West Coast trading capacity increased with new terminal opening

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PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. — The grand opening of the Prince Rupert Fairview Container Terminal is creating a new high-speed, congestion-free trade corridor between Asia and North America.

The convergence of private-public partnership to finance and complete the dedicated intermodal container terminal allowed the facility to open on schedule and on budget, noted Prince Rupert Port Authority president and CEO Don Krusel.

Our timing couldnt have been better to bring on stream this high-performing container terminal to anchor a new express trade corridor, he said. We will be able to offer both Asian and North American shippers unparalleled reliability, efficiency and speed in moving their products through our port.

The $170 million terminal project, with a design capacity of 500,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) has been funded by five partners:

Maher Terminals, $60 million, including the three super-post panamax cranes
Government of Canada: Western Economic Diversification Canada, $30 million
Province of B.C., $30 million
CN Rail, $25 million towards the terminal’s rail-related infrastructure
Prince Rupert Port Authority, $25 million

Fifty years ago, Canada opened up Atlantic trade to North America with investments in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Today, we are beginning to see investments and even greater opportunity as we open up trade corridors linking the growing Asian economies with North America through Canadas Pacific Gateway, stated British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell. The Port of Prince Rupert is the closest port to the fastest growing economies in the world. This single expansion will create thousands of jobs in this region alone, and shift the focus of North American economies to the Pacific.

In addition, under the Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, the Canadian Border Services Agency will invest $28 million to establish a state of the art container screening program.

Maher Terminals believed the Port of Prince Rupert could become a major cargo gateway for North America when, despite its remoteness, the New Jersey-based operator successfully bid on a 30-year lease in 2001 to establish its first terminal on the West Coast.

We were aware of the skepticism because the conventional port model is to build near large concentrated urban areas and not in isolated areas with no local markets, explained chair Brian Maher. But our family has been in the terminal operations business long enough to know a good thing when we see it. With West Coast ports already congested and grappling with an ever increasing flow of Asian trade, we saw one of the deepest harbours in North America with no congestion, two to three days closer to Asia than any other West Coast ports and one of the best rail lines on the continent with plenty of capacity.

The port is building upon Prince Ruperts strategic advantages to achieve container capacity of at least 4 million TEUs by 2015, which is aligned with Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative targets.

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