Canada Approves Major Container Terminal Expansion Project in British Columbia

Photo courtesy Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

Canada Approves Major Container Terminal Expansion Project in British Columbia

Mike Schuler
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April 25, 2023

The Government of Canada has greenlit the CAD $2 billion Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, a significant container terminal expansion project in Delta, British Columbia.

The approval follows a thorough environmental assessment that began in 2013.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, which is leading the project, praised the decision, noting its importance for the country’s long-term trade growth and capacity needs, as west coast marine container terminals are projected to reach capacity by the mid- to late-2020s.

The expansion will involve constructing new land and a three-berth marine container terminal near existing terminals at Roberts Bank. It will ultimately increase the west coast container capacity by roughly one-third, adding 2.4 million TEUs of capacity.

Robin Silvester, President and CEO of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, emphasized the project’s crucial role in enhancing Canada’s supply chain.

“With this approval, we can advance one of Canada’s most important trade infrastructure projects to date, bolster our national supply-chain resilience, and deliver generational economic benefits for Canadians and Canadian businesses,” said Silvester,

The project is expected to offer significant economic advantages, including over 18,000 construction jobs, 17,300 ongoing jobs, an estimated $3 billion in annual GDP upon completion, and $631 million in tax revenue for Canadian services. The port authority will lead the project, continuing its history of developing sustainable infrastructure in the Lower Mainland.

Judy Rogers, port authority board chair, highlighted the project’s sustainability efforts and alignment with Indigenous priorities.

“Roberts Bank Terminal 2 has been designed in a way that ensures it aligns with our work toward our vision to make the Port of Vancouver the world’s most sustainable port, including protecting and enhancing the natural environment and reflecting Indigenous priorities,” said Rogers. “The port authority has collaborated with Indigenous groups on the project for more than a decade and now we look forward to working together to deliver economic, cultural and environmental opportunities and initiatives.”

The new marine terminal, funded by the port authority and private investment, will be situated in subtidal waters to minimize environmental impacts. As part of the project, the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 community investment program will allocate $6 million to Delta organizations and students.

Despite the approval, environmental groups such as Ecojustice, David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and Wilderness Committee have expressed concerns about the project’s potential negative environmental effects, including increased noise pollution, marine pollution, and threats to local species.

“Extensive independent review, based on scientific evidence, has shown that this megaport would result in irreversible harm to Chinook salmon and the Southern Resident killer whales that depend on them,” said Jeffery Young, Senior Science and Policy Analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation.

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