The Premier’s India Trade Mission was a successful one for both the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the Port Alberni Port Authority.
Huu-ay-aht executive director James Edwards said that “the India trip was very productive” for them.
Steelhead LNG, the Huu-ay-aht’s partners for the proposed LG facility, signed a letter of intent regarding LNG with an Indian company Edwards declined to name. While the agreement is in the very preliminary stages and non-binding, Edwards felt positive about it.
“It’s a starting point to work from,” he said.
Timber shipped via the proposed Port Authority Transshipment Hub (PATH) also garnered interest abroad.
According to Edwards, container ships heading back to India from Canada are typically empty and that provides an opportunity for the Huu-ay-aht to fill the space with timber.
Edwards said that while three- to four-storey houses in India are often made out of concrete, he’s optimistic that Indian construction companies will see the value in making them out of wood instead.
He did caution that the Huu-ay-aht “will have to see if there’s a market there” but added that “I anticipate that this won’t be our last trip there.”
Port authority president Zoran Knezevic was also optimistic about PATH’s prospects.
“We met with a number of potential investors in our project,” said Knezevic.
However, the port authority is not yet at the point of having investors officially sign onto the project.
“It is fairly early to speculate at this point whether we have that firm commitment or not,” he said.
Prior to the trade mission, Knezevic, who’s trip took him to China as well as India, saw more promise in Chinese investors. According to him, that hasn’t changed.
“China is still a preferred location for the investment in B.C.,” he said, but added that “India may prove to be as good down the road.”
Edited: Originally, the News reported that the Huu-ay-aht signed a letter of intent regarding LNG with an Indian company. The deal was actually signed by Steelhead LNG, the Huu-ay-aht’s partners for the proposed LNG facility.