P&O PORTS ENTERS WEST COAST MARKET
P&O Ports, the ports arm of the London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation group, is moving into the West Coast of North America port market by acquiring Canada’s CASCO container terminal in the port of Vancouver and Canadian Stevedoring.
The Canadian West Coast addition to the global terminal operator’s network will complement P&O Ports’ activities in the United States, where it has built up a sizeable business in the last few years on the East and Gulf coasts, primarily through acquisitions.
“It is P&O Ports’ first venture into the Canadian market and its first acquisition on the West Coast of North America,” the British ports group said.
P&O said on Monday that it has signed an agreement to acquire two businesses from BCR Marine, a company owned by the Province of British Columbia, for C$105 million ($69 million). The assets concerned are the CASCO container terminal, which operates the Centerm in Vancouver, and Canadian Stevedoring, which offers cargo-handling services in ports throughout British Columbia.
The Centerm terminal handles over 280,000 TEUs a year. Capacity at the Vancouver terminal is 300,000 TEUs, but this can be expanded to 600,000 TEUs in the medium term. The current lease with the Vancouver Port Authority expires in 2029.
Canadian Stevedoring is the largest stevedoring organization on the West Coast of Canada, operating at 16 ports, P&O said. It handles general cargo and specialized commodities, including grain, forest products, cars, steel and project cargo.
P&O expects to complete the Canadian acquisition transaction in the first quarter.
Vancouver is one of the fastest growing container ports on the West Coast of North America, and benefits from good intermodal links into both Canada and the U.S.
Volume growth rates at the port of Vancouver have exceeded 10 percent a year since 1991, and the port increased its volume by 27 percent last year, P&O reported.
“This privatization is an important expansion of our network,” said Robert Woods, executive chairman of P&O Ports and group managing director of P&O Nedlloyd.
In 2001, P&O Ports’ worldwide volume was 9.8 million TEUs, of which the North American container terminals contributed about 1.5 million TEUs.