Debunking more false claims by the Port of Vancouver

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The Port of Vancouver launched a new web page for its Roberts Bank Terminal 2 megaproject: robertsbankterminal2.com/rbt2equals  

Like most of the public statements and materials the Port has put out over the past decade, its project web page also misleads the Government and Canadians.

Below, GCT Global Container Terminals has corrected the record.


Port of Vancouver Web Page
FACTS

Building Roberts Bank Terminal 2 = urgently needed supply chain support

Container terminals on Canada’s west coast will run out of space by 2025, creating even more congestion for strained supply chains. Canada urgently needs the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project to provide timely capacity for rapidly growing trade needs. This proposed marine container terminal in Delta, B.C. at the Port of Vancouver is led by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, a federal agency dedicated to supporting Canada’s trade objectives for the benefit of all Canadians.

THAT IS NOT TRUE.

Roberts Bank Terminal 2 is NOT urgently needed for supply chain support.

Canada’s West Coast container terminal capacity has NOT been a factor in recent supply chain problems.

Container terminals on Canada’s West Coast will NOT run out of space by 2025.

New capacity will be needed in the mid-2030s, at the earliest, and more likely not until closer to 2040.

In fact, the Port of Vancouver’s own published data shows lower volumes in several key areas including laden container cargo, container cargo by tonnage and container vessel calls.

The Port also fails to recognize there are two planned, privately-funded projects to increase West Coast container terminal capacity incrementally as it is needed with less impact on the environment and without costing taxpayers $3.5 billion.

For more than a decade, the Port of Vancouver has been misleading the Government and Canadians with poor forecasting, inaccurate information and inflating cost projections.


Port of Vancouver Web Page
FACTS

Canada can’t wait for new capacity

Canada’s west coast ports will run out of space to handle container traffic as early as 2025. When this happens, already strained supply chains will become even more congested due to local truck and train backups, vessel scheduling challenges, and cargo redirection and delays.

Without the ability to move goods efficiently and reliably through Canada’s west coast ports, Canadian businesses will have no choice but to rely on U.S. ports. This means:

  • Canadian importers and exporters would be forced to pay increased transportation costs and would be exposed to the risk of U.S.-imposed duties and tariffs or other restrictions on cargo
  • Higher transportation costs passed on to Canadian consumers and producers due to redirection of cargo, impacting affordability and Canada’s trade competitiveness
  • More truck traffic on local roads, resulting in increased emissions in our communities
  • Lost jobs and economic benefits, which would have otherwise occurred by handling Canadian trade in Canada

THAT IS NOT TRUE.

Container terminals on Canada’s West Coast will NOT run out of space to handle container traffic by 2025. There is over 1.2M TEU of new container capacity coming on stream on Canada’s West Coast in the next three years, in addition to 4M TEU of capacity being proposed by the private sector in Prince Rupert and Vancouver ports by existing container terminals for early 2030’s.

Recent supply chain challenges are not caused by West Coast container terminal capacity. These challenges have been a result of the pandemic as well as natural disasters (fires and floods). Increasing container terminal capacity does not address these issues. Investments in off-terminal infrastructure is what is needed to provide supply chain resiliency from future climate change impacts. 

The Port of Vancouver’s proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion project will be the most expensive container terminal construction project in history. This means the required Port Authority rates will make the Vancouver gateway uncompetitive. This is what will drive shippers to other ports, not a lack of capacity at Canada’s West Coast ports. 

~35% of all cargo traffic at Canada’s West Coast ports is already USA-destined.  It is misleading to suggest that Canadian importers and exporters will be displaced and routed through USA without RBT2.


Port of Vancouver Web Page
FACTS

Ready to deliver critical supply chain capacity

We have proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2—a marine container terminal in Delta, B.C.—to deliver critical supply chain capacity and resilience on Canada’s west coast.

The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project has been in development for over a decade. In 2013, we embarked on a robust environmental assessment process with a review by a federally-appointed independent review panel. Supported by Canada’s major business organizations, Roberts Bank Terminal 2 is now six to eight years ahead of any other proposed project in the environmental assessment process and could be ready in time to support Canada’s growing trade and help keep the supply chains moving.

THAT IS NOT TRUE.

Roberts Bank Terminal 2 will NOT deliver critical supply chain capacity. When the next natural disaster or event impacts road or rail connections, RBT2 would also be cut off like the rest.

In 2010, the Port of Vancouver forecasted that “container throughput on the West Coast would double in the next 10 years”. But container throughput did NOT double. In fact, the Port’s forecast was short by about 1 million containers.test

What does “supported by Canada’s major business organizations” mean? Which organizations? The Port has twice failed to obtain a terminal operator due to lack of interest from business. Where’s the transparency here?

Environment and Climate Change Canada characterizes the impacts of the Port of Vancouver's Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project as "permanent, irreversible, and, continuous." Studies show that Roberts Bank Terminal 2 will impact several protected species, including the Southern Resident Killer Whale and their major food source – Chinook Salmon.


