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Economy depends on port expansion

Trade is vital to the economy in Metro Vancouver and all across Canada. Port Metro Vancouver proudly supports 80,000 jobs in Metro Vancouver and more than 129,500 jobs across Canada.

Trade is vital to the economy in Metro Vancouver and all across Canada. Port Metro Vancouver proudly supports 80,000 jobs in Metro Vancouver and more than 129,500 jobs across Canada.

The container ships arriving at port terminals in Burrard Inlet, Roberts Bank and through the Fraser River carry goods that families count on, including food, clothing and shoes, health and medical products, electronics and car parts. More often than not, those same containers are re-loaded for their journey back to Asia with high-quality and high-demand Canadian exports like agricultural and forest products.

Forecast container traffic for the West Coast of Canada is expected to double within the next 15 years and nearly triple by 2030. From coast to coast, Canadians rely on one another to enable a safe, efficient and reliable supply chain: our economy in motion. Canadian businesses rely on this supply chain to get their commodities and products to markets around the world.

We understand that it is important to our neighbouring communities that the port grows in the most sustainable and responsible way possible. We are committed to maximizing efficiency within our current footprint, and that is why the Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Improvement Project was our top priority - increasing capacity within the port's existing footprint.

We've also worked hard to meet the container traffic demand by making improvements at our existing terminals at Vanterm and Centerm in Burrard Inlet in 2005, and by building Deltaport's third berth in 2010. Additionally, the Port of Prince Rupert has plans that, if approved, will expand the Fairview Terminal to provide two million TEUs (20-foot containers) of container capacity by 2020.

Even with all the work that has been done to increase capacity for shipping containers along the West Coast and the work

that is now underway, the Canadian economy, Canadian consumers, and Canadian importers and exporters will need more.

That is why we are proposing the Roberts Bank

Terminal 2 project, a new multi-berth container terminal at Roberts Bank in Delta that could, if approved, be up and running by 2024. That would be just in time

based on current growth forecasts.

Roberts Bank is an established trade corridor. With nine new road/rail separation projects worth more than $300 million underway along the corridor, the rail and truck traffic impacts of a busy port will be significantly reduced. Together with a replacement for the George Massey Tunnel, and the completion of the South Fraser Perimeter Road, Roberts Bank is well positioned to accommodate future growth in trade activity.

We recognize that people have real concerns about this project. Roberts Bank is an important area for

birds, fish, marine mammals, wildlife and their habitats. The community in Delta has expressed concerns about more trucks on the road and about agricultural land.

I want you to know that

we're committed to doing this project in a responsible way that balances the needs of our environment, the community and our economy.

To help strike this balance, we have begun work on a comprehensive new strategy to increase efficiency, reliability and safety and to mitigate the impacts of truck traffic on city streets with initiatives like our GPS pilot program, reduced wait times at terminals and more night gate access.

Our container truck strategy sets forward a three-year action plan that could reduce the total impact of container trucks on the road by up to 50 per cent.

In addition, since 2008 we continue to explore, support and expand short-sea-shipping options where a business case exists. We have explored five projects, including the newly announced DP World venture between Vancouver and Nanaimo.

The proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project will undergo a thorough provincial and federal environmental assessment, which we expect will include a joint panel review, the most rigorous form of environmental assessment.

It will be a long and thorough process, including extensive consultation and engagement.

We want to have a meaningful and ongoing conversation about how we plan to deliver this project and what it means for the environment and your community. We anticipate 18,200 ongoing full-time jobs will be created, in addition to the 4,500 jobs totaling over $1 billion in wages to be created during the six-year construction phase.

Please take the opportunity to participate in our multi-year, multi-round consultation process. Port Metro Vancouver's project engagement team will be in your community holding stakeholder meetings and open houses this month, and we want to hear from you. Please visit: for more information on how you can have your say.

Robin Silvester is the president and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver.