The obstacles presented by the pandemic have not hindered progress on several key projects aimed at sustainably growing and diversifying the Port complex.
Construction crews are nearing completion of the Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor, a 5-kilometre port authority owned haul road and rail expansion that will reroute container trucks away from city streets and significantly reduce truck emissions, adding to DP World-Prince Rupert’s efficiency of operations at the Fairview Container Terminal. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, crews from the Coast Tsimshian Northern Contractors Alliance, a local First Nations joint venture, have safely worked to build this critical piece of infrastructure. The construction project is expected to be paved in Q2 2022 and activated upon completion of the Fairview Terminal southern expansion.
DP World gained regulatory approval to move forward with the southern expansion of Fairview Container Terminal that will support a future capacity of 1.8 million TEUs by 2024. DP World-Prince Rupert Inc. has been operating the Fairview Container Terminal since 2015. Since that time, throughput has grown from 776,412 TEUs in 2015 to 1,141,390 TEUs in 2020. Significant expansion work has been undertaken during the last five years to achieve this, by capitalizing on growth opportunities in market share and expanding global trade volumes. Today, Fairview Container Terminal’s sustainable practical capacity is 1.35M TEUs; however, demand will soon outstrip that level of capacity and further volume growth is projected into the foreseeable future. To maximize the opportunity for gateway growth, work has been divided into two phases and construction is underway. The first stage expands the container yard with major infill work at the south end of the terminal footprint tying it into the Connector Corridor through a new four-lane truck gate, and adding an eighth quay crane, capable of servicing the largest vessels afloat today. The second stage further expands capacity through the consolidation of parking, equipment parking, and administrative/maintenance buildings to the north end of the terminal. The on-terminal rail will be increased and the CN mainline will be reallocated to run outside of the terminal intermodal yard operations, resulting in a 21% increase to the on-terminal intermodal yard rail.
In addition, the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) and its gateway partners have made significant progress on advancing project development activities related to the proposed Ridley Island Export Logistics Platform, a project that will support large-scale export transloading, maximizing value to Canadian exporters and supporting the growth of the intermodal business in the Port of Prince Rupert. The infrastructure is designed to host integrated large-scale bulk and breakbulk transload facilities, an off-dock container yard and an intermodal rail yard.
Construction of Pembina’s new propane marine export facility on Watson Island was completed and commissioned early this year and began loading propane onto vessels destined for international markets on April 9, 2021. The new LPG terminal will generate additional rail and marine traffic and PRPA has undertaken steps to ensure that the highest levels of navigational safety are in place to support operations. The facility consists of approximately 5km of new rail track and three above-ground propane storage spheres. Regular operations see propane originating from natural gas supplies in northern BC and Alberta transported from Pembina’s Redwater Complex northeast of Edmonton to Prince Rupert by rail, offloaded and stored at the new terminal until it is loaded onto vessels for export. The project capital budget was $250 million and the terminal is expected to operate at 20,000 barrels per day.
In 2020, the Vopak Pacific Canada project continued its federal and provincial environmental assessment processes. The proposed project would develop bulk liquid storage and marine export facilities on Ridley Island to move Canadian-made LPGs, methanol, and refined fuels in global demand as alternatives to current high-carbon energy sources.
Wolverine Terminals ULC recently announced that it has begun construction of its Marine Fuel Terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert to provide fuel distribution services for large vessels visiting the Port. Construction will be considered complete with the arrival of two custom-built barge vessels.
“This project further enhances the Port’s already-strong standing in the market as the closest North American port to Asia, utilizing CN’s cross-continent rail network, by providing one more significant advantage in the competitive Pacific gateway trade route … We look forward to a lasting, positive relationship with our partners in Prince Rupert, in addition to our immediate neighbours and surrounding communities,” said Wolverine President, Serge Brisson.
The Project is aligned with Prince Rupert Port Authority’s land use planning and development strategy, and the addition of a dedicated marine fuel facility to the Port of Prince Rupert provides a critical service for a competitive and growing gateway. The fuel terminal is scheduled to be operational by Q1 2023 and will adhere to global best practices and provide low-sulphur marine fuel.