New evidence that container shipping lines are choosing Prince Rupert has popped up recently, with the shipping line ‘MSC’ and a new brand of containers coming through the gateway in late 2015 and now in early 2016.
MSC (part of the 2M Alliance consisting of Maersk Line and MSC) has serviced Fairview Container Terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert through its TP8/New Orient service since August of last year with 10 MSC ships and 11 Maersk vessels calling on the port.
While not driving the same high number of containers compared to the port’s other marine services of COSCO, MSC and Maersk have been ramping up service since September of last year, said Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) manager of corporate communications Michael Gurney Thursday, Feb. 25.
In addition to the CMA line coming online for Prince Rupert, two new container brands have been coming through the port – the first being CMA CGM containers arriving with COSCO since late 2015 and the most recent containers, Evergreen containers, arriving in the coming days with COSCO’s ‘CEN’ service.
“If people watch Fairview closely, they’ll begin to see some Evergreen containers moved through there and they’ll be arriving on COSCO vessels,” said Gurney.
The manager added that the PRPA’s throughput forecast for 2016 is likely to be close to the capacity of Fairview as it stands today, which means the ‘Phase 2A’ expansion coming online in mid-2017 will be welcome.
“It’s good timing indeed,” said Gurney.
“It’s good news, first of all, because it means that we’re building on a very strong relationship with COSCO, and diversifying the lines that call on Prince Rupert lends further weight to the understanding in the shipping industry that Prince Rupert’s advantages are strong and make a compelling case for moving goods through northern B.C.’s trade gateway.”
Compounding the good news with the new shipping lines and container brands is the fact that ‘discretionary cargo’ makes up all the traffic that moves through Fairview, meaning that no containers are destined to be unloaded in the community of Prince Rupert, but are intended to be opened elsewhere in North America.
“They’re not bound to this city, unlike major shipping centres like Los Angeles or Vancouver where there’s quite a bit of local demand for the goods that travel in those containers. So we are a gateway port and that makes the fact that seeing this kind of growth is all the more compelling because the shipping lines are choosing Prince Rupert not because they have to, not because there’s local demand for containerized goods, but because the advantages in terms of speed and efficiency are such that it simply makes sense to have their goods transit this community,” Gurney said.
“Because of the modest size of Prince Rupert itself, the trains can actually avoid the kind of congestion they might encounter in larger port cities and be slowed down for sometimes hours before they can reach their main line speeds.”