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Feeder Hole Loading

After months without any updates regarding the use of feeder hole loading during periods of inclement weather, there has been some recent progress. Several terminals in the Port of Vancouver have been experimenting with feeder hole testing with minor success and lots of frustration thus far. The first testing we had heard about occurred at Kinder Morgan Terminal earlier this month. The first shift was difficult as the terminal worked through the objections raised by the longshoremen. On this first test, no cargo was recorded throughout the entire shift. Subsequent tests went smoother, and finally some cargo was successfully loaded via feeder holes. Going forward, the terminal is optimistic that operations can be improved. On day 2 of testing, set-up time took around 4 hours before cargo was loaded which the terminal believes can be reduced by further training and improved procedures. Improving set-up will be important going forward as minimizing delays while labour is standing by will save significant costs. To date, Kinder Morgan has successfully loaded through feeder holes through 4 shifts which is a positive step in the right direction.

At Cargill Terminal, the stevedores and terminal have gone through multiple rounds of testing on a couple of different ships. On the first day of testing, no cargo was loaded through feeder holes as there were some mechanical issues that prevented the correct set-up. On the next vessel, the set-up process went smoothly but unfortunately again no cargo was loaded through feeder holes. While these tests may not seem successful at first glance because no cargo was loaded, these are important progressions necessary in bringing feeder hole operations back in to use in the Port of Vancouver. For instance, it allows for the stevedores to identify the correct configuration of the guard rails and where/how they need to be placed around the hold. Looking ahead, the employer, longshoremen union and the stevedores are scheduled to meet again in early November to address further safety concerns that have been raised throughout the past month of testing. As Vancouver enters the rainy/snowy season, all parties are optimistic that feeder hole operations will return to ease vessel congestion in the Port.