UPDATE 1-Northern Canadian port to boost container handling capacity

Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:01pm EDT
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(Adds details, costs for the expansion)

VANCOUVER, March 10 (Reuters) - Maher Terminals Holding Corp said on Tuesday it would boost container-handling capacity by more than half at the Port of Prince Rupert under an expansion of its container terminal at the northern British Columbia port.

The Fairview Container terminal will be expanded to more than 1.3 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year, up from its current capacity of some 850,000 TEUs. Construction is set to start in April and is expected to wrap up by mid-2017.

The C$200 million ($157.9 million) expansion project will include a second deep-water berth, four additional cranes and land reclamation work to expand the existing container yard. Rail loading capacity at the port will also be boosted.

Canadian National Railway Company, which operates the only rail line at the northern port, separately said it will continue to invest in capacity improvements on the route from Prince Rupert to key U.S. markets like Chicago and Memphis.

Roughly 60 percent to 70 percent of container imports at the port are destined for cross-border markets, while container exports are dominated by Canadian shipments of wood and grain products.

Container handling capacity at the Port of Prince Rupert has risen steadily since the terminal opened seven years ago. The port has benefited in recent months from a boost in shipments rerouted from the U.S. West Coast due to labor unrest there.

Maher Terminals is owned by Deutsche Bank Ag. ($1 = 1.2665 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Alan Crosby)