It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the operator of the Deltaport container facility at Roberts Bank is not pleased about the federal government’s announcement Thursday that the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s (VFPA) proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) project has been given the green light.
Global Container Terminals (GCT), which will not be the operator of the new three-berth terminal and has been advocating its own alternative expansion proposal, Deltaport Fourth Berth (DP4), said in a statement Friday that the approval comes despite significant opposition to the project and concerns from Environment and Climate Change Canada, labour, community groups and many others.
This $3.5 billion-plus taxpayer-funded container terminal expansion project will build a massive artificial island in the ecologically sensitive Salish Sea, GCT notes, adding RBT2 has an unprecedented 370 legally- binding conditions and an additional $195 million in subsidies.
“RBT2 will be the world's most expensive container terminal expansion project. It has no terminal operator in place, and it creates environmental impacts that Environment and Climate Change Canada concluded are unmitigable and ‘permanent, irreversible, and continuous.’ RBT2, as proposed, will not improve Canada's trading competitiveness, export capacity nor solve the supply chain issues experienced over the past two years or in the future,” GCT says.
“As a leading maritime employer, government decisions impacting the waterfront are important to us and our workforce. GCT will take the next few days to review the decision and conditions in detail. GCT’s commitment to our employees, workforce, neighbours, and the communities in which we operate is to advance what we believe is the best solution for Canada's trading needs and the competitiveness of our business,” GCT adds.
“Our prime focus remains to deliver leading service to our ocean carrier customers and collaborating with our supply chain partners to enhance the effective operation of Canada's Pacific Gateway.”
A federal court ruling last July dismissed GCT allegations of bias against the port regarding the DP4 application.
In 2019, GCT filed an application for a judicial review, challenging the port authority's decision-making in relation to its long-term planning for delivering container capacity. The port authority has countered RBT2 will not be funded by tax dollars.