Prince Rupert expands to raise capacity 33pc to 1.8 million TEU

  Jul.5--CANADA's Pacific Port of Prince Rupert is expanding its Fairview terminal to increase capacity 33 per cent to 1.8 million TEU.

  The project is to be completed in 2022 and will expand the yard from 32 hectares to 41 hectares and add three gantry cranes, two rubber-tyre units and an eighth dock gantry crane. Extra storage space will be created by relocating the buildings that house maintenance and administration, reported London'sLoadstar.

  To raise rail capacity, two kilometres of track will be added for a total of 7.5 kilometres at the dock. This is a sensitive spot ?it was problems with rail capacity that led to a pile-up of containers last winter, stretching container dwell times to up to seven days, twice the norm.

  Ironically, those problems were caused by the final phase of an expansion drive that added 500,000 TEU capacity to the port. Work had progressed smoothly, but at the final stage some rail track had to be removed for the installation of new gantry cranes. Faced with an unexpected spike in traffic, the reduced rail capacity quickly turned into a bottleneck.

  The situation was exacerbated by severe weather that slowed train movements to and from the port. Moreover, Canadian National, the main rail operator serving Prince Rupert, suffered a deterioration in performance that has been attributed to shortages in locomotives and manpower as much as adverse weather.

  As part of a C$340 million (US$257.75 million) investment in British Columbia province this year, CN is creating four new rail sidings between Prince Rupert and Jasper and extending another three on the route to prevent bottlenecks. In addition, it purchased new locomotives and boosted staff numbers, having been accused of under-investment in these areas that contributed to winter problems.

  The management at Prince Rupert aims to cut container dwell times to 2.5 days. Last year's expansion increased capacity to 1.35 million TEU, while the port's throughput for 2017 was 926,540 TEU, up 26 per cent compared to the previous year.


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