Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 2 claims continue to mislead



In the Delta Optimist article of Sep. 5: Port Says Delta Expansion Necessary as Ever, the Port of Vancouver and its CEO continues to obfuscate and mislead when it comes to the claim that Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) is a critical generational project.  

It can only be considered generational in terms of its massive cost – likely to exceed $4 billion – making it the most expensive container terminal project anywhere in the world.

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. DP World along with its partner Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is planning to invest an additional US$ 4.5 billion, a good part of that on Canada’s West Coast.
  2. DP World’s Prince Rupert container facilities are adding capacity, including an announced terminal expansion on South Kaien Island that will add a further 2.4 million containers (TEU: Twenty Foot Equivalent Units), the same size as RBT2, as well as expanding their Lower Mainland terminals.
  3. DP World recently acquired Fraser surrey Docks and it has a container terminal capable of handling the smaller vessels that are common on the BC West coast.
  4. Taken together with Global Container Terminals expansion plans for its two terminals, West Coast Canada will have in excess of a 10 million container terminal capacity, more than double the current west coast container volumes (4.610 million)

It is therefore obvious that West Coast BC will have sufficient capacity for Canada’s trading needs for decades to come without ever building RBT2.

CEO Silvester would have us believe an 8 pct. decline in container volumes so far this year is not a problem. What he fails to mention is there was no growth between 2018 and 2019, in what was a robust economy. Also he does not mention that the Port of Vancouver’s ten-year compound annual growth rate for container traffic lingers at around a measly 3 pct.

Then there is the Port’s appallingly poor forecasting track record, missing every one of its recent forecasts and where their growth projections are more than one million containers short of their 2020 forecast.

With that track record you have to question the veracity of CEO Silvester’s statement that the rebound in growth will be robust. Show us the proof!

The City of Delta recently voted to oppose RBT2, citing severe environmental issues, plus negative impacts to residents from air, noise and light pollution as well as traffic chaos caused by port truck traffic. Delta is now writing to Prime Minister Trudeau to urge him and his government to deny approval for RBT2.

Surprisingly CEO Silvester makes no mention that RBT2’s host city is opposed to his terminal.

Some 30 environmental groups plus a good number of lower mainland residents all support Delta’s decision and are very concerned RBT2 will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. Importantly this is the position held by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s own scientists, supported by a number of internationally recognized experts in wetlands and wetland functions.

It is time to challenge the Port of Vancouver’s Board and get them to recognize the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 so-called generational project is not needed, not wanted, not economically sound and not sustainable.

It is time CEO Silvester recognized Roberts Bank Terminal 2 is not going to be built.

This article about Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 2 claims continue to mislead by Roger Emsley originally appeared in the Delta Optimist on September 14, 2020. 

Watch: Industry and environmental experts see problems with Port of Vancouver's Roberts Bank Terminal 2