A $70 million commercial wharf being billed as a gateway for goods and products in and out of northern BC, the Yukon, and northern Alberta was officially opened September 17, according to the Terrace Standard.
Located in Stewart, the Stewart World Port offers shippers a day and a half closer shipping time to and from Asia than can be had by using southern port facilities, said company official Brad Moffat to the Standard.
It is the most northerly port in BC that can unload break bulk cargo, goods that must be loaded individually, and not in intermodal containers, nor in bulk with oil or grain. The Stewart World Port handles goods and material that aren’t normally shipped in containers and are not shipped in bulk such as grain.
Stewart World Port, which held its grand opening on Wednesday, is located at the end of the Portland Canal in one of the most mineral rich areas of North America called the Golden Triangle, said Alaska Highway News Tuesday.
North America Infrastructure Development
Customers include mining, forestry, oil and gas, and project cargoes. Outbound cargoes, equally as important as those coming in, include bulk mineral concentrates, wood chips, wood pellets and logs, LNG, and coal.
It’s a deep sea port. The shallowest place in this channel is in the Portland Canal, in excess of 300 feet deep, and the narrowest point in the channel is a kilometre-and-a-half wide. One minor drawback is the fact that no rail line exists nearby, with the closest being 220 kilometres away.
Stewart World Port
Stewart World Port is privately owned by Ted Pickell of Fort St. John who also owns Arctic Construction, the company that built the facility.
The first two phases of construction, completed by Arctic Construction, represent a $70-million investment. The third construction phase, which costs an extra $60-million, is designed by CWA Engineers. This phase includes concentrate sheds, conveying systems, and a bulk shiploader.
The port is located on land leased from the District of Stewart. Pickell said the port has received no funding from any level of government and the project is debt-free. The company has a “working relationship” with the Nisga’a First Nation.
Stewart World Port officially secured its first customer, Air Liquide, which will begin shipping materials for use in the Alberta oilsands starting in January, according to Business in Vancouver September 18. Australian junior miner Atrum Coal also plans to use the port for a new anthracite coal mine it is developing.
Due to the high shipping volumes, exporters prefer to ship concentrate ore in bulk (poured directly into the hold of a ship) rather than in containers.
Potential port customers say that although the location has some drawbacks, the plan is realistic because shippers have few choices in northern BC, especially for concentrate ore.
Prince Rupert’s port handles only containers.
Stewart sits at the head of Portland Inlet on the border between BC and Alaska. The inlet is deep enough to accommodate Panamax-sized ships and is a day and a half closer to Asia than Port Metro Vancouver, Pickell said to BIV.
But the lack of competition from other northern ports for bulk and break-bulk cargo means Stewart World Port could grab business from customers who want to ship products like lumber, pulp and ore.
Prince Rupert Port
The Port of Prince Rupert’s Fairview container terminal has been ranked in the top 10 in the Journal of Commerce’s (JoC) recently released survey of global port productivity.
In March, Fairview’s operator announced plans for a $200 million expansion of the seven-year-old facility to increase Prince Rupert’s container-cargo-handling capacity by approximately 60 per cent.
According to the JoC, Prince Rupert, with 13.8 per cent year-over-year growth, was North America’s fastest-growing port in 2014.
In seven years of operation, traffic through the Fairview Container Terminal has grown at the fastest pace of any container terminal in North America. In 2014, container volume was up 15 per cent over 2013 volumes. Fairview Container Terminal has a current capacity of 850,000 TEUs annually, and a recently-announced second phase expansion that will bring capacity to 1.35 million TEUs. The ongoing expansion project is expected to be finished by mid-2017, said Canadian Shipper September 2.
The terminal shipped 75,460 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) last month, an increase of 17 per cent compared to last month and the highest single volume recorded since the terminal opened in 2007, detailed the Northern Review September 10. Fairview, which was recently purchased by DP World, imported 41,965 TEUs compared to 36,762 last August. While exports were up 22 per cent to sit at 33,496 TEUs, the number of loaded containers being exported actually dropped 25 per cent, from 15,267 TEUs last August to 11,520 TEUs this August.
This year the terminal remains well on target to shatter its record tonnage, having moved 527,037 TEUs during the first eight months of 2015 compared to 409,683 TEUs in the same time period of 2014, an increase of 29 per cent. Imports through Fairview Terminal are up 21 per cent to sit at 295,346 TEUs and exports are up 39 per cent to sit at 231,879 TEUs. However, the number of loaded containers being exported so far in 2015 is down four per cent, sitting at 105,005 TEUs compared to 109,772 TEUs through to the end of last August.
Cargo being moved through the Prince Rupert Harbour is also up significantly. Last August the terminal moved 56,580 tonnes compared to just 6,721 tonnes last year, an increase of 742 per cent. SO far this year, tonnage through the harbour is up 30 per cent, climbing from 233,217 tonnes during the first eight months of 2014 to 3012,219 tonnes at the end of this August.
While pellet shipments through Westview Terminal dropped 34 per cent year-over-year in August, falling from 77,540 tonnes to 51,114 tonnes, the terminal has seen its year-to-date exports increase 48 per cent, from 313,702 tonnes in 2014 to 464,576 tonnes in 2015.