The first six months of 2008 saw 42,555 teus (435,550 tons) move through the Fairview Container Terminal, an average of 7,093 teus (20-foot equivalent units) per month. Outbound containers accounted for nearly 50% of the throughput, of which 39% were fully laden for export to Asia.

Weekly container volumes through Prince Rupert have been steadily increasing since early April, from 1,232 teus to a record of 2,631 teus, compared to the North American West Coast port trend of declines in container imports.

“All of the players involved in the Fairview Terminal, from labor and border security services to Maher Terminals, CN and COSCO, have been working collaboratively and diligently to meet shippers’ needs and expectations,” explains Shaun Stevenson, vice president Marketing & Business Development for the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “As a result, we are maintaining a high velocity in moving customers’ cargo from point of origin to destination consistently on time, efficiently and quickly.”

The Port of Prince Rupert’s growing container business achieved another significant milestone on July 19 with the arrival of COSCO’s 7,455 teu Long Beach, the largest container vessel to call at Prince Rupert since the intermodal container terminal began operations in late October, 2007. The Long Beach, the second vessel of a string of five of the new CEN weekly service by COSCO and the CKYH Alliance that began July 8, offloaded and loaded 1,956 teus within 24 hours. This is the second service by the Alliance to call on Prince Rupert, and is comprised of vessels up to 8,200 teus, significantly larger than the nine 5,400 teu containerships that make up the first weekly PNW service.

“The container volumes at the Fairview Terminal are continuing to increase almost on a weekly basis while the West Coast trend is a decrease in container imports,” notes Mr. Stevenson. “This is a validation of the value proposition of the service from shippers provided by this new express trade corridor anchored by the Port of Prince Rupert.”

The throughput is expected to increase substantially as both weekly service calls continue to ramp up.

“COSCO certainly has been very pleased with the congestion free and fluid operations of their vessels calling at the Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert,” says COSCO Canada Executive Vice President Dave Bedwell. “What is interesting to witness is watching an entire community doing whatever has to be done and their pride taken in doing so, to ensure that their new venture in containerization will be successful.”

The Port of Prince Rupert’s overall performance continues to improve as well. Total volume throughput from January to June 2008 was 5,517,337 tons, up 11% compared to 5,021,819 for the first six months of 2007. The container volume of 435,550 tons and Ridley Terminals’ 2,741,906 tons (+8.5%) led the increase in throughput, while product through Prince Rupert Grain decreased 8.5% from 2,607,407 to 2,170,643 tons.