More than inland port required

Editor:

Re: Inland ports to spare farmland, Murphy's Law, July 18, and Inland port idea would be way for PMV to stop lip service and actually listen to community, letter to the editor, July 25

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Ted Murphy's column and Roger Emsley's letter require some clarification about the role of Port Metro Vancouver and the recent calls for an inland port in Ashcroft.

Most important is the fact that Port Metro Vancouver is not against the creation of inland ports. Any new infrastructure to handle future container traffic through the Pacific Gateway is welcome, whether it is in Ashcroft, Prince Rupert or elsewhere.

The reality is that these developments are still not enough to fully manage the anticipated doubling of container traffic through the Canadian west coast over the next 10 to 15 years.

To handle this projected growth, Port Metro Vancouver has proposed a new terminal at Roberts Bank. Subject to environmental approvals, the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 would provide 2.4 million TEUs of container capacity.

The economic benefits of this project are considerable, as it would support the tens of thousands of logistics-related jobs already in existence, as well as generate over 9,000 additional direct jobs, worth $440 million in wages; and create total economic output of approximately $3.1 billion, while contributing $1.66 billion to the annual Canadian GDP.

The success of inland ports will depend on whether shippers and rail companies believe them to be viable supply chain alternatives, and other trans-load facilities and supporting business are willing to locate in the vicinity. Port Metro Vancouver is not a part of those decisions. However, to suggest inland ports are environmentally superior options ignores the impact of increased truck traffic on our roadways and corresponding emissions, among other issues.

And with respect to protecting farmland, we support a rational and broad based dialogue with stakeholders to find a collective solution to the looming industrial land shortage. A comprehensive strategy is needed for industrial land and planning not just for the port, but for the entire metro region in order to accommodate the additional million people expected to live here.

Peter Xotta

Vice President, Planning and Operations Port Metro Vancouver

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