Prince Rupert to boost container handling capacity


Vancouver | Reuters — Maher Terminals Holding Corp. said Tuesday it would boost container-handling capacity by more than half at the Port of Prince Rupert, under an expansion of its container terminal at the northern British Columbia port.

The Fairview Container terminal will be expanded to more than 1.3 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year, up from its current capacity of some 850,000 TEUs. Construction is set to start in April and is expected to wrap up by mid-2017.

The $200 million expansion project will include a second deep-water berth, four additional cranes and land reclamation work to expand the existing container yard. Rail loading capacity at the port will also be boosted.

Canadian National Railway (CN), which operates the only rail line at the northern port, separately said it will continue to invest in capacity improvements on the route from Prince Rupert to key U.S. markets such as Chicago and Memphis.

CN CEO Claude Mongeau said in a separate release Tuesday the company’s investment in the Kaien long rail siding just outside the Fairview terminal “is helping us to accommodate growth in container volumes with greater efficiency.”

Roughly 60-70 per cent of container imports at the port are destined for cross-border markets, while container exports are dominated by Canadian shipments of wood and grain products.

Container handling capacity at Prince Rupert has risen steadily since the terminal opened seven years ago. The port has benefited in recent months from a boost in shipments rerouted from the U.S. West Coast due to labour unrest there.

New Jersey-based Maher, owned by Deutsche Bank Ag, in recent years has also been planning a new East Coast container terminal and intermodal rail facility, to be built on the mainland side of the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia.

— Julie Gordon is a Reuters correspondent covering the energy and resource sectors from Vancouver. Includes files from Network staff.


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