Prince Rupert Port Authority Highlights Importance of Exports to Northern BC


The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA), through a funding partnership with Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT), has published a Northern BC Export Profile today that illustrates the critical role that international exports play in underpinning local economies in communities from the Cariboo to the Yukon border.

The interactive web platform will broaden visibility for community, business and economic policy leaders on the diverse resource export industries that currently support the economy of Northern BC, and will be an important tool to identify new export and economic development opportunities for the region. The development of regional export strategies will be critical to continuing to grow a sustainable, competitive, and diverse Northern BC economy that maximizes the value of local resources and labour. 

The profile confirmed Northern BC as a key economic driver for British Columbia, particularly with respect to export sectors like forestry, petrochemicals, mining, agriculture and fisheries. These industries, and the communities that depend on them, have been vulnerable to economic cycles. Increasing the capacity, capabilities and flexibility of supply chains, and ensuring competitive market access to a diversified international market for Northern BC products, is a fundamental approach to improving the stability of local industries and communities. 

The Northern BC Export Profile was developed to ensure current export flows including volumes, values, destinations and transportation modes by region and industry of origin, were better understood by a broader array of stakeholders. Highlights from the Profile include (2019 data):

  • $17.0 billion of resource-based exports were produced in Northern BC and transported to both interprovincial and international markets.
  • $12.1 billion of Northern BC’s total production, or 72%, was exported to destinations outside Canada, primarily the US and Asia-Pacific.
  • $6.7 billion of petrochemical exports made up the largest single export sector in Northern BC in 2019, all from the Northeast BC region. 
  • $5.5 billion of exports shipped to Asia-Pacific markets made it the largest single export destination from Northern BC, led by exports from the mining sector and the Cariboo-Chilcotin-Lillooet region.
  • $2.2 billion of lumber, pulp, paper and pellet exports from the North-Central region drove the forestry sector’s export performance, but forestry made up at least 10% of every region’s export mix.
  • $354 million of agriculture and aquaculture exports represents the fastest growing export sector in Northern BC between 2018 and 2019, driven by the Northwest region’s fish exports to the US and Asia-Pacific.
  • $7.6 billion of Northern BC exports were delivered to port or destination by rail, representing the dominant transportation mode for all sectors outside of domestic petrochemical pipelines from Northeast BC.

Comprehensive export profiles like this will help to understand market shifts that are already occurring and make connections between modes of transportation and the trade they support.The Profile also shines a light on the possibilities of developing regional initiatives for Northern BC that can help add value to current exports and identify opportunities for new exports.

“The Prince Rupert Port Authority plays an important role in the current and future success of Northern BC’s economy, and this is the first report that collects Northern BC’s international trade data across multiple industries and communities in one place,” said Ken Veldman, VP of Public Affairs & Sustainability at the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “We consider the new Northern BC Export Profile as the first step in taking a more strategic, regional approach to Northern BC economic development which will help provide innovative ways to develop more value-added opportunities for exports and create sustainable economic growth for Northern BC. Its our way of starting a conversation with regional communities to ensure we are all playing an active role in developing our own ‘Made in Northern BC’ future that builds on our strengths.”

“The Trust believes the expansion of export markets is critical for the future economic growth of our region. The Northern BC Export Profile is a beneficial collaborative effort that expands on information from our State of the North Report and provides valuable data along with a renewed focus on export development,” Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Development of the Northern BC Export Profile was enabled with the important participation of the BC Ministry of Transportation and multiple business and industry stakeholders in the region.

To explore the Northern British Columbia Export Profile, visit https://northernbcexportprofile.com/.

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