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In the News

Rupert & Around The Northwest

Tuesday November 30, 2010 


old new......... to be updated soon :-)

Rupert's Faith Weather And Future

Hope is our guide as we cope with the chilly and constant changing of the weather, the new federal budget, the upcoming provincial election, along with our very own city Council antics and it's shaky and flexing economy.  Yes we're all hopeful these things will be better in 2009.  So hold on everyone, it's been difficult start just getting through the first month's weather.... if that's any indicator.

There has been a few bright points mind you, entertainment wise that is.  The return of hockey with the Rupert Rampage has been a pleasant treat.  Former Mayor Herb Pond will be stepping up to the provincial MLA race this May and the Prince Rupert Concert Society has an interesting selection this year.

Coast to be bathed in bright music

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Courtesy The Daily News
The Prince Rupert Concert Society is bringing some hot music to the North Coast next week.

Mighty Popo, a Rwandan/Burundian refugee survivor whose music is steeped in African tradition, will be lighting up the stage with a five-piece band.

For anybody feeling cabin fever - be prepared to be uplifted. If the song Ma Afrika, available for listening-to on his website, is any indication of what to expect, it should be a great night.

Described as one of Canada's rising stars, Mighty Popo is a member of the 2004 Juno Award winning African Guitar Summit, he's performed at the Canadian edition of Bob Geldof's International Live 8 concerts.

"En route to understanding Popo's musical and career achievements, one would do well to consider how Africa and Africans are often subjected to certain distortions in the public consciousness," his website states.

Concert Society president Doug Moore said he's been waiting for years to bring Mighty Popo to Prince Rupert.

He first heard the band play by chance when Vancouver hosted Folk Alliance.

"All the concert delegates were given a pass to go hear musicians playing in various venues along Commercial Drive. There were line-ups at lots of venues and I walked into one venue and Mighty Popo was playing. I'd never heard of them before but they were wonderful," Moore said.

While inheriting a love of the traditional music of Rwanda and Burundi, Popo has also had a lifelong connection with rock and roll, blues, jazz, R & B, Reggae and folk traditions.

The concert takes place Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. at the Lester Centre of the Arts. Tickets are available at Cook's Jewellers and the Lester Centre Box Office.


Port feels buoyant despite world economic downturn

By Kris Schumacher
Courtesy The Daily News
Despite a global economic downturn that has resulted in declining traffic through most other North American West Coast ports, the Port of Prince Rupert experienced a moderate increase in tonnage last year.

Led by a surge in container traffic through the Fairview Terminal, the Port of Prince Rupert handled 10,596,863 tonnes in 2008, a moderate increase over 2007.

During its first full year of operations, Fairview Container Terminal handled 181,890 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) from 78 vessels.

The terminal's throughput for the first six months was 42,555 TEUs, before jumping more than 300 per cent in the second half of 2008 with 139,335 TEUs, as a result of the addition of the second COSCO/CKYH Alliance service in July.

In the fourth quarter, the terminal operated at greater than 60 per cent of its 500,000 TEU per year capacity, with a throughput of 79,106 TEUs.

"The opening of the Fairview Container Terminal in 2007 was an important step toward connecting the Canadian economy to the developing economies of Asia and solidifying Canada's position as a leader in international trade in the Asia Pacific Region," said Dale MacLean, chair of the PRPA board of directors.

"The new express gateway is providing shippers with unparalleled speed and reliability, a competitive advantage in their supply chain management, while the Fairview Terminal has created a solid foundation for economic activity in Western Canada and a stimulus for new investment across the region."

PRPA President and CEO Don Krusel said the surge in traffic during the second half of 2008 is reflective of a growing confidence among shippers in the competitive advantages of moving their cargo through the new Asia-North America express gateway corridor.

"The PRPA, in conjunction with our CN, Maher Terminals and the COSCO-CKYH Alliance partners, are delivering on our commitment to providing our shipping customers with unparalleled reliability, speed and cost effectiveness," said Krusel.

"This is more crucial now than ever before because the global economic turmoil is drastically affecting their businesses. The competitive advantages of shipping through Prince Rupert are delivering value to their bottom lines," said Krusel.

Ridley Terminals Inc. (RTI) handled 4,847,031 tonnes in 2008, down slightly from 5,085,771 tonnes in 2007.

RTI experienced an increase in coking coal, petroleum coke and wood pellets, but a decrease of nearly 300,000 tonnes of coal as a result of production cutbacks among its coal-producing customers.

