It seems that conditions in the Port of Vancouver are quite favourable lately. According to the annual Port RePort, presented by executive director Larry Paulson, the port created up to 100 construction jobs in 2010, thanks to its extensive plans to build approximately seven miles of loop rail track at Terminal 5. This seven-mile section is just a part of the bigger, $150 million, 27-mile planned expansion of rail tracks in order to speed up cargo handling.
More than 240 construction workers are to be hired to complete the $40 million infrastructure projects in 2011 and 2012. As the Terminal 5 building is completed, port officials anticipate the creation of about 1,000 permanent jobs.
Jobs are not the only benefit of the project. Net cargo tonnage was raised by 19 per cent up to 5.7 million metric tons in 2009. There was more than a 16 per cent increase in imports over the 2009-2010 period — up to 831,530 metric tonnes. The Port of Vancouver’s exports grew even more rapidly, reaching an average growth of 19.5 per cent over 2009 and 4.9 million metric tonnes, compared to the initial 4.1 million metric tonnes.
This success is the result of years of hard work and extensive planning. The development of the rail track system started in 2005, when it was found to be out-of-date, and the port’s management decided to expand it to meet the needs of its tenants. The final stages of the West Vancouver Freight Access project are planned for 2017, creating approximately 4,000 construction jobs along the way.
According to Paulson, the port is largely supporting the deepening of the Columbia River channel that will expand the possibilities for river transportation and trade. “Our river system is sending a global signal that we’re open to business,” he said.