Plans to expand the Fairview Container Terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert have passed a key regulatory hurdle.
Federal environment minister Peter Kent completed an environmental assessment of the project in late January, following several months of public consultation.
A statement issued Jan. 25 by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency said Kent determined that measures aimed at mitigating the environmental impact of the project are appropriate.
The project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects if proposed mitigation measures are followed, the CEAA statement added.
With the environmental assessment review process now complete, the project will be referred to responsible federal authorities for additional authorizations, including the Canadian Transportation Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada.
The Fairview Terminal is an intermodal facility designed to handle 500,000 20-foot containers per year.
The terminal was opened in 2007, but the expectation of rising demand for container movement prompted plans to quadruple the terminal’s capacity to two million units per year.
The project calls for infilling 27 acres of waterfront area and adding a new wharf and container yard.
The expansion also includes the addition of new cranes, container stacking equipment and rail fac-ilities.
Officials suggested that timelines for completion of the project have not been established.
New Jersey-based Maher Terminals, one of the world’s largest container terminal operators, will decide when construction should commence, based on demand from intermodal customers.
When the project is complete, the facility will be capable of handling 14 ships per week and 10 train movements per day: five inbound and five outbound.
The project was proposed by Prince Rupert Port Authority and Canadian National Railway Ltd., which provides rail service to the port.
CN officials said the expansion will increase shipping capacity at one of the continent’s fastest-growing ports.
“CN is pleased to work with its partner, the Port of Prince Rupert, to advance the growth of one of the fastest growing ports in North America,” CN spokesperson Warren Chandler said in an email.