Conversations That Matter: Trouble on the waterfront


The Port of Vancouver is one of the most complex ports in the world.

The port is federally controlled, it’s within the province of British Columbia and there are 16 different cities or municipalities and several Coast Salish First Nations lands that are home to shipping facilities. There are so many elements within Metro Vancouver that intersect with municipalities that play host to the port that it’s hard to know where city boundaries end and the port’s jurisdiction begins.

The economic impact of the Port is substantial. More than 115,000 people are directly or indirectly reliant on the Port for their paycheque which totals more than $7 billion annually in wages.

Among the port administrations responsibilities are infrastructure development and real estate management.

Which brings use to the topic of our Conversation today.

The Port works with enormous companies — out of our view — but now our guest, the president and CEO of Global Container Terminals, said taxpayers deserve to know how the administrators of the port do business.

Doron Grossman alleges they are about to make a land use and terminal decision that is a conflict of interest. He says the port wants to bump his company off the bidding list to expand Deltaport to double its current capacity by 2030.

The Port of Vancouver counters that there are both competitive and environmental concerns with the GCT proposal. The authority’s preference is to bring in a third terminal operator because GCT already dominates container traffic.

We invited Grosman to join us for a Conversation That Matters about where to draw the line when an authority with too much power determines it can do as it pleases.

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you.

This article by Stu McNish originally appeared in the Vancouver Sun on June 14, 2019.