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American Shipper

P&O Ports signs 51-year lease in Vancouver

P&O Ports signs 51-year lease in Vancouver

   P&O Ports Canada Inc. has signed a new 51-year agreement with the Vancouver Port Authority to operate the Centerm facility in Vancouver, B.C. harbor.

   The port operator said it will invest C$130 million ($98 million) expanding the terminal over the next 18 months, doubling Centerm’s container-handling capacity to 720,000 TEUs by the end of next year.

   P&O Ports Canada said the project includes adding two new post-Panamax container cranes, 16 rubber-tired gantries and doubling on-dock rail to 8,000 feet. One of the cranes will replace an older model.

   P&O Ports Canada Inc.’s president and chief executive officer, Tom Boardley, said this latest investment in jobs and infrastructure is made possible by provincial government legislation capping municipal taxes. He also credits Centerm and cooperation from the longshore units for the new agreement, which is the longest in the Vancouver Port Authority’s history.

   “P&O Ports Canada competes for its investment capital on a worldwide basis with other P&O enterprises, obviously from a limited pool,” Boardley said.

   Gordon Houston, president and CEO of Vancouver Port Authority, said the announcement reinforces the port of Vancouver’s commitment to growth.

   The two post-Panamax cranes, to be ordered from Zhenua Port Machinery Co., of Shanghai, will bring Centerm’s total to five.

   The addition of 16 rubber-tired gantries will make the container yard an all-gantry operation. Other improvements include: doubling to 600 the number of outlets for refrigerated containers; yard capacity will be increased 15 percent to 4,000 container slots; and the average container stack height will go from three to five.

   P&O Ports Canada acquired Centerm in February 2003, when it bought the marine assets of BC Rail Group for C$110 million (about $83 million). The purchase also included Canadian Stevedoring, British Columbia’s biggest stevedoring company, which operates in 16 British Columbian ports.

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