PRINCE RUPERT – The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) announced that they have facilitated the movement of 23.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2023, representing a five percent decrease from 2022 volumes.
This represents the third consecutive year of declining volumes, indicating challenges posed by shifting global shipping routes, subdued demand for imports, and competition from other North American trade gateways for discretionary cargo. Despite this decline, 2023 saw significant milestones that reinforce the port’s commitment to becoming a more competitive, resilient, and sustainable trade gateway in the short and long term.
DP World Prince Rupert’s Fairview Container Terminal experienced a 32 percent decrease in volumes in 2023, primarily due to a broader decline in North American intermodal imports and intense competition on Transpacific trade routes. Terminal performance was also impacted by a 13-day labor action in Q3.
“The Port of Prince Rupert is at a critical juncture, and we are focused on actively expanding the services, capacity, and capabilities required to strengthen our competitive advantage that trade partners and industry have come to rely on and grow our gateway,” said Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO, Prince Rupert Port Authority. “The 2023 results underscore the importance of the projects already underway to develop large-scale transloading infrastructure and build new energy export facilities. These developments will open a new chapter in intermodal trade at the Port and anchor Canada’s role in global energy security for decades to come.”
Despite these challenges, demand for western Canadian energy products remained robust in 2023. AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal reported a 13 percent increase over 2022, shipping nearly 2 million tonnes. Pembina’s Watson Island LPG Bulk Terminal, in its third year of operations, handled close to 494,000 tonnes, experiencing an eight percent decrease year-over-year. Drax’s Westview Wood Pellet Terminal shipped 1.3 million tonnes to markets in Europe and Asia.
Trigon Pacific Terminals had a strong year, moving 8.8 million tonnes of dry bulk products, including 5.4 million tonnes of metallurgical coal. Shipments of this product saw a significant 51 percent jump over 2022.
Prince Rupert Grain experienced a strong harvest year, shipping nearly 3.6 million tonnes of western Canadian agricultural products, marking an 11 percent rise year-over-year.
Cruise traffic nearly doubled over 2022 volumes, with 81,327 cruise passengers transiting through Prince Rupert in 2023. Additionally, it was the first year that cruise terminal operations were managed by Global Ports Holding (GPH), the world’s largest independent cruise port operator.
In 2023, the Port of Prince Rupert advanced on strategic projects and partnerships essential for strengthening and diversifying the trade gateway:
- Construction was started on the $750-million Ridley Island Export Logistics Project, an innovative large-scale facility that will provide rail-to-container transloading of multiple export products. RayMont Logistics will develop and operate the site’s transload facilities that will provide a total capacity of 400 thousand TEUs annually and will commence operations in Q3 2026.
- The Ridley Energy Export Facility, a joint venture between AltaGas and Vopak, executed a long-term lease on a 190-acre site administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. The proposed terminal will develop infrastructure that can provide over 7 million tonnes of capacity for a variety of liquid bulk cargoes, including lower-carbon energy sources such as propane, butane, and methanol. Early works began on the bulk liquid storage and export facility in Q4 2023, with a Final Investment Decision anticipated in Q2 2024.
- GPH continues to work with PRPA, local businesses, and cruise lines to grow passenger volumes over the next several years, while working to ensure the infrastructure and amenities are in place to support a significant increase in cruise visitors.
Source: Port of Prince Rupert