Fraser Surrey Docks expanding to handle more bulk products

A big grain terminal is coming to Fraser Surrey Docks, while a new potash export facility might not be far behind.

Fraser Grain Terminal has received a project permit from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to construct a four million tonne per year grain terminal where an existing 500,000 tonne per year grain terminal is located. Grain is to be delivered by rail with approximately 309 trains per year using the CN main line.

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The majority of grain would be loaded onto ocean-going bulk carrier vessels, while approximately 600,000 tonnes would be loaded into containers and placed onto container ships or trucked to other container terminals such as Deltaport in South Delta.

The largest ships will be Panamax-sized carriers which are already accommodated at Fraser Surrey Docks. It’s estimated there will be 62 ships per year.

A recent report to Delta council notes the permit is subject to 64 conditions. Construction commenced in late 2018 and will take approximately 24 months to complete.

An application by BHP Billiton, meanwhile, for an eight million tonne per year potash terminal has been accepted by the port authority and that project is now under review. The facility would use an existing berth and a portion of the existing container yard.

The project would see 10 trains of potash delivered per week from a mine in Saskatchewan. The product would be loaded onto Kamsarmax-sized ships, which are longer than the average Panamax vessel.

Meanwhile, despite attempts by opponents to block it, a highly contentious plan to build a $15-million coal terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks, which had been approved by the port authority in 2014, was given the green light by the Federal Court of Canada last year. That project will see up to four million metric tonnes of American thermal coal per year sent by rail to the facility, with potential to expand that to eight million tonnes per year. The coal will be shipped to Texada Island and loaded onto barges.

The City of Delta notes the construction is dependent upon market conditions related to the export of thermal coal.

According to Delta, the combined operation of the coal facility, the grain terminal and the potash terminal would be 16 million tonnes per year of bulk products being exported from Fraser Surrey Docks. Delta staff note review process did not specifically include cumulative effects.

The staff report also lists other concerns including the city being “very concerned about emergency access to the site and other industrial areas around Fraser Surrey Docks. This issue was created with the construction of Highway 17 and has yet to be resolved.”

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