With forest product transload facilities, Port of Prince Rupert a critical element of the supply chain

By R. Bruce Striegler

“Historically, the port of Prince Rupert has had two forest-based stuffing and reload operations in Prince Rupert,” the Port’s Brian Friesen, Manager, Trade Development, explains. “Both Tidal Transport and Quickload Logistics served regional mills – mills along the Highway 16 corridor – but in close enough proximity to Prince Rupert, that it made sense to truck forest products to Prince Rupert, stuff them into containers and then truck them to the terminal.” Beginning in 2007, CN Rail began operating a forest-products transload facility, 720 kilometres to the west, in the City of Prince George, and Friesen notes that a significant volume of forest products coming from Alberta and B.C. are stuffed there before they are shipped by rail to Prince Rupert.

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Proposed fabrication facility would boost fortunes for Newfoundland port

By Keith Norbury

A fabrication facility to build gravity-based structures for offshore wind power proposed for the port of Corner Brook, N.L., would “definitely increase activity at the port,” the port’s business development manager, Nora Fever, said in a recent interview. While she didn’t have any details about the size and scale of the proposed facility, Ms. Fever said the port would have to expand its infrastructure to accommodate it, which “definitely has potential to create several hundred jobs for this area.”

St. John’s based Beothuk Energy has identified Corner Brook as a feasible site for such a facility, which would be built at Brake’s Cove, just east of the existing Corner Brook dock, as part of a $1 billion initiative that also includes a demonstration wind farm project for St. George’s Bay, according to recent local news reports. Kirby Mercer, Beothuk’s CEO, told the local Rotary Club this summer that the manufacturing facility would create at least 600 jobs in the Corner Brook area alone, the city’s Western Star newspaper reported at the time.

Ms. Fever confirmed that the proposed facility would build “gravity-based structures” for offshore wind turbines. Those structures would sit on the seabed to support the turbines in offshore wind farms in the waters around Newfoundland. Handling these structures, and the materials required to build them, would necessitate expansion of the port. For example, it would require infilling of Brake’s Cove, which is to the east of the existing dock. “We would use existing infrastructure to some degree but most of the project activity would be at an expanded area of the port,” Ms. Fever said. That existing infrastructure includes a fixed-pedestal crane that the port corporation obtained new in 2008. The 53-tonne capacity machine is a multi-use crane that handles containers and the occasional shipment of breakbulk or project cargo. However, such project uses have been infrequent. The most recent consisted of large pipes for penstocks at the Deer Lake power plant about 50 kilometres away.

The port also has a ro-ro ramp, 28,000 square metres of container storage or laydown area, and a large industrial building that can be leased. Corner Brook, with a metropolitan population of about 32,000, is the largest city in western Newfoundland. It is on a narrow, well-sheltered fjord with 100 metres of water in the middle of the bay and 10 metres at dockside, Ms. Fever said. The berth extends 362 metres, long enough to accommodate the Queen Mary II when it visited. Open year-round, with occasional ice-breaker services, the port is situated at the end of Humber Arm, 35 kilometres inland from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Corner Brook Port Corporation has only four employees at present. However, Ms. Fever said that would likely increase should the expansion project go ahead, although she didn’t have details about that. “It would depend on the setup of the project, who the partners are, and those kind of things. It’s very early stages for this,” Ms. Fever said.

Beothuk is part of a corporate partnership that includes Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. According to a posting on the latter’s website, Beothuk will lead development of the 180-megawatt St. George’s Bay project “until a power purchase agreement has been obtained.” After that, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners will lead the project to its financial close “and through the construction phase in cooperation with Beothuk Energy.’

In mid August, the provincial government said it was meeting with the project proponents “on a regular basis to discuss the potential of its wind project for Newfoundland and Labrador.” That was according to a prepared statement, attributed to Siobhan Coady, the province’s Natural Resources minister. “The project is in its early stages and we continue to discuss,” the statement added.

The mayors of Corner Brook and the nearby municipalities of Burgeo, Deer Lake, Stephenville, and Port aux Basques have also met with the joint venture proponents and port officials. The mayors issued a news release in August saying “it is essential to work with the provincial government to secure a power purchase agreement for this project to ensure the province has first-player advantage, as it is unlikely that a second fabrication facility will be constructed in Atlantic Canada,” the Western Star reported at the time.

Ms. Fever said the port is close to other potential offshore wind sites in Atlantic Canada, which she called “a big plus.” She added that the province has a lot of expertise and experience in the offshore oil and gas industry that she expects could be translated — “especially when you’re talking about gravity-based structures” — to the offshore wind sector. “And we’ve got several post secondary institutions here in Corner Brook for training and for specialized programming if necessary,” Ms. Fever said. “So certainly that positions us very well for this project.”

Glen Sullivan, co-owner of Atlantic Hydraulic and Machine Limited, attended a few information sessions on Beothuk’s proposal in recent years, and told Canadian Sailings that his company, which fabricates maritime equipment, could perform maintenance and other support work at the windmill plant. He also expects the wind facility would bring in workers from elsewhere in the province and provide spinoff benefits for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.

