In July of 2008, Dargas Shipping, Ltd. of Vancouver, BC shipped the first cargo consisting of a large pressure vessel from Vancouver, BC to Fort McMurray, in the Alberta oil sands, via the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The Columbia/Snake River provides the best all-year route for cargoes that cannot be transported through the mountains in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. As a result of this first successful cargo, the oil sand industry is now looking at the Columbia/Snake and the Port of Wilma for over dimensional cargoes and overweight cargoes destined for the oil sands. The Port of Wilma is owned by the Port of Whitman County. TGM, the main terminal operator in the Port of Wilma, has recently concluded a contract through Dargas for the export of the world’s third largest dragline, from the oil sands to Australia. The cargo is received from truck and rail in Wilma, processed and prepared for further shipment and barged to the Port of Vancouver, WA, where it will be loaded directly from barge to an ocean-going heavy lift vessel. The heaviest piece will be 132 MT.
Cargo originating from the Far East is discharged to barge in Vancouver, WA and barged 360 miles inland to the Port of Wilma, where at the TGM terminal the cargo will be loaded to truck or to railcar. Dargas provides turnkey cargo handling from the ship’s hook in Vancouver, WA, or from the initial loading port in the Far East, to loading onto truck/railcar in the Port of Wilma, as well as delivery to the project site in Alberta.
The combined ocean and road route to Fort McMurray via Vancouver, WA and the Port of Wilma is shorter by 5,300 nautical miles plus 1,400 road miles compared to Houston, TX and shorter by 8,800 nautical miles plus 300 road miles compared to Duluth, MN. Current cargo restrictions through Wilma are 24 x 27 x 120ft and a cargo weight of 300,000 lbs.
Dargas works closely with the Port of Vancouver, WA that has a 140MT mobile harbor crane with a second crane arriving in early 2009, so that all project cargoes arriving for Dargas can be handled efficiently and without the need to use heavy lift ships.