Also declining was throughput at Prince Rupert Grain (PRG), which decreased 26.3 per cent in the calendar year, from 5,098,402 tonnes to 3,759,517 tonnes, as a result of a 33.6 per cent drop in wheat traffic. However, PRG, which handles about 30 per cent of grains moving through Canadian West Coast ports, saw an increase in barley, canola and grain screenings in 2008.

Prince Rupert did experience its best cruise season in five years of operations, welcoming 63 ships and a record 103,635 passengers, up from 99,135 in 2007. The 2008 season also saw a 21 per cent increase in passengers participating in shore excursion tours, and passengers spent nearly $2.4 million in the city on tours and excursions in 2008, up 32.4 per cent from 2007.

The total economic impact of the cruise industry in Prince Rupert is estimated to have exceeded $10 million in 2008, but will be significantly less in 2009.

9 Slides Reported Between Terrace-Prince Rupert

Difficulties continue on the North Coast with Road a Rail being hampered because of weather and slides.

Slide closes Highway 16

By Monica Lamb-Yorski,  Courtesy The Daily News

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

For the second time in as many weeks, Highway 16 between Terrace and Prince Rupert is closed.

This time around, two mud slides forced the closure. Last week, it was avalanche control 50 km west of Terrace at the spot known as "35 Mile" that caused the closure.

"That area is a frequent avalanche performer," said Don Ramsay, district manager of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure about the area around "35 Mile."

Environment Canada

North Coast - coastal sections
Tuesday 13 January 2009

Today..Drizzle. Fog patches dissipating early this afternoon. Windy. High 8.
Tonight..Drizzle ending overnight then cloudy. Fog patches developing overnight. Low plus 5.
Wednesday..Sunny with cloudy periods. Fog patches dissipating in the afternoon. High 7.
Thursday..A mix of sun and cloud. Low plus 2. High 6.
Friday..Cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Low zero. High 7.
Saturday..A mix of sun and cloud. Low plus 2. High 9.
Normals for the period..Low minus 2. High plus 5.

Political Leaders Float Infrastructural Support Balloons

Harper and Campbell have much to ponder.  Canada's economy is loosing jobs at a staggering rate.  Harper is on the verge of his governments defeat.  Campbell's Olympics are about trip to up Vancouver city's budget with it's biggest hurdle yet.

There are projects out there and local civic governments should be pushing to have their concerns heard.

Make Prince Rupert the gateway, say Deltaport opponents

Prime Minister Stephen Harper stopped in Surrey yesterday to officially launch construction on the South Fraser Perimeter Road -- a four-lane expressway that will link the Deltaport to the Trans-Canada Highway.

A group of protesters chanting "Don't want it! Don't need it!" gathered outside the Surrey docks where the press conference took place, reported Surrey Now.

The road itself is a billion dollar project (of which the federal government will contribute $365 million) and part of the much larger and controversial Gateway project.

In a press release, Gordon Campbell stated the road will streamline the movement of goods and ensure "we can tap into the trade opportunities with the Asia-Pacific."

Don Hunt, head of Delta's Sunbury neighborhood association, spoke to The Tyee before Harper's event.

He said there are "a dozen different reasons why the project shouldn't go ahead," one of which is the fact that it’s in an environmentally sensitive area -- home to Burns Bog and farmland.

Hunt also said the road and Deltaport expansion are not wanted, or needed. He thinks the "gateway" to Asia should be in Prince Rupert.

There, plans are underway to quadruple the size of the port facilities by 2014.

Barry Bartlett, corporate communications director for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said container traffic has increased by 280 per cent in the first three-quarters of this year.

Bartlett wouldn't comment on whether he thought federal and provincial spending on Deltaport was a good idea.

He said that funding was "still in the works" for phase two of the Prince Rupert expansion, which is estimated to cost $650 million (about as much as the province will have to cough up for the South Fraser Perimeter Road alone.)

"We're getting containers from Yokohama, Japan to Chicago in about twelve days," said Bartlett.

"That's considered very, very, very good."

Bartlett says part of the reason is because Prince Rupert is geographically closer to Asia than Vancouver, but also because the port is able to quickly offload containers directly onto a train.

"The rail line is less than 200 meters from the ship," he said.

"We've eliminated the use of trucks."

The South Fraser Perimeter Road will extend 40 kilometers through Delta and Surrey along the Fraser River, linking the port with Highways 1, 99 and 91.

Senior municipal manager parts ways with city

By George T. Baker
Courtesy The Daily News
Mayor Jack Mussallem cannot say exactly when it happened or who decided it, but he confirms it is a fact that the city's Corporate Administrator Doug Jay is no longer with the city.

Mussallem confirmed the city had parted company with Jay after an ad was placed in Wednesday's edition of the Daily News.

