Port Alberni container port
In Port Alberni, which has languished in the doldrums for years thanks to the declining forestry industry that once dominated Vancouver Island trade, there’s new excitement over a possible breakthrough short-sea shipping container feeder link to Port Metro Vancouver, or Seattle and Tacoma.
The Federal Government has given the port authority $225,000 to study the prospects of such a short-sea service, which some say could help ease congestion at Vancouver’s major container terminals. Currently, all cargo received by the Vancouver port is loaded onto trains or trucks for transport to various warehouses and distribution centres such as Coast 2000 on the Fraser River.
Port Alberni Port Authority CEO Zoran Knezevic is already confident the idea has merit. He urges skeptics to look at a marine chart and see how most if not all container vessels now sail past the mouth of the Alberni Inlet on their way into Puget Sound or the Strait of Georgia and their major port facilities.
He is hopeful the study will show how container lines could save a day or so on each circuit by dropping off containers in Port Alberni where they will be barged directly to intermodal yards and warehouses for K-Mart, Canadian Tire and others with no significant loss of time. He even predicts shipping lines will likely be able to trim a vessel from their rosters because of the time savings.
In Nanaimo, where DP World is in charge of terminal operations, there’s also short-sea shipping excitement. The mid-Island port has already started a successful daily container feeder service to the Lower Mainland from Duke Point.