Prince Rupert Port Authority on track for record year despite challenging October

The Prince Rupert Port Authority continues its push to another record year, despite a rough October for many of the terminals.

Fairview Terminal was up 22 per cent this October compared to last October, with 50,721 TEUs moving through the terminal compared to 41,465 last October, while so far this year Fairview is up 44 per cent compared to last year. Imports through the terminal were up 14 per cent compared to last October, with 26,816 TEUs being handled, and so far imports in 2012 are up 41 per cent compared to the first 10 months of 2011, with 265,250 TEUs coming ashore compared to 188,046 last year.

While exports were up this October compared to last, the number of empty containers being shipped out was 84 per cent while the number of loaded containers leaving Prince Rupert was down five per cent, falling from 10,216 TEUs to 9,661 TEUs.

So far this year the number of loaded TEUs being exported is up 24 per cent compared to the first 10 months of 2011, but this is the fourth month in a row that loaded exports through Prince Rupert have fallen. In July year-to-date loaded containers being shipped out were up42.8 per cent while July 2012 numbers were down 12,2 per cent compared to July 2011. In August the year-over-year numbers were down 1.2 per cent, in September the year-over-year exports were down 14 per cent, and this October saw five per cent fewer containers being shipped out of Fairview Terminal. The Prince Rupert Port Authority is still analyzing possible reasons for the decline.

As for other terminals operating on Prince Rupert Port Authority lands, October saw drops across the board.

Ridley Terminals, while still up 11 per cent so far this year with just over nine million tonnes moved so far in 2012, saw a drop of 47 per cent this October compared to last, falling from 1.03 million tonnes to 541,606 tonnes. Metallurgical coal was down 65 per cent and is down three per cent so far this year, while petroleum coke was down 61 per cent last month but remains up 49 per cent. According to Michelle Bryant of Ridley Terminals, in October there were 10 days of downtime due to expansion related items and maintenance, and another four days and 18 hours of downtime due to “force majeure”, or nature-related incidents.

Prince Rupert Grain is down seven per cent so far in 2012 compared to 2011, and was down 17 per cent year-over-year. Movement of logs through the harbour was down 50 per cent this October compared to last and is down 42 per cent so far this year.

All told there was 25 per cent less traffic moving through the port of Prince Rupert in October compared to last October, with 1.58 million tonnes this year compared to 2.11 million tonnes last year. Despite that, the port is up 12 per cent compared to its record year in 2011,moving 17.68 million tonnes of goods compared to 15.83 million tonnes last year.

In terms of passenger traffic, October was a strong month for BC Ferries. 3,121 people traveled through Prince Rupert aboard BC Ferries this October compared to last, a difference of 213 per cent. Regardless, the number of domestic ferry passengers so far this year is down five per cent compared to 2011.

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