The Port of Prince Rupert has reported that passenger traffic was down 46.8 per cent as a result of the loss of a weekly cruise vessel port of call in 2009. Prince Rupert welcomed 55,097 guests from 31 cruise vessel visits last year, compared to 103,630 on 63 ships in 2008, the port's best year since becoming an Alaska cruise port of call in 2004. Despite this decline in cruise ship traffic, Prince Rupert continues to improve its cruise tourism capabilities to support future growth of the sector.

On the cargo side, Prince Rupert reported its highest volume throughput since 1997. The port handled 12,173,672 tons of cargo in 2009, up 15 per cent over 2008 volumes. The higher volumes in 2009 were not driven by one line of business, but were up for most Prince Rupert facilities including containers and bulk cargo.

Looking ahead in 2010, Prince Rupert Port Authority President and CEO Don Krusel said the port remains focused on growing container volumes and furthering the progress of the Phase 2 expansion of the Fairview Container Terminal. A second priority is the development of the Ridley Industrial Park to accommodate new terminal and logistic services development to support the expansion of the Port of Prince Rupert.

"We have not only created a new trade corridor for trans-pacific container trade, but also have drawn the attention of the shipping world and opened the door to a multitude of new investment and development opportunities," Krusel said.

The Port of Prince Rupert, Canada's second largest West Coast port, is strategically situated on the direct Great Circle Route from Asia, up to three days sailing time closer to Asia than other North American West Coast ports. The Port of Prince Rupert has the deepest natural harbor in North America and the safest Canadian West Coast harbor with significant capacity to expand. Prince Rupert is connected to the fastest and most efficient rail line across the Rocky Mountains, which also has significant capacity available to accommodate Prince Rupert's growth.

Port of Prince Rupert facilities include modern, high-throughput coal and grain terminals, an innovative intermodal container terminal and two cruise terminals.

The new cruise ship facilities and a maturing cruise ship operation are also opening new opportunities to develop and grow Prince Rupert into a premier West Coast cruise port, according to a statement from the port.