Intermodal Briefs: California Ports, Prince Rupert Port Authority

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Aerial view of the San Pedro Bay Port Complex in California. (Photograph Courtesy of Port of Los Angeles)

Aerial view of the San Pedro Bay Port Complex in California. (Photograph Courtesy of Port of Los Angeles)

Five California seaports sign a Memorandum of Understanding to launch the California Port Data Partnership. Also, Royal Vopak and AltaGas Ltd. form a new joint venture for a large-scale liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and bulk liquids terminal in Prince Rupert, Canada.

In a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Hueneme and San Diego have outlined an agreement to “jointly advance computerized and cloud-based data interoperability with a common goal of supporting improved freight system resilience, goods movement efficiency, emissions reduction and economic competitiveness,” the Port of Los Angeles reported April 26.

The five ports and state officials in the past months have held biweekly roundtables to develop the framework for the MOU. The MOU and partnership will serve as the basis of cooperation for the $27 million in grant funds from the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) “for port data system development and emerging data aggregation and analysis efforts that support freight and supply chain resiliency,” according to the Port of Los Angeles, which noted that the funds were included in the state Budget Act of 2022.

“I commend our state leaders, particularly GO-Biz and Director Dee Dee Myers, for having the foresight to invest in data infrastructure to create a more predictable and efficient supply chain,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

“Sharing vital shipping data will reduce delays and aid the entire goods movement industry from the docks to doorsteps,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said. “By working together, California’s ports can enable end-to-end visibility and connectivity across the supply chain.”

“This historic investment by Gov. Newsom leverages the overall competitiveness of California’s container ports through innovation and access to cutting-edge technology,” said Kristin Decas, CEO and Port Director for the Port of Hueneme.

“We are thankful to Gov. Gavin Newsom for the opportunity to collaborate with other California ports to further improve our operations, increase throughput and enhance customer service through the Ports Data Partnership,” Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Rafael Castellanos said.

“The Port of Oakland is pleased to collaborate with our legislative and maritime leaders to improve freight movement using technological innovation,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan said. “It’s fitting that this digital supply chain solution originates in California, the technology capital of the world.”

REEF Operational Facility Site (CNW Group/AltaGas Ltd.)

Independent tank storage company Royal Vopak and infrastructure firm AltaGas Ltd. have formed a 50/50 joint venture to further evaluate development of the Ridley Island Energy Export Facility (REEF), a large-scale LPG and bulk liquids terminal with marine infrastructure on Ridley Island, British Columbia, Canada.

“REEF, as part of the previously submitted regulatory filings (under the name of Vopak Pacific Canada), will have the capability to facilitate the export of LPGs, methanol and other bulk liquids that are vital for everyday life,” the companies reported on April 26. “REEF has been granted the key federal and provincial permits to construct storage tanks, a new dedicated jetty, and rail and other ancillary infrastructure required to operate a state-of-the-art and highly efficient facility.”

The terminal would be developed on a 190-acre site on land administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority—for which the partners have executed a long-term lease—that is adjacent to their existing Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal, which opened in April 2019.

According to Royal Vopak and AlataGas Ltd., should REEF “reach a positive final investment decision,” they plan to take a phased-in approach to development. This will provide “the most capital-efficient build out of the project, match energy export supply with throughput capacity, mitigate the challenges that large development projects can have on local communities, and provide local construction and employment opportunities that would extend over longer time horizons,” the companies said.

AltaGas has executed a long-term commercial agreement with the joint venture for 100% of the capacity for the first phase of LPG volumes, subject to a positive final investment decision, according to the companies. It will also be responsible for facility construction and operation.

Front-end engineering design—including a refined capital cost estimate, a project execution plan, a construction schedule, and a projected in-service date—and other development activities are expected to be completed by late 2023, followed by a final investment decision by the joint venture companies. “Solidifying long-term economic rail agreements in partnership with the rail operator will also be key for the joint venture to be able to reach a positive final investment decision and ensure the project advances,” they said.

“We congratulate Royal Vopak and AltaGas on this significant milestone toward advancing development of the terminal project at the Port of Prince Rupert,” said Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “Once operational, the new facility will substantially increase and diversify the Port of Prince Rupert’s liquid bulk cargo capabilities and capacity, while providing a much-needed export solution for Canadian producers during a critical time in the global energy transition.”

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