Port of Vancouver Web Page
FACTS

Designed to protect and enhance the environment

We have designed the project in a way that will protect the environment, in line with our federal mandate and our vision for the Port of Vancouver to be the world’s most sustainable port. Our approach has been shaped by extensive environmental studies, consultation with Indigenous groups, and engagement with government, stakeholders, and the public. For example, based on federal agency advice, we are proposing to build the terminal in deep, subtidal waters, far from residential communities and sensitive intertidal habitats that support biofilm, shorebirds, juvenile salmon, and other important species.

THAT IS NOT TRUE.

The Port of Vancouver wants to build an artificial island the size of 150 football fields (164 hectares) in the ecologically-sensitive Fraser River Estuary.

RBT2 is being challenged by local communities, environmental and Indigenous groups. Their concerns relate to migratory shorebirds, crab and fish habitat, and impacts on biofilm, and orca populations.


Port of Vancouver Web Page
FACTS

Built for Canadians with no risk to taxpayers

As a Canada Port Authority, our federal mandate is to enable Canada’s trade objectives. That includes planning and building infrastructure in and around the Port of Vancouver, while protecting the environment and considering local communities. As we work in the interest of all Canadians, we are in the best position to plan for port development.

Roberts Bank Terminal 2 will be funded by the port authority and private investment, not tax dollars. This is in line with other major port authority-led marine container terminal projects at the Port of Vancouver, such as DP World’s Centerm Expansion Project in Vancouver and GCT’s Deltaport Third Berth Project in Delta.

THAT IS NOT TRUE.

It is NOT in the Port of Vancouver’s mandate to build infrastructure. This is particularly true when the private sector is ready and able to do so.

According to the Canada Marine Act, a Port Authority is to “implement marine policies that provide Canada with the marine infrastructure that it needs and that offer effective support for the achievement of national, regional and local social and economic objectives and will promote and safeguard Canada’s competitiveness and trade objectives.” Nowhere does it say a Port Authority is to build infrastructure, nor squeeze out private investment for infrastructure.

Canadian Port Authorities, including the Port of Vancouver, are accountable to the federal Minister of Transport and manage federal lands and waters given to them in support of national trade objectives for the benefit of all Canadians. To suggest that Port of Vancouver revenues do not belong to Canadians is laughable.


Port of Vancouver Web Page
FACTS

Creating benefits for all

The project holds tremendous generational opportunity for Canada. If approved, it would create tens of thousands of well-paying supply-chain jobs, generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually in tax revenues during operation, and increase Canadian GDP to a degree that few projects can.

We have also signed 20 mutual benefit agreements with Indigenous groups to ensure that benefits of the project are shared, and have received over 100 expressions of support from organizations across the country.

THAT IS NOT TRUE.

The Port of Vancouver’s proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion project will be the most expensive container terminal construction project in history. This means the required port rates will make the Port of Vancouver uncompetitive and will drive shippers to U.S. ports, which will cause a loss of jobs and economic benefits for Canada and indigenous communities, among other risks.

The Port of Vancouver needs to explain how it will pay for these agreements with Indigenous communities. Will it use taxpayer dollars? Since it does not have a private sector partner or operator, it may mean that all port users and taxpayers will be paying for these agreements.


Port of Vancouver Web Page
FACTS

Spotlight: how containers connect Canada to the global economy

Canada’s container terminals connect small and large businesses across the country to international markets. Canadians rely on items imported in containers like household goods and construction materials, while Canadian goods exported in containers include specialty crops and wood pulp.

Container trade through Canada’s west coast has been growing at an average of 5% per year for the last decade, in line with the high case of forecasted growth. In 2021, shipping container quantities moved through the Port of Vancouver reached a record 3.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), an increase of 6% compared to the previous year.

With continued growth, west coast container terminals are expected to run out of capacity by the mid-to-late 2020s.

THAT IS NOT TRUE.

For more than a decade, the Port of Vancouver has been misleading the Government and Canadians with poor forecasting, inaccurate information and inflating cost projections.

Port of Vancouver is quoting the “West Coast” number including the rapid growth of Prince Rupert port to inflate their argument. The average container growth rate in Port of Vancouver for the past decade was 2.7%.

In 2010, the Port of Vancouver forecast that “container throughput on the West Coast would double in the next 10 years”. But container throughput did not double. In fact, the Port’s forecast was short by about 1 million containers.

Over a decade later, the Port of Vancouver’s own published data shows lower volumes in several key areas including laden container cargo, container cargo by tonnage and container vessel calls.

Container terminals on Canada’s West Coast will NOT run out of space by the mid 2020s.

New capacity will be needed in the mid 2030s, at the earliest, and more likely not until closer to 2040.

The Port also fails to recognize there are two planned, privately-funded projects to expand West Coast container terminal capacity incrementally as it is needed with less impact on the environment and without costing taxpayers $3.5 billion.


It is time to consider the facts, the data, the science, and the economy. It is time for the Government of Canada to #RejectRBT2 and choose to build a #BetterDeltaport.


Email your Member of Parliament to help stop the Port of Vancouver’s harmful expansion project.


Learn more on our home page: betterdeltaport.ca

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