Port of Prince Rupert Building New Berth, Extends Terminal Contract

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra on Nov. 16 announced an investment of nearly $75 million under the federal National Trade Corridors Fund to increase capacity at the Port of Prince Rupert.

Trigon Pacific Terminals, which owns and operates a Prince Rupert bulk commodity terminal, is also expected to contribute to the project, bringing the total combined investment to $163.1 million, according to the Canadian government.

The funding, according to Transport Canada, would support the construction of a second berth at the Port of Prince Rupert terminal.

“This second berth will help reduce congestion and increase the port’s capacity to export products for green energy and other clean commodities,” Transport Canada explained in a statement. “This project will also increase the capacity of the trade corridor linking the Port of Prince Rupert to Western Canada.”

The Canadian government has said that it’s investing in efficient trade corridors to help the country compete in key global markets, trade more efficiently with international partners and keep supply chains competitive.

The new berth project, the government has said, represents “a long-term commitment to work with stakeholders on strategic infrastructure projects to address transportation bottlenecks, vulnerabilities and congestion” along Canada’s trade corridors.

“Being North America’s closest port to Asia, the Port of Prince Rupert is critical to keeping Canada’s supply chains strong,” Alghabra said. “By investing nearly $75 million in the construction of a second berth at the Port of Prince Rupert, we are meeting the recommendations from the Supply Chain Task Force to help reduce port congestion.”

Trigon Pacific Terminals CEO Rob Booker added that his company was grateful to the Canadian government for helping to make the berth project a reality.

“The National Trade Corridors Fund support of Trigon’s … berth project will enable us to increase our terminal’s export capacity and accelerate our diversification into green energy exports, while also strengthening B.C.’s northern corridor supply chain,” he said.

A timeline for the beginning and end of construction has yet to be announced.

The National Trade Corridors Fund is a competitive, merit-based program designed to help infrastructure owners and users invest in transportation assets that support economic activity in Canada. Under the program, a total of $4.6 billion has been allocated for the 11-year period that ends in 2028.

Through the fund, Transport Canada is supporting improvements to Canada’s roads, rail, air and marine shipping routes to foster domestic and international trade.

In other Prince Rupert port news, the Prince Rupert Port Authority announced Nov. 14 that Global Ports Holding Plc will operate the Northland Cruise Terminal at the seaport for at least a decade, as well as operate the port’s shore excursion program, cruise scheduling and passenger services in 2023.

The port authority and Global Ports have inked a 10-year terminal operating agreement that GPH expects to take over operations in 2023. Officials said the move could bolster the port’s presence as a cruise destination, especially on the Canadian west coast and Alaska.

“This 10-year agreement signifies the wealth of opportunity that exists in the Alaskan cruise theater, and the key role the Port of Prince Rupert can serve in its future growth,” Prince Rupert Port Authority President and CEO Shaun Stevenson said. “Prince Rupert’s value proposition to cruise visitors is a strong onea natural port of call on an Alaskan itinerary, a rich and diverse cultural history, and spectacular north coast scenery as a backdrop.” 

He added that Global Ports has the expertise to elevate cruise tourism in the area and meet the port’s vision of “growing a thriving cruise sector as a world-class destination, with significant economic benefits for the local community and surrounding region.”

Global Ports brings its experience as a major independent cruise port operator managing 26 cruise ports in 14 countries. Prince Rupert would to be the first North American port in the company’s portfolio, and this is the company’s first time entering the Alaskan market, the port said.

Global Ports Holding Regional Director for Americas Mike Maura Jr. spoke of the port’s cruising potential and looks forward to the partnership with the port and the community.

“The Port of Prince Rupert has immense potential to meet the rising demand from the cruise industry and accommodate the increasing volume and size of cruise ships,” he said. “We believe that Prince Rupert has a realistic path to seeing weekly cruise calls and up to 250,000 passengers annually.”