A $70 MILLION commercial wharf being billed as a gateway for goods and products in and out of northern B.C., the Yukon and northern Alberta was officially opened yesterday.
Located in Stewart, the Stewart World Port offers shippers a day and a half closer shipping time to and from Asia than can be had by using southern port facilities, says company official Brad Moffat.
“The name is self explanatory – we’re opening Stewart to the world,” he said.
That Stewart is ice-free and that its harbour area is very deep offers competitive advantages, Moffat added.
“If not the deepest, I believe it is one of the deepest,” he said of Stewart’s ranking among ports on the west coast.
In the shipping world the Stewart World Port is called a break bulk facility, handling goods and material that aren’t normally shipped in containers and are not shipped in bulk such as grain.
“We’re open to the mining sector, oil and gas, project cargo, pipes, logs,” said Moffat.
One example might be accommodation modules for workers at a resource camp, he said.
Moffat said the company has already secured one client but that he could not yet release its identity.
“We are negotiating a number of contracts,” he added.
Stewart World Port is privately owned by Ted Pickell of Fort St. John who also owns Arctic Construction, the company that built the facility.
“He’s a visionary,” said Moffat in adding that Pickell kept construction on track for a three-year completion schedule.
Work is now starting on a new phase, this time a $60 million project featuring a traveling bulk shiploader.
“This is a large belt system, allowing us to move products like mine concentrate or wood chips. It’s a tremendous amount of infrastructure and will move up and down the wharf so that ships won’t have to move,” said Moffat.
The shiploader is rated at being able to handle 3,300 tonnes of material per hour.
Also part of the new phase are concentrate-holding sheds.
Guests at the opening included B.C. Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon who is on a tour of northern B.C.