The port of Prince Rupert can now accommodate the largest container vessels in the world, following DP World’s expansion of its Fairview Container Terminal that increases the port’s container-handling capacity to 1.35 million TEUs annually.

The conclusion of the two-year “Phase 2 North” expansion project was celebrated on August 29 by shippers, supply chain partners, local labour and First Nations and community leaders with a ribbon cutting and community open house attended by thousands. The expansion grows Fairview Container Terminal’s annual throughput capacity from 850,000 to 1.35 million TEUs.

The terminal now includes a second vessel berth serviced by three new “big ship ready” Malacca-max cranes, allowing 20,000+ TEU vessels to access the terminal through one of the deepest port harbours in the world. In addition, 6,000 more feet of on-dock rail and an 11-hectare increase to the terminal footprint will add even more speed and reliability to terminal services.

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. Its location in Prince Rupert provides the closest proximity to Asia and direct access to the most reliable rail network reach of any terminal on the west coast.

Maksim Mihic, General Manager of DP World Canada, said the expansion represents a commitment to providing shipping lines and cargo owners with fast, reliable container service that’s always ahead of customer demand. “Prince Rupert’s success has been driven by its unparalleled geographical position on the trans-Pacific trade route, its high terminal productivity, and its consistently low dwell times that have sustained despite our significant growth in throughput over the past two years,” said Mihic.

“However, as global trade has grown, so have container vessels. In order to meet the needs of our customers and capitalize on other opportunities, we needed an upgrade. Thankfully, our strong relationships with our expansion project partners, ILWU, Port of Prince Rupert and CN Rail have resulted in an impressive transformation that will provide reliable and competitive service for our customers.”

Don Krusel, President and CEO of Port of Prince Rupert, said the expansion is an important part of its future growth strategy. “We continue to build on our strengths, and ensure that as we grow as a port, we will maintain the velocity and fluidity that got us here,” said Krusel. “This project is a significant addition to Canada’s trade infrastructure, and provides tremendous value to our shippers and many partners. It has become a major contributor to the regional economy, and could not have been realized without collaboration and support of industry, labour, government, First Nations and our local communities.”

Luc Jobin, President and CEO of Canadian National said “Congratulations to Port of Prince Rupert and DP World on the 10-year anniversary of the Fairview Container Terminal and the newly-opened expansion. The city of Prince Rupert was built for Canadian trade and the container terminal unlocked so much of the port’s untapped potential. Port of Prince Rupert holds a premier place on the global trade map and the last decade of supply chain collaboration between the port, terminal operators, CN and other partners has become the model for how to establish and grow a trade corridor. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership as we facilitate the growth of our customers import and export markets.”

Opened in 2007 at the western terminus of CN’s three-coast transcontinental network, the partnership between the Port, Fairview terminal, and the governments of Canada and British Columbia created a congestion-free gateway to growing markets across Canada and the United States. The container terminal opened with weekly service from Cosco and a single train a week. Today, the world’s major steamship companies call on the port and with more than 15 trains a week from Rupert, it accounts for about 20 per cent of CN’s intermodal business.

DP World’s expansion of the Fairview terminal has added 500,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to the facility. CN, working with its supply chain partners, is committed to selling 80 per cent of the new capacity within three years.