I recently read that a “a key Metro Vancouver mining firm has officially thrown its support behind the controversial Roberts Bank Terminal 2 container facility expansion project,” only to uncover after several Google searches that the mining firm in question is not yet operating any mines, nor is it a likely customer of Robert’s Bank. Strange.
This junior mining exploration company does have a potential project, but it is located about 100 km north of Montreal, Quebec. If I may offer its CEO (and Surrey Board of Trade member), Mr. Gill, some free supply chain advice: It is unlikely to make economic or environmental sense to send the graphite (should you end up finding any) all the way from Quebec to ship it through the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA). There are many closer and more cost-effective alternatives available closer to your project. In particular, the Port of Montreal might be the first place for you to look.
In fact, I would strongly encourage a closer look at it. There you will find something you will not see with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project — smart planning and collaboration. Port of Montreal’s Contrecoeur project is a great example how adding container capacity to a port should be done. There, the Port Authority worked with existing terminal operators, developed a business case, identified gaps, collaborated with the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and obtained necessary support and community alignment to advance a successful project. Well done.
Here, on the other hand, we have the VFPA with its now dozen-year-old project concept still stuck in approvals, environmentally unsound, lacking funding, lacking a terminal operator, and lacking customers - unless we count on prospective shipments of graphite from Quebec?
Fortunately, there are other and better ways to add container terminal capacity on Canada’s West Coast than the VFPA’s project.
For example, GCT Global Container Terminals Deltaport Berth 4 project adds capacity incrementally as it is needed, is environmentally conscious, and is fully funded by private investment.
If you still decide you should be sending your graphite across the country (not a good idea for your bottom line or the planet), we’ll be glad to ship it for you, Mr. Gill, at less cost to you, taxpayers and the environment than the VFPA alternative.
Vice President, Public Affairs
GCT Global Container Terminals Inc.
This Letter to Editor written by Marko Dekovic was originally submitted to Business in Vancouver (BIV.com) on January 18, 2021.