Fluke Transportation is growing its footprint in the Port of Hamilton with a 56,000-square-foot warehouse expansion that is seen as one of the first steps in transforming the Westport area of the docks.
The building will be a pre-engineered, steel-frame, pitched-roof structure on the east side of an existing 275,000-square-foot warehouse that the company currently operates on Pier 15 at 450 Sherman Ave. N. It will feature high-efficiency lighting and make use of natural light to reduce energy use. In all, the company will have more than 330,000 square feet of warehouse space when construction is completed.
Kevin Hagen, senior vice-president and general manager at Fluke, said the company needed more clean-storage space for its products and the port is the perfect place for the additional warehouse.
“The need for first-class warehouse space is growing and we couldn’t be happier to partner with the Hamilton Port Authority (HPA) on this exciting venture,” he said. “This allow us the opportunity to expand our business with our current customers, offering Hamilton as a full transportation and warehouse distribution centre solution.”
The expansion will be 560 feet long by 100 feet wide. The building columns will be pile-supported and the interior height will be 25 feet with no centre columns. There will be more than 10,000 square feet of office space inside the building.
Hagen said the project is good for both the company and the community as it will create jobs.
“As we continue to grow our footprint here in Hamilton, the expansion will require the need for more warehouse employees as well as drivers as product needs to be shipped in and out of our facility.”
HPA president and CEO Ian Hamilton said he’s pleased that Fluke chose the port for an expansion.
“When it comes to expanding warehousing capacity at the port, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Fluke,” he said. “Fluke’s leadership team shares our vision for a modern, multi-service transportation hub. This is one of the first steps in transforming the Westport area of the port, delivering on our commitment to attract new investment, jobs and economic activity to Hamilton.”
The expansion is one element in the HPA’s $35.5-million Westport Modernization Project to upgrade infrastructure and reconfigure the port lands to be used more efficiently and create employment.
Westport is a 115-acre area located west of the Port of Hamilton. It is among the oldest industrial employment areas in the city. Piers 10-15 were assembled piece by piece over many decades and the result is a collection of uses that are not optimized, with insufficient modal connections. The port has had challenges in recent years of not having enough development-ready parcels of land.
The port is receiving $17.7 million in federal government funding from the National Trade Corridor Fund (NTCF) which will be matched by the HPA.
New transportation infrastructure is part of the plan to improve efficiency and fluidity for port users. Roadways and utilities are to be improved and upgrades are being made to the rail network. Landscaping will also be added to perimeter areas to improve the interface between the port and city.
Fluke’s new warehouse expansion is one of the early outcomes of the project and the HPA hopes it is one of more investments to come over the next two years.
The new expansion is currently in the engineering stage. Construction is expected to start in December and be completed by July 2020.
The engineering design work was awarded to Atkinson Engineering. The company is currently working on the design details and tender documents that will later be issued for a construction contract.
The cost of the project is not available.
Emily Graham, communications and community relations coordinator for the HPA, said the expansion will provide storage, distribution and value-added warehousing services for a wide variety of food products and consumer goods.
“There is a high demand for this kind of warehousing in the region, and in support of Hamilton’s growing agri-food sector,” she said.
Graham said the building will be insulated and the space will be heated with unit heaters hung from columns to keep the space at a minimum of 10 C during the winter.
The expansion will have 12 loading docks and a new reception office for the drivers.
Fluke said in a statement that smart, flexible distribution is increasingly important in the consumer goods market and the facility will strengthen the firm’s ability to service a growing customer base.
The new facility will feature advanced climate-control for products, providing capacity for the region’s $1-billion food sector, and allow Fluke to expand its portfolio of customers who require such warehousing.
The expanded warehouse is being designed with the environment in mind and the use of natural light will reduce energy use, the company says, and contribute to a brighter, more pleasant work environment.
Fluke, which was established in 1920, is a transportation, warehousing and distribution specialist that provides freight movement and warehousing services. The company offers logistic solutions by providing entre transportation and warehouse chain functions.
The Port of Hamilton is the largest marine port in Ontario, receiving 600 vessel visits per year, both North American and international. The cargo that transits the Port of Hamilton is valued at $3.3 billion and is connected to $6 billion in economic activity and 38,000 jobs in Ontario.
More than 130 companies have together invested more than $350 million in new facilities in the port within the past decade.