GCT seeks 'fair process' for Deltaport expansion


The operator of the container port at Roberts Bank continues to lobby for its alternative to the Port of Vancouver’s proposed Terminal 2 mega project.

The federal government is considering an independent review panel’s final report on the port’s application to build a new three-berth terminal on a man-made island adjacent to the existing Deltaport, but Global Container Terminals is hoping its proposal to instead build fourth berth at the existing facility will be looked upon more favourably.

GCT Canada says it continues to advance the Deltaport Berth 4 expansion project through the regulatory process with the federal and provincial regulatory agencies, and is actively seeking input and feedback on the project, the company notes, adding it will file its Initial Project Description submission with the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office in the coming weeks.

GCT also notes it continues advocating for a fair and transparent process but remains concerned how the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will participate in the regulatory process, considering they have already demonstrated bias.

“That is why our judicial review process launched last year continues. In March of this year, we had another favorable ruling from a judge affirming that VFPA bias is a live issue and that full judicial review shall proceed despite VFPA objections,” GCT states.

“We still want the same thing, something most Canadians would want – a fair process and a chance to compete. We believe our project is better for Delta, for B.C., and it should receive appropriate consideration. It is not right that a biased government agency should be granted the authority to block other projects to advance their flawed one.”

GCT also notes it is waiting the outcomes of the Port Modernization Review and, in particular, the review of port authorities’ governance. 

“We hope the report will create clarity and an environment where Marine Terminal Operators feel that the Port of Vancouver is a ‘safe harbour’ for investment and that the agency will not be able to pick winners and losers and penalize successful private sector partners.

“We also take issue with a Federal agency spending extensively (tv, social media, newspapers, well-connected lobbyists, hosting receptions, etc.) with public monies earned from terminal operator rents to lobby the Federal government (their own shareholder) in some cases against the very tenants.”

GCT also notes that given the current COVID-19 fiscal pressures on government and communities, a government agency advocating for a megaproject terminal expansion as a stimulus project isn’t the best use of public monies, especially when there’s viable privately funded alternatives in both Delta and Prince Rupert.  

GCT has been publically highly critical of the port authority throughout the T2 process, saying the port authority's business case is weak and the procurement process to find a terminal operator has failed to produce results twice, while it’s also been determined T2 would have significant adverse environmental effects.

The port authority contends DP4 would not be in a suitable location and that T2 would be best suited for port expansion to meet growing demand for container capacity.

Cabinet is expected to issue its ruling on T2 by the end of November.

This article about GCT seeks a fair process for Deltaport expansion by Sandor Gyarmati originally appeared in the Delta Optimist on June 11, 2020. 

Watch: Canadian taxpayer dollars are ballooning with the Port of Vancouver's megaproject