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October 28, 2017 5:22 am

Port Of Prince Rupert Expansion Means More Traffic

Thursday, March 12, 2015 @ 3:45 AM

The major impact of an expanded  terminal in Prince Rupert on the city of Prince George is traffic. The new Prince Rupert Facility will allow the Chinese container ships to off load  and the rails will take that product to the Midwestern USA, where it funnels  throughout the country.

Will Prince George  benefit from the increased traffic? Of course , if this city is ever able to find a way to turn CN`s rail yard into a distribution centre the sky is the limit. Loosely translated that means taking say a container full of TV`s, splitting them up into five containers  and then  taking the products from other containers and   thereby making a load that can be shipped to a specific area, without  in many cases the back haul to get the product to its final destination.  The benefit, let`s look at say Wal-Mart, instead of shipping all of the products into a central warehouse in Arkansas, break them down in western Canada and ship them locally cutting the transportation costs.

Edmonton, wants in, so do some other cities along the CN`s main route, but nothing stops us from getting our oar in the water.

Terrace will definitely  need an over pass in that city to move traffic that is now governed by lights at level grade crossings. The increased traffic will throw that city into a bottle neck .

Of course when it comes to rail traffic, looming in the background, is the prospect that we could see crude oil move to the coast via rail tanker. CN does not require any special study in order to go ahead with an oil railway highway , all of the ducks are already in place.

That decision will come down to one of Enbridge versus CN and what is in the best interest for all. In that scenario  Enbridge will win.

So what`s in it for us? The Port of Prince Rupert,  and CN rail are the big winners and the companies set to make the most from the venture. We need to start looking for a piece of the action.

I`m Meisner  and that’s one man’s opinion.


There’s more to the Port of Prince Rupert than Containers.
2013 versus 2014

Log exports were down 15.46%
Coal down 41.09%
Wheat up 25.69%
Wood Pellets up.

Total tonnage through Prince Rupert Terminal 2013, 23,060,096. 2014, 20,691,536. a decrease in tonnage of 10.27%

With the increase in container traffic and if (if) coal gets back on track, then 2015 should be a better year.

The biggest bottle neck I’ve ever seen , in regards to PR , is the airport . They don’t seem to want a bridge to digby island but too dumb to look at a gondola system . That’s what the rest of the world uses where bridges are not practical . I guess the city council doesn’t get out much or go skiing .

To put things in context. An additional 500,000 TEU’s (20 ft equivalent containers) would bring the number of containers going through Prince Rupert to approx. 1.3 Million per year,. On the surface this looks like a large number however lets break it down,.

1,300,000 20ft Containers equals 650,000 40ft containers,. 40ft containers are actually used for shipping. There are very few 20ft containers used.

The figure of 650,000 includes containers coming into Prince Rupert and Containers leaving Prince Rupert.

The average CN container train would consist of approx. 150 rail cars with two containers per rail car, which would mean 300 containers per train. So if we do the math we would see that 650,000 divided by 300 would be 2166 trains, divided by 365 days per year would be approx. 6 trains per day, or 3 trains in each direction per day. Or an increase of approx 3 trains per day.

These inbound loaded containers as Ben stated go to the US Midwest for distribution.

If we look at Centre Port in Winnipeg Man. We would see a huge industrial park that opened in 2009. This park is up and running and has Rail, Truck, Airlines, etc; is located in the middle of the Country and intends to service the West Coast, including Pr Rupert, the US to the South, Eastern Canada, and North. Centre Port has already been granted a Foreign Trade Zone designation by the Federal Government.

To set up a distribution centre in Prince George would put us in direct competition with Winnipeg, and I suggest that we would lose.

So how do we benefit from the Prince Rupert expansion. Firstly we need to know what we do now, and the determine what we can do.

Firstly we are loading containers in MacKenzie, Quesnel, Prince George, with pulp, and lumber and shipping it to Prince Rupert in containers for export.

On the surface this looks like new business, however all the pulp and lumber that goes through Prince Rupert used to be railed or trucked to Vancouver for export. So in effect it is the same production being shipped through a different Port. The same thing applies to wood pellets that used to go through the Port of Vancouver and now goes through Prince Rupert BC.

So if there has been no increase in production from the pulp mills, and lumber mills in the Northern Interior (and there has not been) then there is in effect no increase in traffic out of this area. So unless we come up with some new industry we will continue to ship the same production, using both the Port of Prince Rupert, and Vancouver.

The end results is some new jobs in the CN container terminal in Prince George, and perhaps some lost jobs in the amount of tonnage shipped to Vancouver, via rail and truck. I suspect that at the end of the day there has been no net gain of jobs.

One area where there has been new business and an increase in container traffic, and jobs, is Hay from the Vanderhoof area shipped to China. I don’t know how many containers per year are shipped, however this is the type of business that could create jobs in the area.

In 2014 the Port of Prince Rupert shipped over 11000 empty 40ft containers back to China. These empties come through Prince George and would be available for shipping product, but the question is. What product??

With the increase in inbound loaded containers there should be an increase in the number of empties going back, unless the Midwest/Eastern US, and Canada start to use them.

So thats the question. What can we fill these containers with, that would create jobs in this area.???

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