Deltaport operator, Port Authority continue to feud

The operator of the three-berth Deltaport container terminal at Roberts Bank continues to lobby hard for its proposed alternative to the port authority’s Terminal 2 project.

Having taken out a front page ad in the Optimist last week, Global Container Terminals is saying, “There is a better way to add container capacity at Roberts Bank than the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s plan.”

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Terminal 2 is a proposed new three‐berth container terminal that would provide 2.4 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of additional container capacity annually.

The project is undergoing a federal environmental assessment by an independent review panel, which held a lengthy public hearing over the summer, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The panel is to make a recommendation whether to approve the project, which would be constructed on a man-made island adjacent to the existing Deltaport terminal.

Also having made a presentation to the review panel, GCT is pitching a fourth berth to the existing facility, saying Terminal 2 isn’t viable given changes in a number of market factors.

“It is GCT’s view that the long-term sustainability of our gateway is only achievable through careful terminal design that reflects a modern, innovative, and a more sustainable approach to planning and constructing such an expansion,” a submission by GCT stated.

The company outlined several areas of concern regarding the T2 project rationale, assessment and the port’s environmental impact statement.

The port authority had issued a request for bids from interested terminal operators to operate T2 but Global Container Terminals was left out.

However, the port authority notes it did not block the GCT from submitting a bid.

“Our role as a port authority is to ensure that we are providing capacity at a reasonable cost to users. This is echoed in the Canada Marine Act, which states that we are required to, among other things ‘…ensure that marine transportation services are organized to satisfy the needs of users and are available at a reasonable cost to the users’,” the port explained in a statement to the Optimist.

“To be clear, no one was excluded from the bidding process. However, to maintain a healthy and competitive market for users of the Port of Vancouver over the long-term, the port authority established a target that a single operator does not hold more than two-thirds of total capacity in the port. GCT was eligible to bid, provided they demonstrated how they would ensure their market share did not exceed 60 per cent. They chose not to bid.”

In response, a Global Containers spokesperson countered what is unclear is what VFPA defines as “a reasonable cost to the users.”

The company also notes it’s been suggested that elected officials of the governments of B.C. and Canada need to make decisions and not unelected officials of a port authority.

The review panel has closed the public record for the environmental assessment and is preparing the report that will be submitted to the minister of Environment and Climate Change.

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