The Port Saint John’s West Side Modernization Project continues to move forward on schedule, says Jim Quinn, President and CEO, Port Saint John (PSJ).

The $205 million project, on the planning books for several years, will not only allow for the consolidation of the Rodney and Navy Island cargo terminals and enable the facility to receive ships up to new Panamax size but will also advance existing operational systems and use new technologies to enhance cargo handling capabilities, a new multi-modal yard and dredging of the main channel.

The project is expected to be completed in 2023. Funding for the modernization has equal contributions of $68.3 million from the federal and provincial governments and PSJ.

Quinn said the project is now moving into the site preparation phase which will include the removal of old conduit and other infrastructure services “to prepare for demolition of a section of dock that is to be replaced with the new, stronger caisson construction.” He said tenders for caisson construction will be called later this year with the awarding of the contract by early 2019.

“By this time next year that existing corner of the dock will be demolished and construction of the new, stronger dock will be well underway,” Quinn noted.

“This year we also engaged a senior project manager from the firm CBCL Ltd to strengthen the overall engineering team working on the project,” he said.

Quinn said CBCL’s Dan MacDonald is a highly respected and experienced engineer having been involved in several major projects.

“We are quite excited and fortunate to have him, and his engineer Jody Blakely, onboard to provide that experienced advice to us,” he said.

Hatch, along with joint venture partner Dillon Consulting, was selected as lead design engineer for the project in May, 2017.

The modernization includes several enhancements to strengthen and lengthen existing facilities to support cargo growth, as well as introducing new and expanded intermodal handling capabilities

When complete, the primary berth length will be 667 m and the annual handling capacity will rise from 125,000 TEUs to 320,000 TEUs with potential to rise to 373,000 TEUs. The container yard will increase from 5.8 hectares to 10.1 hectares with a load bearing capacity of 2,000 pounds per square foot.

The dredging portion of the project will take the main channel to approximately 10 metres at low tide and 18.5 metres at high tide. Water depth at the container terminal berth will be 15.2 metres at low tide.

“Our journey toward modernization started in 2011 and these projects take time,” says Quinn. “Gaining support for a project of this scale takes tremendous engagement effort with port stakeholders, government and the community in which we reside, and they all have played a part in getting us to this point.”

“This was a critical time to take action. Changing trends in the container shipping worldwide would have left us behind and, while we would still hold a position of strengthen in dry and liquid bulk cargoes, we would have become a smaller niche player in the container sector,” he concluded.