Ken Veldman, Prince Rupert Port Authority director of public affairs, spoke about the Port of Prince Rupert's economic impact study when it was released at a Jan. 19-event.

Ken Veldman, Prince Rupert Port Authority director of public affairs, spoke about the Port of Prince Rupert's economic impact study when it was released at a Jan. 19-event.

Growing trade through Port of Prince Rupert boosts Northwest employment numbers

Port of Prince Rupert employment has grown significantly, with the effects being felt by federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Employment related to Port of Prince Rupert activity has grown 110 per cent over the last five years according to a new economic impact study by the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA).

“This study shows that growth in port-related trade is creating new and lucrative opportunities for skilled workers throughout British Columbia’s northern region. Prince Rupert may be the gateway for goods and Canadian commodities, but its significant economic impact is not restricted to any one community,” Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said.

“These results are a credit to the initiative, drive and commitment of B.C.’s working men and women.”

The report, prepared by InterVISTAS Consulting Inc., was completed on Jan. 15 and released during a Chamber of Commerce “Business After Business” reception hosted by the PRPA at the Port Interpretive Centre on Jan. 19.

The economic impact study showed that an equivalent of 3,060 permanent full-time jobs with combined wages of $200 million was created by the $1.2 billion in economic activity from the transportation of port-related exports and imports.

This is an increase of 1,600 jobs since 2009, with more than 800 being in the last three years.

“These 1,600 new jobs are all based on existing terminals and the existing capacity that runs through the gateway. So as long as volume continues to grow, we expect employment to continue to grow,” said Ken Veldman, PRPA director of public affairs.

The report also states the total employment number reaches more than 6,000 when indirect employment, jobs servicing or supplying port-related companies, and induced employment, labour resulting from money spent by employees in the communities, are taken into consideration.

Port-related employment is dispersed across northern B.C., with 43 per cent of jobs supporting trade through the port being located outside of Prince Rupert and Port Edward. Veldman said most of these are related to rail and trucking.

The study also showed a steady climb in the annual wage, rising by $4,000 since 2011. The average wage hit $64,000 for positions in the gateway industry including occupations in rail and trucking, terminal operations and stevedoring, marine services and other direct port activities.

“The Port of Prince Rupert has long proven itself as a beacon of hope and source of many good paying jobs for the people of the Northwest,” Nathan Cullen, Skeena-Bulkey Valley MP, said.

But the study noted trade gateway benefits aren’t limited to workers and their families. The companies operating in the Port of Prince Rupert and their employees exceeded $80 million in tax contributions in 2014. Two-thirds of this was paid to the federal government, with the province receiving $20.8 million and municipalities hosting port industry getting $6.4 million in taxes.

Veldman said a message the study displays is the importance of diversification.

“While the volume of jobs and economic activity has grown, the stability has also really improved,” he said.

“[A great example of this was Ridley Terminals Inc.] having a slower year. You could see those numbers being reflected overall, but at the same time we have Fairview, Prince Rupert Grain and Westview Terminal that are picking up the slack for that. That kind of stability, not just from a port perspective, but from a community perspective, is extremely valuable,” said Veldman.

Examination for the study was conducted by surveying on and offsite employers affiliated with the operation of the Port of Prince Rupert. Indirect and induced effects were determined using economic multipliers developed by Statistics Canada.

To view the full Economic Impact Study, visit rupertport.com.

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