For the past decade, the Port of Vancouver has continued to put out misleading information to the federal government, industry associations and Canadians. A recent example is this Financial Post article Vancouver port bottlenecks ease but cargo still stuck for days.
What’s not being communicated by the Port is that it repeatedly has failed to find a private sector terminal operator to support its project. The industry knows the real facts.
The following corrects misinformation provided in the Financial Post article.
More, however, can be done to alleviate the congestion at the Port of Vancouver, [Julia Kuzeljevich] said, as assets and infrastructure are not being upgraded. [Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association] CIFFA is working with the Port of Vancouver to promote the Robert Banks Terminal 2, but Kuzeljevich said that the project is bogged down in environmental approvals.
Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) will NOT provide urgently needed supply chain support. Earliest it could be operational is 2033 if it ever finds a terminal operator. That is 10 years from now!
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. Investment in off-terminal infrastructure is what is needed to provide supply chain resiliency from future climate change impacts.
The Port of Vancouver’s proposed RBT2 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.
The Port of Vancouver wants to build RBT2, 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, and environmental and Indigenous groups. Their concerns relate to migratory shorebirds, crab and fish habitat, and impacts on biofilm, and orca populations.
“It just takes too long to market new projects,” [Julia Kuzeljevich] said.
For over a decade, the Port of Vancouver, a landlord and regulator, has been obstructing consideration of any alternative project except its own flawed, government-funded RBT2 project. The Port continues to ignore there are already privately-funded solutions to increase container terminal capacity at Roberts Bank and on the West Coast of Canada.
Canadian institutional investors are assessing the market and are planning smart, appropriate investments in increased container terminal capacity to meet market demand at both GCT Deltaport, with the Deltaport Berth 4 (DP4) project, and in Prince Rupert DP World Fairview terminal.
If the Port of Vancouver is concerned with bringing on timely and competitive capacity, it needs to get behind GCT and its DP4 project. DP4 will be quickest to market due to its smaller footprint and thus shorter construction timeline, despite DP4 currently being further behind in the environmental assessment process.
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