port combined with increased volumes through Prince Rupert Grain and Ridley Terminals are proving to be a fairly solid recipe for transportation success on the North coast.

Wednesday's Daily News featured details on the surge of shipments that have passed through the Port of Prince Rupert since 2005, the positive financial performance was highlighted as the papers' front page story.

Volumes rise in 2007 by 237 per cent over quantities shipped through Rupert in '05
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The opening of the Fairview Container Terminal and strong performances by Ridley Terminals and Prince Rupert Grain resulted in tonnage volumes through the Port of Prince Rupert increasing by 35 per cent in 2007.

At the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) annual general meeting last week, Joe Rektor, vice-president of finance and administration, said tonnage was up by more than 11 million as the port continued to recover from the economic slowdown that happened between 2002 and 2005. The 2007 tonnage was 237 per cent up on the 2005 level.

The driving numbers behind the port's finances is the amount of traffic that moves through its facilities.

"We've turned a corner and we've got a much brighter future and hopefully there will be many more bright things to come," said Rektor.

Revenues increased from $5.7 million in 2006 to $7.689 million in 2007. However, expenses also increased - from $5.562 million to $7.767 million - as the port authority continued to plan for the development of Phase Two of the Fairview Container terminal. The PRPA also took on $22-million in long-term debt in order to finance the construction of Phase One of Fairview. This debt will be paid off by 2016.

The $170-million Fairview Container Terminal project was financed for $25-million by the PRPA, with the remaining amount coming from CN Rail and Maher Terminals.

The port came out of 2007 with a loss of $219,000. It remains in good overall financial health, with more than $9 million in assets and $104 million in property, plants and equipment.

"The year 2007 really is the year we became a leading trade corridor gateway," said Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

"It was about bringing that container facility into action. It's something we have been talking about in this community for what seems like decades," said Krusel.

There were 17,000 container movements through Fairview between Oct. 31 and Dec. 31, 2007, and the facility has repeatedly proven itself as a successful business model, said Krusel.

"What we were selling was speed and efficiency. We said we were going to create the fastest express gateway from Asian markets into the North American," he said.

"The industry is now talking about the fact that containers moving through this gateway are reaching their destination ... three days faster than the fastest alternative."

Ridley Terminals showed a continued rebound in 2007, shipping 5.09 million tonnes.

Prince Rupert Grain had another good year, shipping in excess of five million tonnes.

Two thousand and seven was also the best year yet for cruise ship activity since the opening of the Northland cruise ship terminal in 2004. The year saw almost 100,000 passengers.

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