Centerm Expansion Project

Owner: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority  |  Vancouver, BC


About the Project

Centerm Expansion Project (the Project) – The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s economic engine to over 170 trading partners globally, and expansion of containerized services is key to Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s (VFPA’s) mandate to enable Canada’s increasing trade in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The Project involves the expansion of an existing operational container terminal located near downtown Vancouver on the south shore of Burrard inlet within a busy marine environment.

The scope of work includes minor expansion of the terminal footprint through dredging and infill; reconfiguration of the yard for more efficient operations; relocation and modernization of the truck gate facilities; provision of new electric driven gantry cranes; expansion of reefer towers and plugs for perishable cargo; and the complete refurbishment of the historic Ballantyne Pier shed to a new operations centre. A key design driver was that the terminal remained in operation throughout the construction, requiring complex staging and sequencing planning, including multi-party stakeholder engagement and coordination, as well as phased deliverables in accordance with the construction schedule. The design also successfully achieved VFPA’s goals of Envision Platinum certification and is awaiting LEED Gold for the operations building.

The Hatch lead design team has been engaged on this design-build project since the pursuit phase, with its bid-design deemed both innovative and technically well developed. The team overcame many technical challenges requiring agility and determination in the execution phase of this brownfield development.

Together with additional off-terminal enabling works, and once the systems and equipment optimization is completed, the project will enable a 60% improvement in terminal throughput, from 900,000 to 1,500,000 TEUs (terminal equivalent units) annually while reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with its operation.


Hatch adopted a “best team” approach to the work and assembled a highly qualified design team for this project, including in particular Moffatt & Nichol for the terminal reconfiguration and design. Other subconsultants included VIA for new buildings, EXP for geotechnical services, and Ausenco for environmental planning and monitoring. A collaborative effort was needed to achieve final design solutions while meeting extensive Project requirements. There were also many external stakeholders including other port tenants, public entities such as FortisBC, BC Hydro and Metro Vancouver, railways as well as community businesses and residents to be accommodated and engaged within the design, requiring significant interface management.

The design approach had two tenets at its core: constructability/cost effectiveness, coupled with sustainability. Two examples of this are: 1) The use of recycled demolished concrete in the permanent works, which eliminated the impact of material disposal as well as importation of equivalent fill; and 2) The extension of the existing berth face via large prefabricated concrete caissons which were floated to site and sunk in place, eliminating the need for disruptive piledriving and over-the-water concrete work.
The team worked in close cooperation with the constructor, Owner, and Operator to overcome construction and schedule challenges as they arose, always with the view of avoiding impacts to terminal operations while maintaining design integrity.


The Project achieved substantial completion on schedule in December 2022 with a commendable safety record of zero lost time incidents, while maintaining continuous operation of the terminal throughout its construction. It was also accomplished with reduced disruption to the wider community and successfully met its environmental goals. The completed Project will contribute to Canada’s economic prosperity and VFPA’s sustainability vision, serving as a flagship for future developments.

Service(s) Provided
– Terminal reconfiguration, including staging and sequencing
– Electrical upgrades throughout accommodating staged approach, and shore power
– Systems design for new Operations Centre
– Geotechnical analysis, including dredging, dyke design and infills
– Structural design, including concrete caissons and new reefer towers
– Full service new buildings architecture and design
– Construction monitoring and Engineer of Record services
– Environmental planning and monitoring
– Engineering management services

Project Team (Consultants)
Moffatt & Nichol, EXP, VIA – A Perkins Eastman StudioAusenco,
AECOM (Owner’s Engineer)

Project Team (Contractors)
Centennial Expansion Partners (CXP) – The partnership consists of Dragados Canada lnc., Fraser River Pile & Dredge and Jacob Bros. Construction.


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