December 17 - The Port of Vancouver is bustling with activity, on and off the Columbia River, according to press reports in the local media, with imports and exports lively; and a storage yard packed with sections of wind turbines.
2009 looks promising, according to Larry Paulson, the port's manager for the past 10 years.
Last week, the port issued USD32.55 million in general obligation bonds last week which will largely finance the purchase of 218 acres of industrial land, the former site of Alcoa and Evergreen aluminum operations.
The port has ordered a second mobile crane, touted as the largest mobile crane in North America, which is due to arrive at the end of March. The crane will help its twin, which cost USD3.2 million, unload wind generator components from ships calling at the port next year. Each wind turbine nacelle (generating unit) weighs between 72 and 95 tons. The cranes also will handle oil sands equipment headed for Alberta, Canada.
The local press reports indicate that the port is concentrating on rail development. It's part of the West Vancouver Rail Access project, which will bring unit trains (with 100 to 110 cars, close to 8,000 feet in length) off the main north-south rail line entirely into port property, instead of splitting the trains, which delays all rail traffic. The completion goal is 2017.
The priority is to get the unit train track in place quickly, perhaps as soon as late 2009. Rail line inside the port will increase from 18 to 50 miles, including a connection along the waterfront to the east-west BNSF Railway.