CMO Move Clears Way for Coal Harbour
Vol. 26, No. 1
LOADING: The ferry Princess Superior docks at the new Tilbury Terminal on the south arm of the Fraser River.
The terminal offers many advantages over Coastal Marine Operations' old home in Coal Harbour, from which CPRS's West
Coast steamships operated since 1904.
years of operating out of Vancouver's Coal Harbour, CP Rail System's Coastal Marine Operations (CMO) has set sail
for Delta, British Columbia.
Its new home, Tilbury Terminal, is a $20-million 8.1-hectare (20-acre)
freight ferry terminal, 25 km (15.5 miles) south of Vancouver on the Fraser River.
The move gives CMO room to expand operations that were feeling the pinch at their old berthing site, and clears the
way for Marathon Realty's billion-dollar commercial and residential development, the Coal Harbour
Project. Marathon is Canadian Pacific's real estate subsidiary.
As well, it positions the CMO to better accommodate its customer base, the majority of which has shifted east and
south of Vancouver over the years.
The Coal Harbour Project will occupy 430,000 square metres (4.7 million square feet ) of prime Vancouver real estate
when completed. The first phase is scheduled for occupancy in 1997.
The new site at Tilbury has one important advantages for CMO.
"The potential for damage to our customers' vehicles and goods is reduced as highway driver will now use
pull-through" spaces that eliminate the need for backing up when loading trailers onto our
ferries", said Alec McPherson, chief operating officer for CMO.
The old terminal on Coal Harbour also posed some problems, as space was cramped and security systems were beginning
to show their age. "At Tilbury we now have a sophisticated system, integrating an array of cameras and lighting
to secure the perimeter", McPherson said, explaining that inadequate security of trailer contents was a serious
concern at the former site.
"And we now have all our operation and administrative personnel located on site, allowing for significant
improvement. We can now be proactive in the management of potential problems and concerns".
The construction of Tilbury Terminal, including dredging and the demolition of the abandoned CN Ferry Terminal which
formerly occupied the site, began in December 1994.
The terminal opened in November 1995.
Tilbury was designed to handle primarily roll-on/roll-off drop trailers (without tractors) and railcars.
A small quantity of trailers with tractors also moves between the B.C. Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Tilbury can accommodate about 330 trailers at any one time, compared to 270 trailers at Coal Harbour. The new
terminal handles from 9,000 to 10,000 trailers a month, as well as about 750 railcars.
The traffic base is split between general commodities and materials needed for, and produced by, the construction,
mining, and forest industries on Vancouver Island.
Overall, CMO's business represents approximately 45 percent of the roll-on/roll-off traffic moving
between the B.C. Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
"Princess Superior", the "Carrier Princess", and three chartered vessels operate on a rigorous
year-round, seven-day, 24-hour schedule out of Tilbury.
Five daily round trips to Nanaimo carry a combination of railcars and trailers. Three daily round trips to Swartz
Bay, near Victoria, handle only trailers.
A sixth vessel, also chartered to CMO, moves both railcars - including tank cars - from Burlington Northern's slip
on the Vancouver waterfront and highway trailers from a leased dock at the foot of main street.
ROOM TO MOVE: Overall view of
Tilbury Terminal ferry berths and trailer lot.
This CP Rail News article is copyright
1996 by the Canadian Pacific Railway and is reprinted here with
their permission. All photographs, logos, and trademarks are the property of the Canadian Pacific Railway