Port of Prince Rupert one step closer to securing marine replenishment service
The port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia is the closest North American port to Asia by up to three days’ sailing. It is 36 hours closer to Shanghai than Vancouver and over 68 hours closer than Los Angeles.
However, it is one of the only major ports in the world that does not offer refueling services for cargo ships. This means ships must carry enough fuel to make a round trip or detour to another West Coast port (including the Port of Vancouver) to refuel.
This issue should be resolved by next year. Based in Calgary Wolverine Terminals plans to offer new marine fuels service in the Port of Prince Rupert in 2023 and the project is progressing well. The new service’s two main maritime assets will be two marine fuel barges and their designer, Robert Allan Ltd., reports that construction of the pair has now begun at Vietnam’s Damen Shipyards.
Both barges are unique designs specifically tailored to the site and intended operations. There will be a rail/terminal barge and a distribution barge providing the following basic operations:
- Tug-assisted transport of the rail/terminal barge between the Aquatrain terminal and a new Wolverine Terminals berth site, a distance of approximately 400 meters;
- Transfer of marine fuel from railcars to fuel storage tanks located in the rail/terminal barge;
- Transfer of marine fuel from rail/terminal barge to distribution barge;
- Tug-assisted transport of the distribution barge between the fuel service mooring site and approved locations in the port; and
- Transfer of fuels from the distribution barge to the large cargo ships.
Both barge designs have undergone detailed risk assessments and class approval to Lloyd’s Register and Transport Canada requirements.
The 12,400 DWT, 142 by 30 meter rail/terminal barge is designed for the loading and storage of multiple tank cars and the in-hull storage of marine fuels. The design incorporates a double hull, cargo handling equipment, tank heating, spill prevention and recovery equipment, on-board and shore power to operating facilities. The rail/terminal barge design solves many unique challenges by blending the rail and marine industries.
The 4,800 dwt, 78 by 20 meter distribution barge is very similar in design to other marine fuel distribution barges operating in the Port of Vancouver and other west coast ports. The design incorporates a double hull, cargo handling equipment, tank heating, spill prevention and recovery equipment, onboard power generation and operating facilities.