Citing city policy, Mussallem said he could not speak about the details of the contract's termination, only that he could say it has happened and that the city was set to move on.

"We're moving on and Mr. Jay is moving on and that's all I can say about it," said Mussallem...

More Snow On The Way

Rupert residents, many of whom have become snow weary are preparing for even more snow and the likely hood  of yet messier driving conditions to come.  First reports of more snow and now rain up to 50mm plus are forecast by Sunday.  City work crews although understaffed and no doubt under funded for this past  snow fall, continue to try to cope with buried vehicles, sewer drains, and hidden fire hydrants.

Enjoy those sleighs and toboggans while you can.

Strike Drum Beat Echo Heard Nation Wide

Little significant news coming from bargaining talks with port workers. The positive is that continuing talks are scheduled.  Even our own Globe and Mail has their drum kit out. Stay tuned.

Strike threat looms for ports across province

The Nanaimo Port Authority could see strike action next week if negotiations taking place today (Jan. 3) between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union fail.

But Port Authority CEO Bill Mills is remaining optimistic that the parties, along with two federally appointed mediators, will come to a resolution.

“I’m encouraged that they’re talking, and I’m hoping that there’s going to be some resolve and we won’t have to be dealing with the issues related to a strike,” he said.

The two parties last met on Dec. 29 and are reportedly discussing issues such as pension payments and working conditions.

If the negotiations fail, up to 425 foremen from ILWU local 514 could walk off the job on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, halting the flow of goods.

Mills said it would be hard to put an exact number on how many local workers would be affected if a strike were to take place.

“It would stop any shipments, that’s for sure,” he said. “The biggest impact will be to Canada’s largest ports like Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax where they’re moving hundreds of millions of dollars a day through the terminals.”

This week, a lumber and salt barge were scheduled to unload at local docks before negotiations resume.

Rupert Longshoremen A Small Piece Of The Bigger Puzzle

Prince Rupert Port workers are just a small part of the bigger picture.  Local Port management would do well to return to the table and help work out a settlement that all can agree on.  These issues are not new as both sides are aware.  It's all part of doing business and the issues under discussion at this time are a surprise to no one.

World economic issues aside, it is typical of Labour bargaining these days where employers with outdated collective agreements and hard line agendas tend to call upon Chicken Little, gather in a circle, beat the drum, and point to the sky excusing themselves of their shared responsibility to bargain constructively.

Let us all hope this New Year brings a little bit of much needed common sense to the bargaining table.  The world will be better if it does.

Port strike threat looms as sides get around table

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News

Fingers are crossed that resumed negotiations taking place tomorrow between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Local 514 and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) with two federally appointed mediators, will result in a settlement, avoiding a strike or lockout that would drastically affect Prince Rupert and Vancouver ports.

Local 514 has been without a contract since March 2007 and is in a legal position to issue strike notice as of Jan. 2.

If the union, representing 450 ship and dock foremen - 11 in Prince Rupert - does strike, 5,000 port workers - 200 in Prince Rupert - are expected to walk off the job in support.

Issues on the table include pension payments and working conditions.

In a telephone conversation, the office administrator at the ILWU 514 office in Vancouver said the union was not issuing further statements as of this morning, but did confirm that the two sides will resume negotiations tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.

According to a Canadian Press article dated Dec. 29, only grain shipments would be guaranteed in the event of a disruption, because they are protected by federal law.

"Specialty crops that move by containers are not covered by the law," the article stated.

In past strikes, workers have been legislated back to work, but with Canada's parliament temporarily suspended, federal action would not be possible until after Jan. 27 when parliament resumes.

According to Lloyd's List, the potential strike has already induced some shippers to divert cargo away from Prince Rupert to the U.S. Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

Prince Rupert Port Authority's president and CEO Don Krusel voiced concern about the potential impact of unresolved negotiations in a letter to Minister of Labour Rona Ambrose, dated Dec. 22.

"A labour disruption would likely result in the long-term loss of hard-won trade through Canadian West Coast ports, which may never be recovered. Canadian importers and exporters, already reeling from the global economic turbulence that is eroding their financial health, will be forced to find alternate, more expensive shipping routes," wrote Krusel.

"This domino effect would result in significant job losses and adversely impact families across this new northern Canadian trade corridor as well as the Canadian economy," Krusel stated.

Tim McEwan, president and CEO of Initiatives Prince George Development Corporation, echoed Krusel's concerns in a letter to Minister Ambrose, composed on New Year's Eve.

"Initiatives Prince George has very strongly supported the development of the Fairview Container Terminal [at] the Port of Prince Rupert in opening up Northern British Columbia as a new international trade corridor that will catalyze job and wealth creation," stated McKewan on behalf of the Economic Development Authority for the City of Prince George .

