Cosco Shipping Lines sends four of its cargo vessels to Vancouver to alleviate congestion at the Port of Prince Rupert. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Port experiences growing pains, causing Cosco and Maersk to divert cargo south

Vessels will go through Vancouver terminal to alleviate congestion at the Port of Prince Rupert

Cosco Shipping Lines and Maersk have diverted four of their vessels from the Port of Prince Rupert to Vancouver’s terminal after experiencing what the company called “major congestion” due to the expansion project.

The port usually boasts its timely movement of cargo through an uncongested terminal with dwell times of an average of two days or less. But in the last couple of weeks, dwell times have grown to three and seven days.

“The number one factor is a surge in import volumes coming through the terminal,” said Kris Schumacher, communications coordinator for the Port of Prince Rupert.

The port authority recently celebrated the completion of the Fairview expansion project, and import volumes have soared. August was a record month for the terminal that handled more than 875,000 tonnes of cargo, a 37 per cent increase from the same month in the previous year.

“That’s a lot of containers coming through, and the incident that we had down there, which stopped work and then Labour Day following directly after that set things back a bit,” Schumacher said.

The ‘incident’ halted operations at Fairview Terminal on Sept. 3 until Sept. 5 after 11 employees experienced symptoms of respiratory and eye irritation in the container yard and were sent to the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital. Few other details were released from the terminal operator, DP World.

RELATED: FAIRVIEW TERMINAL HALTS OPERATIONS AFTER INCIDENT INVOLVING 11 WORKERS

On Sept. 13, Cosco advised its customers that “in order to alleviate congestion at the terminal and to reduce the impact on the movement of your cargo” that four vessels originally destined for Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary via Prince Rupert will be diverted to DP World’s Vancouver Centerm terminal first. This is a temporary fix until the port’s terminal expansion work is completed.

Although the port celebrated the completion of its Phase 2 expansion project on Aug. 29, there are still some on-going construction activities that have caused backlog, according to Cosco’s customer advisory. Another contributing factor to the congestion is that CN is adding more dock rail track.

The port is working with CN, DP World, its customers and shippers to bring dwell times back down to its standard of three days or less. Schumacher said they hope by the end of the week that they’ll be back down to dwell times of four days and to improve from there.

For the next four weeks, the four cargo vessels, Xin Ou Zhou, CSCL America, Xin Fei Zhou and CSCL Oceania will go through Vancouver’s terminal to save transportation time.

Port of Prince Rupert

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

Small space extrication

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue enhances expertise with confined space certification training

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Northern Health has no cases of COVID-19

The largest geographical health region has had the least reported cases of coronavirus.

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Large rogue floating ‘island’ corralled by Lac la Hache residents

At least 60 feet wide, this large mass of plants is free-floating on the lake

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read