Marketing the Port land advantage

An ambitious strategic plan unveiled in 2008 set out key goals for the Hamilton Port Authority (HPA), including cargo diversification and strategic land development of Port properties.  Four years after taking the helm of the Port, HPA President and CEO Bruce Wood has overseen significant progress in the areas of cargo diversification and strategic land development. Diversification of the Port’s cargo mix has been buoyed by growing grain volumes, traditional bulks augmented by additional salt and aggregates from a steady construction materials trade, and an increase in liquid bulk in part from new tank terminal developments and improved marketing by existing service providers.

Glancing at the port map, a promotional tool now in its seventh edition, Mr. Wood notes that the 600-acre expanse is steadily filling up. “We’ve been able to market our available land as a tremendous advantage for potential new users,” he says. “We’ve been so successful that available land is now at a premium.”

Home-grown firm stays in Hamilton

The grand opening of Bermingham Foundation Solutions’ new manufacturing plant was cause for celebration in late June. Located on the site of the former Lakeport Brewery, the new plant came about as a result of collaboration between the company, the Port Authority and the City of Hamilton, says Mr. Wood. Finding the necessary space to allow the company to expand its growing business was key to keeping Bermingham in Hamilton. Mayor Bob Bratina and members of the Hamilton Economic Development Office worked to help secure the port land deal. “We are growing steadily and this arrangement will allow us to expand our operations and at the same time remain in Hamilton,” said Bermingham’s President and CEO Patrick Bermingham. The new site, adjacent to the company’s headquarters at Pier 10, offered an efficient way to grow without a major move.

Lafarge move brings environmental and economic efficiencies

Consolidation of Lafarge Hamilton’s two operations onto a strategically located property on Pier 22 has allowed the company to streamline transportation of materials and cut costs, while lessening its footprint on the environment and local infrastructure. By moving next door to ArcelorMittal Dofasco, its main Canadian supplier of blast furnace slag, Lafarge can utilize a direct rail link to potentially eliminate as many as 15,000 annual truck trips from local roads.  Fewer trucks will result in fewer emissions, as well as causing less wear on Burlington Street – a win for both the environment and Hamilton taxpayers.  The move, which combines Lafarge sites previously at Windermere Drive and Pier 26, will provide the company with direct marine access, as well as rail service.  The company and HPA have invested $20 million in site improvements to the Pier 22 property, purchased six years ago from the former Stelco Inc. “We have had a strong partnership with Lafarge for many years,” said HPA Vice-President Ian Hamilton. “The strength of that relationship helped this happen.”

Trucking and logistics integrates with marine mode

The property at 450 Sherman Avenue North has a long history as a manufacturing centre, once housing the International Harvester production plant, which later became J.I. Case Tractors. Home to  a number of warehousing and logistic operations through the years, the property now houses well-known local trucking company Fluke Transport. Along with operating its fleet of trucks from the site, Fluke also uses the location for managing warehousing operations for its customers. The investment in the warehouse and office has revitalized a dormant property while creating an efficient distribution centre that links trucking, marine and rail services.

Construction firms see opportunity

A $12 million investment in infrastructure is coming to Pier 22 as the result of a strategic partnership between Aecon Construction and Dufferin Construction. A joint venture will bring a 10-acre asphalt processing plant to the property, and result in a long-term commitment to renewing the 103-acre parcel of land purchased by HPA in 2006. “The alliance between these two construction giants on Port lands will help reach our goal of full use of this property,” said Bruce Wood.

Rail links, direct marine access and proximity to major trucking routes made Pier 22 an obvious property for redevelopment when it was no longer needed by former Stelco Inc. The multimodal capabilities of the property also made it attractive to Aecon and Dufferin. Development will include the construction of pipelines, which could service other organizations including Ruetgers Canada, the City of Hamilton and Westway Terminals.

Liquid storage capacity growing at Pier 23

McAsphalt Industries’ $20-million Pier 23 asphalt terminal is beginning operations this summer.  “We’re pleased to begin serving our customers from Hamilton,” said McAsphalt President and CEO John Carrick. “Relocating made strategic sense for us, so we could grow while maintaining efficient operations.” The company’s move from Toronto will also bring new jobs to Hamilton.

“McAsphalt vessel traffic will boost our liquid cargo tonnages and grow the diversified mix of commodities moving through Hamilton,” said Mr. Wood. McAsphalt owns a fleet of specialized tanker barges. The road construction sector continues to grow as major highways across the province are being upgraded and expanded.