Infrastructure Enhancements Key to Port of Vancouver USA’s Future
November 27, 2012 - SCMR Editorial
The Port of Vancouver USA – the third largest port in the State of Washington – has been investing heavily in its infrastructure in anticipation of surging U.S. exports.
The demand for agricultural commodities and aggregates has never been stronger, said Curtis Shuck, the port’s director of economic development and facilities.
“We are determined to become a critical transportation hub in the region,” he said. “Our deep water and rail connections are a big advantage now, but we can’t stop building for the future.”
Indeed, improvements underway include its rail expansion project – which when complete – will reduce congestion on the lines by 40 percent and triple the amount of unit trains that can be handled by the port.
In a deal announced recently, the West Vancouver Freight Access Terminal 5 Expansion / SPL project was awarded to Apollo, Inc. of Kennewick, WA which is currently 55 percent complete with construction that will add approximately 2,450 feet of new track and relocate 6,300 feet of track within the Terminal 5 loop track. This configuration will result in the ability to handle 120 cars at the new facility versus the original 110.
Granite Construction began paving 1,600 tons of asphalt layered with geo-composite fabric earlier this month, and is currently 80 percent complete. Coast Rail, the rail subcontractor for the project, then laid 800 rail ties, arranging the foundation for future rail that will unload potash at the facility.
This is the second phase of a two-phase project. The SPL project began construction in August 2012 and is estimated to be complete in the first quarter of 2013.
“The same level of investment is being made in warehousing and staging areas,” said Shuck.
He also noted that a grant agreement between the Washington State Department of Commerce and the port was finalized in September, completing the steps necessary to secure $5.7 million in grant funding that will be used to develop 58 acres of the port’s Centennial Industrial Park.
Situated on the north side of State Route 501 in Southwest Washington, Centennial Industrial Park encompasses 108 acres zoned for light industrial use. The property has proximity to a deep-draft shipping channel, key freeway freight corridors, and dual-carrier rail service by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. In addition, a binding site plan and a development agreement for the property are in place between the port and the city of Vancouver, making the project fully vested.
“There’s good reason for the Columbia River Economic Development Council’s designation of this property as a development of county-wide significance, “said Shuck. “It’s one of the most development-ready light industrial sites in Clark County, and thanks to the grant funding we can fast-track our site improvements to meet growing market demands, which is especially important now that the port’s industrial occupancy rate is 99 percent.”
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