Project conveys the word ‘big’

Ramsay Machine Works Ltd. of Sidney is part of $20 million contract for Neptune Bulk Terminals

Ramsay Machine Works in Sidney is building a gigantic coal conveyor for Neptune Bulk Terminals in Vancouver. Once complete

Ramsay Machine Works in Sidney is building a gigantic coal conveyor for Neptune Bulk Terminals in Vancouver. Once complete

Just what is that tall, green mechanical-looking thing on wheels in Sidney’s industrial park near the airport?

Workers for Ramsay Machine Works Ltd. say they are asked that by passers-by many times each day. They say it’s natural, considering how big the thing is now — and even more so when they complete the job.

The manufacturing company’s operations manager Hans Baart says it’s a ship-loading, coal conveyor being built for Neptune Bulk Terminals in Vancouver. It will scoop up coal at the terminal and a conveyor belt will run it out to ships that will transport it to market.

The job is part of a $20 million contract between Neptune, EMS-Tech of Bellville, Ontario and Sidney-based Ramsay Machine Works. The bulk terminal itself is making more than $60 million in upgrades between now and 2015.

As the ship loader takes shape, Baart said it will be the length of two football fields and weight approximately 1,200 tonnes. He added it will be transported across the Victoria airport, put onto barges in three pieces and shipped across the Strait of Georgia to its final destination. Work is expected to be complete in 2013.

The project, according to a media release, was expected to add to the Ramsay Machine Works workforce by 20 to 25 people.

Baart said it’s Ramsay’s first time building such a device, although he added they have built ship and barge loaders before.