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B.C. expands green innovation initiative to Prince Rupert port

The green initiative was first launched at Vancouver International Airport in December 2022
(From left:) B.C. innovation commissioner Gerri Sinclair, Jobs Minister Brenda Bailey, Prince Rupert Port Authority CEO Shaun Stevenson, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice and Angela Kirkham with DP World (Canada) Inc. (Thom Barker/Black Press Media)

The province has its eyes on making the busy Prince Rupert port the greenest in Canada.

In an announcement Friday (April 21), Jobs Minister Brenda Bailey announced the province is expanding an initiative to the Port of Prince Rupert with a focus on reducing emissions and increasing supply chain flow.

“As we build a stronger, more resilient economy that supports a clean future, it is crucial for us to work hand in hand with industry to drive innovative solutions to global supply-chain challenges,” Bailey said during the news conference at the port.

“That’s why we’re expanding our Integrated Marketplace Initiative to Prince Rupert, where we will find new ways to help B.C. businesses and industry to be more competitive, and create more sustainable, high-quality jobs and opportunities for British Columbians.”

Bailey said $11.5 million has been ear-marked for the initiative.

On hand to help the minister with the announcement was Geri Sinclair, B.C.’s innovation commissioner.

Sinclair gave examples of specific kinds of projects that might fit within the scope of the initiative such as sensors that detect greenhouse gas emissions; GPS technology to track trucks and containers cameras for matching licence plates and container numbers or artificial intelligence for crunching data and doing predictive analytics.

She explained the money would be spent to fund research and development projects and differs from other government programs in that it starts with identifying a specific real-world problem faced by port stakeholders.

“With that, we will then go to the innovation community startups,” she said. “First of all, if there are no solutions in the startup community, we move into university and research areas of applied research, and we will find out who possibly can match that need. And then we look at the costing. And then we’ll provide the grant to the innovation company on behalf of the industry partnerships.”

Also different, she noted, is there are no set dollar-value parameters or application process.

“We’re going at it on a project-by-project basis, some projects will be smaller, and some will be quite large.”

Bailey went on to stress they are looking for homegrown solutions.

“One of the things that very often happens in regards to technology and B.C., is that we tend to look to big providers elsewhere rather than in our own backyard. And that doesn’t make sense. BC has extraordinary technology companies building cutting-edge tools for us to use.

The green initiative was first launched at Vancouver International Airport in December 2022 to help electrify its operations, meet its net-zero by 2030 commitment and become the world’s greenest airport.

With the expansion to Prince Rupert, the initiative will aim to allow the port to source and test innovative technology solutions that reduce greenhouses gases, increase productivity and improve safety, the province said.

An estimated $60-billion worth of cargo, or 30 million tonnes, flows through the Prince Rupert gateway each year.