The Port of Vancouver is poised for a major boost in container handling capacity

The Port of Vancouver will significantly increase its container handling capacity following a project to expand DP World’s Centerm terminal.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced Tuesday that construction on the project is now complete.

Known as the Center Expansion Project, the project will result in the port’s container handling capacity increasing from 900,000 TEUs to 1.5 million TEUs per year – a 66% increase made possible by expanding the terminal’s footprint by just 15%.

Full capacity gains from the project are expected to be realized later this year.

Completed works include expanding the terminal area to the west and east, reconfiguring and expanding the container warehouse, building state-of-the-art truck gates, expanding the intermodal warehouse, building a new facility and improving the marine habitat.

“We are incredibly proud of our work at the forefront of this award-winning terminal expansion, which adds to our proven track record of delivering world-class sustainable infrastructure in support of growing Canadian trade,” said Cliff Stewart, vice president of infrastructure at the Port Authority, the federal agency responsible commissioned to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver. “The expanded Centerm terminal is an important addition to the Port of Vancouver as we continue to work to provide the container capacity Canadians and Canadian businesses need to thrive now and into the future.”

The project also has environmental benefits including eliminating waiting times for vehicles at level crossings (thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions), expanding capacity for container ships to connect to shore electric power, converting some shipyard cranes from diesel to electric and construction of cranes LEED and Envision certification standards for sustainability.

“The completion of the Centerm expansion project marks a new chapter in the 100-year history of our DP World Vancouver operations,” said Maksim Mihic, Chief Executive and General Manager, DP World (Canada) Inc. “By leveraging new technology and Terminal reconfiguration – we’ve increased throughput capacity by 60% while taking up just 15% more terminal space. This project is a great example of how we are innovating to create the sustainable trading infrastructure of tomorrow.”

Canada’s west coast maritime container terminals are expected to reach capacity in the mid to late 2020s, according to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, after a decade of compound annual growth of 5% from 2011 to 2021.

“Trade through the Port of Vancouver is growing and we are working to ensure that infrastructure projects are designed and implemented to protect the environment and benefit local communities, while enhancing the safe movement of cargo through the region,” said Stewart.

Meanwhile, work continues on the Port of Vancouver’s South Shore Access project, which will connect the Centerm terminal and other nearby terminals directly to Highway 1 and allow for future rail capacity improvements. Construction work on this project is expected to be completed next spring.

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