A plastic pellet bagging facility due to open next month in Prince Rupert will further boost exports at the British Columbia port, adding balance to the Fairview container terminal that was built primarily as an import facility for Asian consumer merchandise.
Ray-Mont Logistics said Tuesday the first phase of the facility, which will bag plastic pellets in containers, is scheduled to open by the end of August. The plastic pellets will be produced in Alberta and shipped to Prince Rupert on Canadian National Railway intermodal service.
“This facility will be a high-tech and scalable example of the power of an efficient supply chain,” said Charles Raymond, CEO of Ray-Mont Logistics. “Shippers now have more options than before to access Asian markets without any warehousing or double-handling. This unique process is faster and reduces costs for everyone.”
Exports now 25 percent of laden TEU
When the Fairview container terminal opened in 2007, shipping and rail interests envisioned the terminal as designed primarily for high-value containerized imports, with its transit times from Asia a day shorter than to US West Coast ports and the efficiency of on-dock rail. In recent years, truck and rail transloading facilities for agricultural and forest products have opened in western Canada, and exports have been climbing.
“The Prince Rupert gateway continues to create new opportunities for Canadian exporters to reach Asian markets, as evident in the 25 percent growth in laden containerized exports year over year in 2018,” said Shaun Stevenson, CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. According to port statistics, Prince Rupert’s exports in the first six months of 2019 totaled 101,644 laden TEU, or 25 percent of the 401,025 laden import and export TEU that moved through the port.
Locating transloading facilities close to the port further enhances Prince Rupert’s attractiveness as an export gateway, said Brian Friesen, the port’s vice president of trade development and communications. Agricultural or forest products are source-loaded in distant locations such as Chicago and Saskatoon and shipped via intermodal rail to the transloading facilities at Prince Rupert.
CN is the only railroad serving Prince Rupert, and the growth in exports is expected to continue, said JJ Ruest, CN’s CEO. “This CN-supplied export gateway has contributed to securing Canada’s reputation as a reliable and competitive trading partner. We look forward to many more projects to come,” he said.