Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vancouver USA Lures New Mega-Bulk Customer

The Washington state Port of Vancouver, which has made a name for itself as a handler of mega-bulk cargo, has been selected as the new port of entry for an unnamed South Korean manufacturer that ships oil refinery components to the Alberta oil works in Canada.

The port expects to sign a final agreement with the Korean firm by the end of the first quarter 2010 with shipments to begin short thereafter. Citing confidentiality due to the lack of final contract signatures, the port has refused to name the Korean firm, the number of annual shipments the deal could bring to Vancouver, and the possible revenues to be generated.

During the summer, the Korean firm quietly shipped one of the 156-ton oil refinery components through the port as a test. The module was easily handled by the port's two mobile cranes, which are more well know for offloading windmill turbines and components. The port's two mobile cranes are the largest of their type in North America and each is capable of lifting the equivalent weight of two space shuttles, or about 140 metric tons.

The deal comes as good news to the port, which although continuing to move fair amounts of mega-bulk cargo, has suffered otherwise at the hands of the global recession like all the West Coast ports. Total annual cargo tonnage moving through the port this year is expected to fall to pre-2006 levels.

What is Vancouver’s gain, however, is a loss for an unnamed Gulf port. The Korean manufacturer has been shipping the oil refinery components through a Texas port and then trucking the massive cargo to Alberta.