Discovery’s visit to DELTAPORT
Andrea, Ellen, Ben, Joe and Julie went out to Deltaport at the end of June to have a look around because we are curious about what are bananas, mangos or apples from Latin America go through before touching our dock on Malkin Avenue. We all jumped into a van that looked tiny compared to the surrounding equipment and Chris from Global Container Terminal toured us around, patiently answering the many questions we had.
From left to right: Andrea, Ellen, Joe and Ben
According to Chris, “The timing of your visit and the questions everyone posed could not have been better.” Nice work Disco team!
For a typical load of Banana from BOS, Andrea receives and QC the load, Ben ripens it, Ellen and her team take care of picking and shipping your order, Joe delivers it (if you are a local customer). That’s after Julie agrees on a shipping schedule with BOS and after the sea freight with MSC is arranged. BOS holds the export expertise, Discovery holds the import expertise. The shipping is the only part of this direct supply chain we have to outsource and rely on. It generally takes 21 days on the water before arriving at Deltaport. We won’t go into the many possible complications that a container from Latin America can go through before being delivered to our dock. Not today.
Now, how much do you know about Deltaport?
Well, to begin with, Deltaport is the largest container terminal in Canada, Montreal being the second largest. It is characterized by 10 gantry cranes, three berths, on-dock rail facilities and the only quad lift crane in North or South America. That’s right.
Container terminals operate very much like airport terminals: the Federal government owns the land and leases it to a contractor that will take care of operations. Global Container Canada (GCT) has been operating the Deltaport and Vanterm (the red cranes downtown) since the early 90s. They also operate the ports of New York and New Jersey.
“For the entire Port of Vancouver, the import/export ratio is nearly 1:1 and is the most balanced on the West Coast. (Year to date – 1.15 : 1.0 to be exact)”. Chris wasn’t entirely sure but it seems like less than 15% of what GCT handles is fresh produce. Most of it being import of conventional fruits from South-East Asia. And just as a reminder, less than 2% of the bananas imported into Canada are Organic Fairtrade certified. It is us on the West Coast and Equifruit on the East Coast, that’s it.
The largest of the three vessels on the dock during our visit was the Ulsan Express with 13,200 TEU (6600 40ft containers) capacity. Below is the Antwerp Express which is in the same class as the Ulsan. 3 days to unload, 3 days to load…
“With our 2 new mega max ship to shore cranes (Boasting a 23+ container wide outreach, the STS cranes, standing over 137 metres (450 feet or 45 stories) high, with a lift capacity of 65 tonnes (145,600 pounds) and completion of our rail expansion project, Deltaport is poised for further growth to create greater transportation value while leading the industry in emission reductions and environmental sustainability.”
Intermodal loading crane (semi-automatic)
CN Rail and CP Rail service the on-dock rail facilities at the port’s container and cargo terminals. Loading and unloading on dock saves transit time with less handling, reducing potential damage and costs for the shipper. CN Rail and CP Rail offer double-stack intermodal service across Canada, including Toronto and Montreal, plus direct service to Chicago and other North American markets. These are the trains causing traffic jams in east Vancouver and that you might be familiar with, unfortunately. Since Deltaport’s activity is intensifying, it is quite likely that the immediate consequence will be longer trains or more frequent trains in the future. Yay!
Reefer container storage area (where our containers are held when flagged by the CFIA or the CBSA for inspection but we said we wouldn’t talk about that today)
Here is a video that you might enjoy too!