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Shore power set for container boats at Prince Rupert

The Port of Prince Rupert is set to become the first port in Canada to offer shore power to container vessels, allowing ships loading containerized crops and other goods to shut down their engines while docked.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority’s $3.6 million Fairview Terminal project is expected to provide shore power capacity from the West Coast port’s grid through an electric cable management system by early 2011.

A Cavotec dock connector pit and cable management system will be used to run electrical power directly to the ships. BC Hydro will supply the power through an existing 69-kilovolt distribution line.

The project is expected to eventually reduce local greenhouse gas emissions by up to 4,000 tonnes and criteria air contaminants by 160 tonnes per year when the terminal is running at full capacity.

The project can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per ship per year, based on one ship docking per week. At two vessel calls a week, shore power will also reduce ship fuel consumption by 650 tonnes a year.

Transport Canada said Tuesday it will put up $1.8 million for the project through its Marine Shore Power Program, on top of $700,000 from Western Economic Diversification Canada, $200,000 from the British Columbia government, and $900,000 from the port authority, Canadian National Railway and Maher Terminals, the container terminal’s operator.

Prince Rupert’s container terminal, open since 2007, is the first dedicated intermodal (ship-to-rail) container terminal in North America, with the handling capacity for 500,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year.

The Fairview Container Terminal was developed with the built-in infrastructure and distribution line already in place for shore power.

The port, Canada’s second-busiest on the West Coast, also includes grain, coal and cruise ship terminals.

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