Robin Silvester, President and CEO, Port Vancouver

Robin Silvester, President and CEO, Port Vancouver

Canada’s international trade is growing, which has a direct impact on regions like Metro Vancouver, home of Canada’s largest port. About $1 in every $3 of Canada’s imports and exports in goods beyond North America goes through the Port of Vancouver. A significant portion of these goods travel in shipping containers.

Canada’s west coast ports, including the port of Vancouver and the port of Prince Rupert, have experienced substantial growth in container shipping trade. Canadian importers and exporters of all sizes, from auto manufacturers in Ontario to blueberry farmers in British Columbia, rely on these ports to help sustain their businesses and support growth opportunities.

The resulting challenge from all this growth for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority becomes how to manage that growth in our densely populated urban area, respecting the impact on local communities of more rail and truck traffic, and protecting the environment while enabling necessary project development.

Upgrades to Canada’s largest container terminal, Deltaport, and other terminals to increase their efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint, are underway and complete. Roadways have been improved, including key container trucking routes, to address increased traffic.

However, even with all those upgrades to existing terminals, as well as the work underway to handle more containers at Canada’s other major West Coast port in Prince Rupert, independent expert forecasts show it won’t be enough to manage Canada’s future trade demand.

After several years of early planning and mor than six years of environmental research and engineering study, we have determined that the best place to locate a new container terminal is just northwest of the existing terminals at Roberts Bank in Delta, British Columbia. The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is currently undergoing a review by an independent panel appointed by the federal minister of environment and climate change. This important process will ensure community, Aboriginal, and scientific interests are carefully considered and addressed.

The panel will challenge the environmental science, assess if, after mitigation, the project is likely to have a significant environmental effect and provide recommendations to the minister.

If approved, the new terminal will be built in time to ensure Canada is able to meet trade plans and objectives through to the mid- to late-2030s.

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