Weekly MP Report from Jay Hill

MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.

“Port of Prince Rupert and Ridley Terminals Poised for New Opportunities”

The Port of Prince Rupert is ideally positioned to seize exciting new trade opportunities in the Pacific Rim. In fact, even through these difficult economic times, the Port itself has continued to attract increased container business and chemical shipments. It has now become a favoured shipping point in the long-term planning of many Asian companies.

The Port of Prince Rupert was specifically mentioned by senior Chinese Government officials I met with both in Beijing last summer and, more recently, in Ottawa.

For Prince George-Peace River and all of northern BC, this is very good news as it signals tremendous potential, both now and in the next 5 to 10 years, for new growth in our resource-based industries, our transportation sector and new opportunities for our value-added industries.

The Port of Prince Rupert is well positioned geographically – it is 30 hours closer to Asia than any other port in North America. Yet the port authority has also demonstrated solid business acumen in fostering new and existing relationships with industry, our trading partners and communities throughout British Columbia and Alberta. It has also reached out to Eastern Canada and the United States.

Ridley Terminals is a bulk handling terminal originally established in the early 1980s by the federal government, on land leased from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, to support the development of the coal industry in Northeastern BC. It currently transfers coal, wood pellets and petroleum coke from rail to ships.

This week’s appointment of a new Interim Chair at Ridley Terminals Inc., Bud Smith, will ensure that this facility located at Prince Rupert Port will not be left out of these exciting new opportunities.

The mayors of 30 communities representing central and northern BC’s residents, whose prosperity is tied to the future of Ridley Terminals, have embraced the appointment of Mr. Smith. The Port Authority, as well as current and potential shippers, have also welcomed this new era of cooperation and shared vision that Mr. Smith is undertaking.

Bud Smith is a former BC cabinet minister and, among other boards, previously sat as a director on the Prince Rupert Port Authority Board. His experience and understanding of the port, as well as northern BC industry and regional issues, will undoubtedly prove extremely beneficial to both public entities.

The operations at Ridley and the Port of Prince Rupert are aligned with our Conservative Government’s Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative. It is important that all partners and stakeholders work together cooperatively to realize that vision, which is focused on increased trade with the Asia-Pacific Region.

This involves a strengthened system of transportation infrastructure, including all of BC’s ports, road and rail connections reaching across western Canada and into the economic heartlands of North America, as well as major airports and border crossings. The Port of Prince Rupert, Ridley Terminals, the intermodal terminal in Prince George, as well as the Prince George airport, are all part of the transportation vision so many of us share.

Canada’s ability to provide high-level terminal and shipping services to Canadian industry will help ensure that our nation emerges from this global economic recession faster and stronger than ever!

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