PRINCE RUPERT, B.C.– A federal investment at the Port of Prince Rupert will enable a shore-based radar regime, designed to accommodate growth in vessel traffic, said a port announcement.
Growth is occurring because of historic levels of trade between Canada and Asia-Pacific markets.
“This project will result in a new and foundational piece of our marine safety and security network at the Port of Prince Rupert, providing an additional layer to the maritime picture we use to keep our harbour safe and ensure a diverse range of cargoes continue to flow securely through our trade gateway,” said Don Krusel, President and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert.
Shore-based radar will continue to build on the existing vessel traffic service that provides active vessel monitoring and navigational information to vessels at the Port of Prince Rupert, and will improve the capability of the organizations responsible for vessel monitoring and management to prevent vessel incidents in the harbour, expedite ship movements and increase transportation system efficiency, the port said.
This electronic navigation system is expected to be operational by Fall 2016, with three tower sites on BC’s north coast providing coverage ranging from the northeast of Haida Gwaii to the Alaskan border.
The announcement confirmed an investment by Western Economic Diversification Canada of $2 million in the project, which is estimated to carry a total capital cost of $5 million. Ongoing operation and maintenance of the radar system will be provided by the Canadian Coast Guard (Fisheries and Oceans Canada).
“Our local partnerships enable improvements like this to make a safe port even safer, and matching investments from senior government organizations allow us to carry forward our long term development vision in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner,” Krusel said.
The Port of Prince Rupert stewards 35,000 acres of tidal water between its inner and outer harbour, which includes 30 commercial vessel anchorages for the roughly 500 ships calling on its terminals each year. Six cargo and passenger terminals see roughly 20 million tonnes of bulk, container and project cargo shipped through the Port annually, directly employing 3,220 jobs and generating $390 million in gross domestic product (GDP).
Installation of the new radar system towers and equipment will begin in the upcoming weeks, and the project is expected to be completed and commissioned as early as the fall of 2016.