Maher Terminals is to increase the Fairview Container Terminal at Prince Rupert in British Columbia by 500,000 teu to take operating capacity to more than 1.3m teu.
The expansion will include a second deep-water berth, four additional gantry cranes, and land reclamation to enlarge the size of the container yard. The amount of on-dock rail track will be expanded, and supported by RTGs.
Maher Terminals has awarded the main contract to British Columbian construction companies FRPD and BEL. Completion is scheduled for mid-2017, turning Fairview into a two-berth, eight-crane operation.
Speaking at a press conference Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said: “Shippers are recognising and discovering the Prince Rupert advantage of speed and reliability. As a result of that, our growth figures are quite phenomenal.”
He said the expansion’s capital investment will be more than C$200m (US$160m).
North America’s closest container port to Asia, Prince Rupert is said to have benefitted by cargo being diverted from the US West Coast in recent months during a long-running, but now resolved, labour dispute.
Port executives view the expansion as enhancing its increasing role in the North American trans-Pacific trade, especially with its play to intermodal customers.
Prince Rupert is linked by the CN rail network to central Canada and the US Midwest. The rail company’s president and chief executive officer Claude Mongeau said: “We will continue to invest in rail capacity improvements along our route from northern British Columbia to key markets such as Chicago and Memphis.
“Our investment in the Kaien long rail siding just outside of Fairview terminal is helping us to accommodate growth in container volumes with greater efficiency. We will also expand our intermodal network and terminal capacity to continue playing our role as a true backbone of the economy.”
The main exports from Fairview are forestry products, while imports are dominated by clothes, consumer electronics, auto parts and building materials.
Maher Terminals has operated Fairview Container Terminal since its conversion from a breakbulk handling operation in 2007. Throughput has constantly increased, with last year’s teu total of 618,000 being 15.2% higher than 2013’s.
Maher also operates the New York/New Jersey port and is building the 1.5m teu Melford Terminal in Nova Scotia.