"Prince George's opportunities moving forward are based on the investment community's continuing confidence in Northern British Columbia corridor opportunities."

McKewan said investor confidence levels will be strongly influenced by the level of services provided by the port, which, to date has been superior.

"Volumes have been building in recent months at the Port of Prince Rupert," McKewan added.

Both Krusel and McEwan have asked the federal government to actively work to prevent disruptions at the ports in Prince Rupert and Vancouver. In addition, Krusel stated the Prince Rupert Port Authority would appreciate the federal government's "consideration for structural changes, either through essential service legislation or amalgamating the two ILWU entities into one council, to avoid similar future potential disruptions."

A telephone call to Minister Ambrose's office indicated her office will open again on Jan. 5. She could not be reached for comment.

Talks extended to avert Canada ports strike

LABOUR negotiations are to resume Saturday in Vancouver to potentially avoid a strike that could cripple traffic through British Columbia’s ports that depend heavily on maritime trade with Asia. 

The key ports involved are Port Metro Vancouver and Prince Rupert, which handle both bulk and container cargoes. 

In the presence of two federal mediators, negotiators representing 450 unionised foremen and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Assocation (BCMEA) agreed to resume talks on Saturday following discussions on Monday that appeared to signal some progress. As a result, a threatened work stoppage has been pushed beyond the original January 2 deadline. 

The threatened strike has already induced some shippers to divert cargo to the US Pacific northwest ports of Seattle and Tacoma. 

“With the highly volatile global economy in recession, it is imperative that our Pacific Gateway remains open,” said Capt. Stephen Brown, President of the Chamber of Shipping, the leading voice for British Columbia’s marine industry. 

He expressed the fear that “job action by the union would lead to all of British Columbia’s ports shutting down.” 

He added that the timing of the waterfront labour uncertainty was especially unfortunate for another reason– coming soon after a large delegation from Port Metro Vancouver and port terminal.
“We will be very disappointed if we shoot ourselves in the foot,” Mr. Brown, told Lloyd’s List

“We remain hopeful for a resolution,” nonetheless declared Tom Dufresne, president of Local 514 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). 

Outstanding issues reportedly include pension payments and planned new working conditions in response to technological advances. The previous collective agreement expired in March 2007. 

If there is a work stoppage, only grain shipments will be guaranteed because they are protected under federal laws.

Prince Rupert port sees rapid increase in box traffic
November 07, 2008

Canada's port of Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia has announced a sharp rise in box traffic since Cosco vessels began calling at the newly-built container terminal in July.  Total tonnage for the nine-month period to the end of September saw a small increase, despite the downturn in the world economy, the Prince Rupert Port Authority indicated.


Cumulative box throughput to the end of the third quarter reached 102,775 teu. Third quarter volume amounted to nearly 60,000 teu, compared with about 21,000 teu in both the first and second quarters.


"This certainly speaks well of the demonstrated velocity of the entire supply chain system and shipper satisfaction with the terminal's performance," said Prince Rupert Port Authority president Don Krusel.


The port reported that in the period to end September, 50 container vessels from the Cosco-led CKYH Alliance called at the terminal. Import box traffic from Asia for North American destinations amounted to 62,365 teu, while export volume was 40,423 teu. CKYH Alliance is comprised of Cosco, Yang Ming, Hanjin Shipping and K Line.


The deepwater port, which offers the shortest route between Asia and the west coast of North America, has also seen its container activity bolstered in mid-October thanks to the phasing out of the smaller ships in the CKYH Alliance's China Express North service.  Upgrades from 5,446 teu to mostly 7,544 teu ships have increased the overall capacity of the five-vessel service by about 1,200 teu.


"The Fairview container terminal and CN's [Canadian National Railway] connecting rail service are offering our shippers a superior level of fluidity, cost effectiveness and speed that is enhancing their competitiveness and bottom line," said Cosco Canada vice-president Dave Bedwell.


The Chicago market and central Canada are the chief targets of Prince Rupert's container business.


"CKYH Alliance shipping lines are working with customers to take advantage of valuable commodities produced in western Canada that may have markets in Asia, and to better utilize the empty containers returning to Asia," Mr Bedwell said.


While grain traffic was down 28 percent, this was offset by the port handling 1m tons of containers. The port's container terminal has an annual capacity of 500,000 teu. A second box terminal is undergoing an environmental review.


Source Courtesy:  Lloyd's List, November 7, 2008

All viewpoints contained within belong solely to the authors & do not necessarily represent any specific affiliation. 

The soul intent is to broaden thought & invoke open discussion.



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Updated Tuesday, 30 November 2010

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