“We’re a very small community,” Mr. Sullivan said. “So any new work that comes into this community would have to benefit the community. There is nowhere (else) to get any service or any suppliers or anything else.” He remains optimistic that the wind project will go ahead, although he noted that it has been planned for a few years now. “So as time goes on, I’m not sure if it’s going to happen or not,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Port of Prince Rupert celebrates completion of Phase Two Fairview Terminal expansion

By R. Bruce Striegler

2017 marks 10th anniversary of Fairview

Shaun Stevenson, Vice-President, Trade Development and Public Affairs, Port of Prince Rupert, says that with the August opening of Phase Two of the Fairview Terminal, and the final rail elements being completed right now, which will introduce a rubber tired gantry (RTG) operation, Fairview will realize its full capacity of 1.35 million TEUs, up from 850,000. Since its conversion from a breakbulk facility in 2007, Fairview Container Terminal has been recognized as one of the fastest growing container terminals in North America, and established a reputation as one of the fastest and most reliable trans-Pacific trade gateways. “This will give us a third track and allow us to run up to five train departures a day.” The expanded terminal now includes a second vessel berth serviced by three new Malacca-max cranes, allowing 20,000+ TEU vessels to access the terminal. With an additional 6,000 feet of on-dock rail, and an 11 hectare increase to the terminal footprint, more speed and reliability will be added to terminal services. Fairview Terminal is now the second-largest container terminal in Canada, with Deltaport in Vancouver being the largest. With the completed expansion, the terminal can handle the world’s largest container ships, and the increased capacity will support importers and exporters who favour Fairview for its position as the most efficient and fastest route from Asia to North American markets.

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Port environmental activities include a wide array of protection and prevention programs

By R. Bruce Striegler

Increasingly, ports across the world are taking on the issues of environmental stewardship and looking at sustainability as key to their futures. Port of Prince Rupert became the first west coast port to join the Green Marine environmental program in 2010. Green Marine is a joint Canada-U.S. initiative aimed at advancing environmental excellence in the marine industry, throughout North America. The certification program emphasizes voluntary improvement of environmental performance in key areas identified by the marine industry which include water and land pollution prevention – cargo residues and oily waters, to control greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. The program takes into account community impacts such as noise, dust, light and odours as well as controlling aquatic invasive species. Participants evaluate their performance against guidelines and criteria provided by Green Marine; the results are published annually and verified by an independent third party.

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Modular hotel units provide new project business for Thunder Bay

By Keith Norbury

A modular hotel from Poland is among the recent shipments of project cargo to arrive at the port of Thunder Bay this year. The hotel, consisting of about 156 modules, was still in the yard at Thunder Bay in late September when port CEO Tim Heney spoke with Canadian Sailings. “It’s something we’ve been working on for awhile — unusua­l but not a complicated move,” Mr. Heney said. “All the modules are basically the same in size but it just kind of catches the imagination a little bit, I think.”

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New modern terminal on renovated Alexandra Pier will attract more cruise ships to Montreal

A new stylish and modern cruise terminal on the Port of Montreal’s Alexandra Pier is providing a more pleasant experience to cruise ship passengers sailing through Montreal while better meeting the operational needs of international cruise lines.

The terminal, which opened for operations earlier this year, is the new home for cruise ships that grace Montreal’s waterfront during the spring, summer and fall. The project integrates best practices in sustainable development and features state-of-the-art installations and infrastructure.

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Halifax Port Days emphasizes the importance of timely and reliable information to increase port competitiveness

By Tom Peters

A strong collaborative effort between private and public stakeholders is required to keep Canada competitive in the global marketplace and there are parts of the supply chain that need innovation and investment to elevate Canada’s ability to compete, said industry leaders at the annual Halifax Port Days.

Expert panelists at the event’s business session, Jean-Jacques Ruest, Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, CN; Wolfgang Schoch, Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd (Canada) Inc.; and Madeleine Paquin, President and CEO, Logistec Corporation, agreed there needs to be strategic, not haphazard investment in infrastructure and technology to sustain and improve Canada’s trade competitiveness on the global stage.

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Association of Canadian Port Authorities 59th annual conference in Vancouver

By R. Bruce Striegler

At the 59th annual conference of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities in Vancouver this year, Rear Admiral Art McDonald, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific, told delegates, “This is a new oceanic age, and not since the great era of exploration in the 16th century have oceans played such an important role in global affairs as they do today. Unprecedented levels of commerce move across the world’s oceans, great power politics are being played out once again at sea, and oceans are central to the health of the planet in an age of profound climate change.” Once seen as a barrier, he said, the seas have now become a global highway, as maritime activities continue to increase on the water. “The role of the world’s oceans is connecting Canadians to the world and to each other, with three expansive oceans,” he says. Rear Admiral McDonald points out that Canada is the 11th largest exporter and 10th largest importer in the world. “More than $200 billion worth of goods are transported via seaborne trade to and from Canadian ports each year.”

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Port of Montreal expands global reach with new Viau container terminal

The Port of Montreal’s new international container terminal has optimized and boosted its container-handling capacity and improved the fluidity of international goods movement in its very first year of operation.

Viau Terminal has increased the port’s container-handling capacity by 350,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers). When combined with work carried out previously at the site and a second phase of the project, Viau Terminal will have a total handling capacity of 600,000 TEUs, ultimately increasing the Port of Montreal’s overall handling capacity on the island of Montreal to 2.1 million TEUs.

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