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Hamilton Economic Development

Hamilton Port Authority kick-starting $36-million project to reconfigure western port lands

The project is expected to wrap up by the end of 2020.

The Hamilton Port Authority is embarking on a $35-million project to rejig the western half of the port lands to create new developable employment land.

Called the Westport Modernization Project, the plan also includes the creation of a multimodal transportation hub at the 115-hectare site, which currently faces some gaps in its rail network and no road or rail service at some of the piers.

The federal government is funding $17.7 million — half of the project’s cost — through its National Trade Corridors Fund, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced at HPA’s Hillyard Street facility Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, we’re out of space,” HPA president and CEO Ian Hamilton said. “By reorganizing our space and improving the multimodal services, we can effectively create new parcels of land that can be used to attract new investments and jobs.”

The four main parts of the project include:

  • A new dockwall at Pier 12, which is one of the port’s busiest piers
  • Upgrades to Westport’s existing rail network to provide more cargo-handling capacity and rail service to more development parcels
  • Improved on-site roadways and enhancements to a new container positioning depot to facilitate truck traffic on port lands
  • A new warehouse building for multi-user bulk storage

This project will not include reclaiming new land out of the water, but reconfiguring what the port authority already has to create an additional 40 to 50 acres of usable land and generate an additional million tons of cargo, Hamilton said.

Work on the project is supposed to get underway this year and wrap up by December 2020, creating an estimated 524 jobs during construction.

The groundwork, including engineering and environmental permitting, has been taking place over the last two years, he said.

The investment is expected to strengthen trade connections to European, African and South American markets and promote a greater flow of cargo through the port to the Greater Toronto Horseshoe region and its Canadian and U.S. supply chains, according to Transport Canada.

“We can have the best products in the world, but if we can’t get them to our customers quickly and reliably, we will lose business to other suppliers,” Garneau said.

Located at the west end of the Port of Hamilton, Westport is among the oldest industrial employment lands in the city.

Because the port’s landholdings — piers 10 to 15 — were assembled piece-by-piece over decades, the area is not configured to maximize the space on the site, which has infrastructure that is more than 100 years old in some spots.

HPA expects to be able to leverage the $36-million investment to attract between $80 and $90 million in economic activity in the region and employment at the port, Hamilton said.

Glen Norton, the city’s economic development director, called the investment “great news” for Hamilton.

“We can work with them to attract more businesses now.”

Article courtesy of Natalie Paddon, The Hamilton Spectator

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