Port of Prince Ru­pert un­veils ter­mi­nal

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE - ALICJA SIEKIERSKA

The ex­pan­sion project at the Port of Prince Ru­pert wrapped up Tues­day with the un­veil­ing of the up­graded Fairview Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal, a hub that an­a­lysts say has emerged as one of Cana­dian Na­tional Rail­way’s most prized cor­ri­dors for future growth.

The $200-mil­lion in­vest­ment by Dubai-owned DP World has turned the Prince Ru­pert fa­cil­ity into Canada’s sec­ond-largest con­tainer ter­mi­nal, in­creas­ing the an­nual ca­pac­ity from 850,000 twenty-foot equiv­a­lent unit (TEU) con­tain­ers to 1.35 mil­lion. Since open­ing in 2007, the con­tainer has grown from weekly ser­vice fea­tur­ing one train per week to ser­vic­ing ma­jor steamship com­pa­nies and more than 14 trains a week. An up­grade was needed, said DP World Canada’s gen­eral man­ager Mak­sim Mi­hic in a state­ment.

“Prince Ru­pert’s suc­cess has been driven by its un­par­al­leled ge­o­graph­i­cal po­si­tion on the trans-Pa­cific trade route, its high ter­mi­nal pro­duc­tiv­ity and its con­sis­tently low dwell times that have sus­tained de­spite our sig­nif­i­cant growth,” Mi­hic said.

With CN’s ex­clu­sive ac­cess to the ter­mi­nal, Ray­mond James an­a­lyst Steve Hansen said in a note to clients Tues­day that the Port of Prince Ru­pert is “a strate­gic gem.”

“While CN’s vast net­work af­fords it many unique growth op­por­tu­ni­ties, the Port of Prince Ru­pert is quickly emerg­ing as one of the rail­road’s most prized growth cor­ri­dors,” Hansen wrote, point­ing to a “flurry” of cur­rent and future cap­i­tal in­vest­ment thanks to the site’s many ad­van­tages, in­clud­ing re­duced con­ges­tion time and ex­penses in Cana­dian dol­lars.

Canada’s largest na­tional rail­way has seen con­sis­tent growth this year, with higher freight vol­umes across a range of sec­tors driv­ing a 20-per-cent quar­terly profit gain last month.

Wal­ter Sprack­lin, an an­a­lyst with RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets, said in a note to clients that the up­graded Fairview Con­tainer ter­mi­nal is win­ning share, as vol­ume flows to CN.

“Based on the rapid ex­pan­sion of vol­umes at Fairview, we be­lieve that the ad­van­tages the ter­mi­nal of­fers, namely the short­est sail­ing dis­tance from Shang­hai to the west coast and fast con­tainer evac­u­a­tion is res­onat­ing with ship­pers,” Sprack­lin wrote.

Sprack­lin said the Prince Ru­pert ex­pan­sion could of­fer the op­por­tu­nity to di­ver­sify the mix of cargo, in­clud­ing LNG and grain.

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