Saturday, November 21, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Friday, November 20, 2009

Prince Rupert Grain brings good news to the Chamber, restoration work continues at North Pacific and Lax Kw'alaams results are announced, some of the items of note for the Friday news cycle.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
PRINCE RUPERT GRAIN DELIVERS ENCOURAGING NEWS TO CHAMBER-- Prince Rupert Grain is looking at higher numbers in 2009 as stronger volumes of wheat pass through the Ridley Island terminal. Chairman Jeff Burghardt outlined the optimistic details for the Chamber of Commerce this week.

Health care issues were examined in Port Edward this week during the latest in Community to Community forums.

Restoration work continues on at North Pacific History Fishing Village as six buildings on the boardwalk there have been refurbished as part of a job creation partnership.

(Daily News Archive Articles for November 20 )

The Northern View
Two groups vie for Shames Mountain future-- Some movement in the efforts to keep the Northwest's ski hill future secure. as two different groups put forward proposals on their vision for the mountain operation. (see article here)

Reece Returned at Lax Kw'alaams -- Details of Friday's election returns from Lax Kw'alaams (see article here) (full results available from the Lax Kw'alaams website)

Naikun wants to hire locally for its proposed wind project -- As Naikun continues its process for development of its wind farm properties on the North coast, they offer up the lure of jobs once again to keep the project on the minds of North Coast residents (see article here)

CBC Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
An uncommon death-- A report on the the impact on the family of a the Rodney Shane Jackson the man shot and killed by the RCMP two months ago in an incident near Hazelton (listen to interview here)

Daily News, front page, headline story
Prince Rupert Grain delivers encouraging news to Chamber
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, November 20, 2009

A late, great wheat crop in the prairies has driven home some higher than expected export numbers for Prince Rupert’s grain terminal.

And Prince Rupert Grain Inc.’s president Jeff Burghardt could not be more pleased with the results.
Burghardt gave a presentation to the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce Wednesday and outlined what he believed were some of the reasons for the increase in exports.

“We are having a pretty good run of trade and commerce,” remarked Burghardt.

Throughput at the grain terminal to September 30 is up 46.8 percent to 3.9 million tonnes, surpassing the 3.8 million tonnes handled for the entire 2008 year.

The high volumes were driven by wheat exports, up 77.1% to 3.6 million tonnes.

Part of the reason for the strong surge in 2009 is strong volumes of wheat, which grew later than expected but avoided a fall frost that could have damaged the crops.

The other reason is growing interest in the Prince Rupert port from Asian importers - more specifically, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia became the biggest addition in years to the global wheat buyside after it decided to gradually phase out wheat cultivation, as of last year and up to 2016, to save water resources.

Burghardt said that there has been increased interest amongst shoppers for Canadian prairie wheat from the Middle East and that Prince Rupert is gaining from that.

“We try to demonstrate that if you choose Canadian wheat that Prince Rupert is your best option,” said Burghardt.

Growing business at the grain terminal has also produced strong employment totals for the community. There are now 111 people employed at PRG.

There are also some concerns, according to Burghardt.

“As good as the last year has been, we find ourselves concerned about safety and loss,” explained Burghardt.

Two derailments in the last year cost PRG millions and ageing equipment is in need of replacement. There weren’t any significant injuries at the terminal last year, but Burghardt said that the company needed to be vigilant when it comes to safety.

There are also trade issues with China that are popping up over canola. Even as a ship arrives Monday for a canola shipment, China is becoming more difficult to deal with as the emerging superpower looks to continue developing its own canola base.

That desire, said Burghardt, has pushed China into claiming that it does not want to purchase canola with blackleg disease – a common disease found on canola around the world.

The move is expected to cut Canada’s canola exports by an estimated 70 percent.

Canada is the world’s top exporter of canola, a variant of rapeseed, which is crushed for its oil and used in cooking, and for its meal, which is used in livestock feed.

The concern for Prince Rupert is that even though canola makes a small portion of the PRG’s own exports, it is a significant shipment for Vancouver. If taken away, that could mean more competition for the grain crops that are heavily sent from Prince Rupert – wheat and barley. Burghardt said it’s a something that grain ports will take stock of because of trade implications. The thought is that China is placing restrictions on canola as a way to protect their own stocks.

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