Port of Prince Rupert Handles 23.5 Million Tonnes of Cargo in 2023, A 5 Percent Annual Decline
The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) announced today that 23.5 million tonnes of cargo moved through the Port of Prince Rupert in 2023, five percent less than volumes in 2022.
This marks a third consecutive year of volume decline and reflects challenges of shifting global shipping routes, soft demand for imports, and competition with other North American trade gateways for discretionary cargo. However, despite the decline in volumes, significant milestones were reached in 2023 that support the evolution of the trade gateway to become more competitive, resilient, and sustainable in the near and long-term.
“The Port of Prince Rupert is at a critical juncture, and we are focused on actively expanding the services, capacity, and capabilities required to strengthen our competitive advantage that trade partners and industry have come to rely on and grow our gateway,” said Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO, Prince Rupert Port Authority. “The 2023 results underscore the importance of the projects already underway to develop large-scale transloading infrastructure and build new energy export facilities. These developments will open a new chapter in intermodal trade at the Port and anchor Canada’s role in global energy security for decades to come.”
DP World Prince Rupert’s Fairview Container Terminal saw a 32 percent decrease in volumes in 2023. This significant drop is due to a broader decline in North American intermodal imports and strong competition on Transpacific trade routes. Terminal performance was also impacted by labour action that halted operations for 13 days in Q3.
Demand for western Canadian energy products was strong in 2023, with AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal shipping nearly 2 million tonnes, a 13 percent increase over 2022. Pembina’s Watson Island LPG Bulk Terminal entered its third year of operations, handling close to 494,000 tonnes, an eight percent decrease year-over-year. Drax’s Westview Wood Pellet Terminal shipped 1.3 million tonnes to markets in Europe and Asia.
Trigon Pacific Terminals also saw a strong year, moving 8.8 million tonnes of dry bulk product through its terminal, including 5.4 million tonnes of metallurgical coal. Shipments of that product saw a 51 percent jump over 2022.
A stronger harvest year contributed to Prince Rupert Grain shipping nearly 3.6 million tonnes of western Canadian agricultural products, an 11 percent rise year-over-year.
Cruise traffic almost doubled over 2022 volumes, with 81,327 cruise passengers transiting through Prince Rupert in 2023. It was also the first year that cruise terminal operations, scheduling, passenger services, and shore excursions were managed by Global Ports Holding (GPH) – the world’s largest independent cruise port operator.
In 2023, the Port of Prince Rupert moved forward on multiple strategic projects and partnerships that are essential to strengthening and diversifying the trade gateway. These projects will ensure the Port of Prince Rupert can continue to anchor competitive and resilient trade, while taking a leading role in developing sustainable global supply chains:
- Construction was started on the $750-million Ridley Island Export Logistics Project, an innovative large-scale facility that will provide rail-to-container transloading of multiple export products. RayMont Logistics will develop and operate the site’s transload facilities that will provide a total capacity of 400 thousand TEUs annually and will commence operations in Q3 2026.
- The Ridley Energy Export Facility, a joint venture between AltaGas and Vopak, executed a long-term lease on a 190-acre site administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. The proposed terminal will develop infrastructure that can provide over 7 million tonnes of capacity for a variety of liquid bulk cargoes, including lower-carbon energy sources such as propane, butane, and methanol. Early works began on the bulk liquid storage and export facility in Q4 2023, with a Final Investment Decision anticipated in Q2 2024.
- GPH continues to work with PRPA, local businesses, and cruise lines to grow passenger volumes over the next several years, while working to ensure the infrastructure and amenities are in place to support a significant increase in cruise visitors.
Click here to see PRPA’s December 2023 traffic summary.