Supply chain congestion issues have made headlines around the world in recent weeks, but the problems plaguing many trade gateways on the West Coast are not an issue at the Port of Prince Rupert. That resiliency is due in large part to the commitment of the thousands of longshore and terminal workers who handle cargo, and the marine workforce that supports the safe transit of ships.
The amount of trade moving through the Port of Prince Rupert, and the number of people employed in port-related businesses has doubled over the past decade. Stevedoring and terminal operations now employ 1,240 people at the Port of Prince Rupert. Another 500 people work in marine activities, like tug towage, marine pilotage, ferry operations, as well ship repair and maintenance. Together, those two sectors account for close to half of the jobs in the Prince Rupert Gateway. Last year, they moved a record $60 billion worth of trade, securing Prince Rupert’s position as the third largest port in Canada by value of trade.
Gantry Crane Operator, Kyle Hes, is part of the team that performs the thousands of movements necessary to load and unload container vessels at berth. Hes, who is also Vice President of ILWU Local 505, has been at DP World Fairview Terminal since the facility was converted from a break bulk terminal to an intermodal terminal in 2007. The long-time Prince Rupert resident has “operated nearly every piece of equipment at the facility,” and is proud of how the entire Port continues to transform and grow.
“It’s been a learning curve over the past 14 years and I’m happy to see where it’s come,” said Hes. “It’s good to see how many lives the Port has enhanced. It’s brought a lot of positive changes to the community.”
Since 2011, port development has generated $62.5 million in tax revenue for the local City and District, and new investments and new terminals keep adding to the total. On top of that, the Prince Rupert Port Authority has committed a further $14.3 million to northwest B.C. communities through its Community Investment Fund, supporting close to 90 recreational, health, cultural and educational projects in the region.
Operations Foreman and ILWU Local 514 member, Kendal Standring, echoes Hes, sharing the same pride in how the growth and diversification of the Port has impacted his hometown and its residents.
“The community is growing as a whole. It feels good seeing people get better jobs and live healthier lifestyles because of it,” said Standring.
Born and raised in Prince Rupert, Standring is a third-generation longshore worker, who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to work in the industry nearly a decade ago. He said, “I’ve always wanted to be here and it’s the best job around for providing a good living for my family.”
On average, people working directly in the Prince Rupert Gateway make salaries of $95,000 a year. Overall, the port workforce and the businesses that service and support it generated $530 million in wages in 2020, and that money flowed into communities across northern B.C.
Find out more about the Prince Rupert Gateway workforce at www.rupertport.com/economic-impact/