Friday, August 21, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Port continues to keep a steady pace on throughput despite a troubled world economy, Port Edward keeps it's educational desires on the front burner with the province and Dan Veniez seeks out a new future, a few of the days events to make note of.

DAILY NEWS Headline story, Thursday, August 20, 2009
PRPA WELL AHEAD OF THE PROVINICAL CURVE-- Prince Rupert's Gateway to the world continues to keep a steady pace of progress, that despite some worrisome trends in the world economic structure (see story here) Item is also provided at the bottom of this post.

Education in Port Edward remains a priority for council, as the District seeks to keep its local school a going concern in the community by keeping it on the minds of Ministry of Education officials (see story here)

A name familiar to North coast residents is seeking out a more public platform for his thoughts, Dan Veniez, most recently removed as head of Ridley Terminals is contemplating a life in politics and the Daily News outlines where his next forum may be (see story here)

The sports section features a look at Celina Guadagni's recent efforts with Team BC at a Washington state tournament (see story here)

Daily News, front page, headline story:

PRPA well ahead of the provincial curve
By George T.Baker
The Prince Rupert Daily News
The Daily News
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Pages one and five

West Coast statistics say it shouldn't be doing as well as it is. But there the container port goes, chugging along the intermodal success train.

According to the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the first six months of 2009 have been a year of steadiness amidst an economic recession that has punished other west coast ports.

And if shippers consider the Fairview Container Port alone, stability transforms into positive signs of growth.

"The volumes are growing from week to week which reflects the valuable service offering we provide to our customers and the fact that Prince Rupert is an attractive option for shippers," said Canadian National Rails Senior Manager, Public Affairs and Media Relations, Brian Tucker.

"CN is certainly pleased with the number of containers that are coming into the Port of Prince Rupert."

At an increase of 124 per cent over the first half of this year from last year, the port is bucking the trends seen in Vancouver and the Pacific U.S. region.

July containers stats look poor, especially at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, which continue to mark double-digit volume losses in both inbound and outbound cargo.

According to the Cunningham Report, a major information source for the trade and transportation industry, Los Angeles imports were down 16.9 per cent from July 2008; exports were down 20.4 per cent, and total TEUs were down 17.5 per cent.

In Long Beach, imports were down 23.0 per cent from July 2008; exports were down 27.2 per cent, and total TEUs were down 22.5 per cent.

At the Port of Seattle, on the other hand, total TEUs were down only 6.2 per cent from July 2008, with imports down 7.3 per cent and exports actually up 4.7 per cent.

The Fairview Container Terminal handled 97,616 TEUs (20 foot equivalent units) during the first six months of 2009, a substantial increase over the 43,555 TEUs that moved through the terminal during the same period in 2008.

Second quarter 2009 traffic was up 151 per cent, to 56,573 TEUs compared to 22,515 TEUs for April-June in 2008.

According to the PRPA's manager of corporate communications, Barry Bartlett, the numbers are legitimate and not just from traffic diverted from Vancouver.

"These are all planned well in advance," said Bartlett.

The shipments will come through Prince Rupert and then head directly to Winnipeg where containers are diverted in two directions, central Canada and Chicago.

Garland Chow, a UBC expert on intermodal port service, said if this rising volume of container traffic is headed to the U.S. only, then that is super news "It is saying that Prince Rupert is competitive with its main competitor, Los Angeles/ Long Beach," said Chow. "That is just wonderful news if this traffic increases in their main core market."

At the end of the day, the question on a national scale is whether or not the Port of Metro Vancouver diverts traffic to Prince Rupert. If so, it's still good news for the PRPA, said Chow, but for Canada it's at best a shift, not a gain.

"It is inevitable that the Port of Metro Vancouver and the PRPA would compete with each other,' said Chow. "Let's face it, a shipping line that goes to either port, whether they are trying to get the freight to the U.S. or go to some part of Canada, it is all on the same ship. It's inevitable that a ship with goods heading to Toronto is going to go through [Prince Rupert]."

Along with the container terminal's success, the grain terminal had a nice gain, also.

Prince Rupert Grain handled 2.9 million tonnes in the first half of 2009, a 32 per cent increase over the same period in 2008. Wheat was the largest contributor, jumping from 1.6 to 2.7 million tonnes, followed by canola, which was up 31.7 per cent.

Overall, all port terminals moved a combined 5.42 million metric tonnes to June 30, 2009, compared to 5.44 million tonnes during the first half 2008. Tonnage throughput for the first quarter 2009 was 2.38 million, down 24.5 per cent to the 3.07 million tonnes handled in the first quarter 2008.

At the grain terminal, barley took a hit and was down 88.1 per cent to 52,225 tonnes.
Ridley Terminals Inc. second quarter 2009 throughput was slightly higher than the first quarter, but volumes of 1.41 million metric tonnes for the first six months were still down 48.6 per cent compared to the 2.74 million tonnes handled in the first half of 2008. Coal was down 59.1 per cent, from 2.52 million tonnes to 1.03 million tonnes.

"This is a direct result of the current economic downturn, which has seen significant cutbacks in steel production by up to 50 per cent below 2008 levels," according to the PRPA.

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