Canada's Fraser port expands capacity

Canada's Fraser port expands capacity

Western Canada's inland Fraser River Port will expand capacity with upgrades worth a total $190 million (US$ 142.5 million), the Fraser River Port Authority said Thursday.

The port, about 20 miles southeast of Vancouver, B.C, handled a record 252, 510 TEUs last year at its main general cargo terminal, operated by Fraser Surrey Docks Ltd.

"We have been bursting at the seams at times," said FRPA President and Chief Executive Allen Domaas.

The first-phase upgrade, to be completed by June 2005, will increase capacity to 415,000 TEUs. A second phase is planned if sustained growth continues.

The first phase includes:

-- A new rail intermodal yard on land immediately next to Fraser Surrey Docks, to be operated by a new company, IDC Distribution Services Ltd. It will employ about 35 to 40 people and open in late summer.

-- Purchase of two new Panamax cranes from Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Ltd.

-- A new streamlined truck gate at Fraser Surrey Docks.

-- Infrastructure improvements and an extension to the rail holding yard on existing port land.

Peter Jaskiewicz, chief executive of Fraser Surrey Docks, said the new cranes are due to arrive in April 2005. Three gantry cranes are currently used to handle vessels, and one will be retired when the new cranes arrive.

Until a few years ago, the terminal handled mainly breakbulk cargo such as export lumber and woodpulp, and steel imports. But Jaskiewicz said an increasing number of wood products are being containerized, and terminal revenue is now split 50-50 between breakbulk and containers.

Container volume has been aided by dredging of the main river shipping channel to 38 feet, and increased use of the port by CP Ships as a hub, connecting services between the Far East and South America.

CP Ships, Hamburg Sud, Maruba, CCNI, Fesco, P&O Nedlloyd and Maersk Sealand are the main container lines calling at Fraser Surrey Docks.