[Watch] Vancouver to Build New Container Terminal

Published May 5, 2015 7:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

Port Metro Vancouver has submitted an Environmental Impact Statement for a new container terminal at Roberts Bank in Delta, B.C. on Canada’s west coast.

Forecasts show demand for goods shipped in containers is growing, and it is expected container terminals on B.C.’s coast will be at capacity by the early 2020s. The new Roberts Bank Terminal 2, along with expansion of the Port of Prince Rupert and other container terminals in Vancouver, will provide much needed space for this growth, says the port.

“The region is running out of room to manage growing Canadian trade with Asia,” said Robin Silvester, President and Chief Executive Officer of Port Metro Vancouver. “The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project will ensure demand can be met while providing important economic benefits to B.C. and Canada. We look forward to the upcoming review of our environmental assessment by an independent panel.”

Project Consultation

The Environmental Impact Statement documents four years of extensive scientific study and consultation with regulators, Aboriginal groups, local government and the public to assess the potential environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects of the terminal’s construction and operation. The conclusion of the assessment is the effects of the project, following the implementation of mitigation, are not expected to significantly affect the environment. 

The Environmental Impact Statement will now become the subject of a federal environmental assessment, including a review by an independent review panel. This is the most stringent such process in Canada, and will include multiple opportunities for public comment.

Boosting Capacity 
The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project would provide 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container capacity to meet forecasted growth in Canadian export and import trade.

The project includes three main components:

•    The development of land and construction of a deep-sea marine terminal adjacent to the existing Roberts Bank terminals
•    Widening of the existing Roberts Bank causeway to accommodate road and rail infrastructure and
•    Expansion of the existing Roberts Bank tug basin to accommodate the existing and an additional tug boat contractor.

Subject to environmental permits and approvals and a final investment decision, construction could begin in 2018 and would take approximately five-and-a-half years to complete. The project would be funded entirely by Port Metro Vancouver and the private sector, so would not require any tax dollars. The construction phase will create 12,700 person-years of employment, and its operation would support approximately 12,400 full-time jobs on an ongoing basis. 

Canada’s Largest Port

Port Metro Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the fourth largest tonnage port in North America, responsible for Canada’s trade with more than 160 world economies. Enabling the trade of approximately $187 billion in goods annually, the port generates an estimated 100,000 jobs, $6.1 billion in wages, and $9.7 billion in GDP across Canada. 

Statistics released for 2014 year-end indicate the port’s second consecutive year of record-breaking cargo volumes. The year was marked by best-ever volumes in the bulk and container sectors, resulting in a record overall year in tonnage. The port’s terminals handled 140 million tons of cargo in 2014, up three per cent from 2013. Import cargo rose 4.1 per cent to 29 million tons, and exports rose 3.3 per cent to 111 million tons. 

Container volumes continued to grow, with a 3.1 per cent increase over 2013, despite reduced volumes in the month of March due to a container trucking disruption.