Port of Prince Rupert May Renew Breakbulk Trade


Published Sep 15, 2016 8:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Prince Rupert, Canada is investigating the possibility of adding a new breakbulk terminal. It lost its breakbulk capacity ten years ago following the conversion of its Fairview wharf to a container facility.

The breakbulk terminal would be located roughly three miles north of the site for the proposed $11 billion Pacific NorthWest LNG facility. PNW LNG received a positive final investment decision last year and is awaiting an approval from Canadian regulators. 

The port is working with operator SSA Marine and subsidiary Western Stevedoring to conduct a feasibility assessment. If the results are good, the consortium would proceed with an environmental assessment. 

“Ongoing cargo diversification is one of the highest priorities for the Port of Prince Rupert, and the potential for the return of breakbulk and general cargoes capacity to the Port of Prince Rupert represents a clear response to growing market demand in Western Canada,” said Don Krusel, the port's president and CEO. 

The 200-acre terminal site, on the south shore of the island, connects with a road, rail and utility corridor. It abuts a main railroad line and is near to bulk coal and grain terminals at Ridley island, allowing for transshipment. 

Western Stevedoring president Brad Eshleman said that Prince Rupert's safe harbor and proximity to Asia would give breakbulk customers an edge. The port foresees a combination of cargoes, including forest products, steel, project cargo, bulk specialty agricultural products, bulk mineral concentrates and automobiles. 

The port also announced the commissioning of a new shore-based radar network to improve vessel traffic safety and handle increasing numbers of ships. The radar will help the Canadian Coast Guard to monitor port traffic from the Alaskan border all the way to Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands), 45 nm to the west.