Ottawa puts Ridley Terminals up for sale

Ottawa is putting Ridley Terminals, at Prince Rupert, up for sale.

The Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV) announced today it is “launching a competitive sale process that is intended to lead to an agreement with a buyer for 90 per cent of the shares of Ridley Terminals Inc., a federal Crown corporation. The remaining 10 per cent of the shares would be transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation at the close of the sale. This sale process is occurring following engagement and consultation with six First Nations in the area.”

Established in 1983, Ridley Terminals Inc. operates on Ridley Island in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, where it transfers bulk commodities from rail cars onto ocean-going vessels. The primary commodities shipped through the terminal are coal and petroleum coke.

According to the CEV, the sale process will be conducted on an “open and competitive basis with the objective of obtaining best value from a buyer who will operate Ridley Terminals on a long-term sustainable basis and with open access.”

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said, in a Facebook post, that Ottawa built the terminal for $250 million in 1983, which would be the equivalent of $570 million today.

“Foreign ownership rules? Don’t say,” he posted. “Rushed timeline? No comment. We need to understand this decision better before it goes further.”

According Ridley Terminals’ second quarter report published at the end of June, for  “the first six months of 2018, Ridley Terminal Inc. (RTI) generated $23,735,000 in net operating profit, compared to $5,518,000 for the same period in 2017. The second quarter of 2018 contributed nearly 60 per cent of the overall operating income generated on a year to date basis.”

It states that, Conuma Coal Resources Limited, the terminal’s largest customer, is planning to bring a third mine on-line during the second half of 2018 and that the terminal continued to receive a significant increase in volumes received from Teck’s coal mines, compared to the first six months of 2017.

“Teck’s current and forecasted production volumes remain strong and although RTI is not the primary option for Teck’s coal shipments through the west coast of Canada, RTI welcomes their business and commercial commitment to the terminal,” according to the report.

The terminal’s rail unloading volumes increased in the second quarter of 2018 by 56 per cent or 994,500 tonnes when compared to 2017 for a total of 2,756,600 tonnes unloaded (2017: 1,762,000 tonnes). Shiploading volumes increased by 40.71 per cent or 1,495,000 tonnes during the second quarter of 2018 for a total of 5,166,450 tonnes loaded (2017: 3,671,650 tonnes).

Net operating income for the second quarter of 2018 was $14,017,000 (2017: $3,898,000), for a significant increase of $10,119,000 when compared with 2017.