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NEWS RELEASE · 8th November 2010
Ministry of Transportation
Northern B.C. and the Port of Prince Rupert will benefit from an expected future demand for resources from Asian markets, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Shirley Bond announced today. Bond and Pacific Gateway partners met with numerous current and potential customers of B.C. resource exports while in Asia to promote the Pacific Gateway and generate new and expanded trade opportunities for the province.

"The Northern Corridor through the Port of Prince Rupert provides not only the closest trade route to Asian markets for imported goods to North America, but also a reliable, free flowing, and strategically located route for resource exports from Northern B.C.," said Bond. "We're finding that there's investor confidence in British Columbia and in what the North can deliver in terms of resources and infrastructure."

Examples of expected export growth identified in meetings with companies in Korea and Japan include expansion of coal exports from two companies with mines in northeastern British Columbia and interest in using pine beetle wood for biofuel in Japan.

The Port of Prince Rupert is the province's deepest natural harbour and can handle the largest container and bulk ocean carriers in the world. Planned infrastructure investments will ensure that capacity will continue to meet demand for years to come.

"As a result of the investments made into the Port of Prince Rupert and the opening up of the Fairview Container Terminal, the resources and markets of northern B.C. are very accessible to Asian markets and have generated a great deal of interest," said Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. "Based on the discussions we have had with Asian companies, there is tremendous opportunity for Northern B.C. to benefit from the growth that is now taking place in the Asia Pacific economies."

The export growth is already underway with container related exports through the Port of Prince Rupert up nearly 53 per cent to the end of October and increasing 92 per cent in the month of October alone. Coal exports through the Port of Prince Rupert are up 83 per cent year- to-date.

On the import side, some of Prince Rupert's primary container customers in Korea indicated that they expect to increase shipping capacity by using larger vessels servicing the Port of Prince Rupert to respond to demands for Asian imports to Canada and the U.S. Prince Rupert has competitive cost and efficiency advantages over other U.S. west coast ports and has capacity for future growth. The port has committed to ensuring its reliable, consistent, on-time delivery of long haul containerized imports will continue to be a priority.

Ridley Terminals, the coal terminal in Prince Rupert, is investigating a number of infrastructure enhancements to increase terminal throughput and has the option of expanding the facility to increase capacity in the coming years.

Container capacity at Prince Rupert will quadruple by 2014 with the addition of the second phase of the Fairview Container Terminal, which will add 1.5 million TEUs of terminal capacity. Ridley Island at the Port of Prince Rupert has more than 400 hectares with deep water access available for future development and a development plan is underway that could add up to 70 million tonnes of handling capacity for a number of new bulk and general cargo facilities.

CN, Prince Rupert's rail connection to North America, has made significant investments in its Northern Corridor rail line and plans to invest further. To date, CN has invested roughly $600 million in projects that specifically relate to the Asia-Pacific gateway corridor - everything from railway equipment to sidings and signals and facilities like the Prince George Transload Centre.

"CN's two Pacific Gateway corridors serving our customers via the ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver continue to support the strong growth we have seen across all product lines this year," said Sean Goff, CN general manager - Asia, based in Shanghai. "CN's focus on supply chain agreements with both ports, as well as innovative new service offerings, continue to assist our customers in northern B.C. compete in the global marketplace."

The Province has provided supporting road infrastructure to that of the port and rail in the Northern Corridor, investing over $250 million in improvements to the Cariboo Connector and Highway 16.

The Pacific Gateway Alliance also met with delegates from the Prince George area who are members of the Supply Chain Logistics Canada delegation in Hong Kong. Prince George Airport CEO and president John Gibson, director of marketing and business development Todd Doherty, and Tim McEwan of Initiatives Prince George have been in China since October 31, meeting with Chinese Federation of Logistics and Purchasing businesses and touring port, air cargo and logistics facilities in four cities in China. The two delegations shared insight from their journeys and discussed joint opportunities to capitalize on the expected growth in activity in northern B.C.

"There are enormous opportunities ahead for the Northern Corridor as the shortest and most efficient route for moving goods between China and the U.S heartland markets," said Tim McEwan, president and CEO of Initiatives Prince George."Realizing these opportunities require efforts now to get additional infrastructure in place at the key nodes of Prince George and Prince Rupert, while maintaining regular, coordinated and targeted marketing efforts to get the word out in China and other Asian markets."

Bond and officials from Pacific Gateway partners Port Metro Vancouver, Port of Prince Rupert, CN, Canadian Pacific, Vancouver International Airport and BNSF are in Asia on a trade mission that will strengthen relationships and secure the Pacific Gateway's position as the preferred gateway for Asian exporters.