Re: No time to be wrong, Murphy’s Law, June 27
Thank you for your thoughtful opinion piece concerning the second container terminal at Roberts Bank. Much of what you say is right on the money, but I would like to take issue with two points.
In your opening you say Terminal 2 is the only one that would be ready on time. If you are talking about West Coast Canada, that is not correct. Prince Rupert’s container terminal, operated by DP World, is in the midst of an already approved expansion that will be complete by 2022.
And there is more. Prince Rupert and its operator recently announced it will expand its container capacity to between six and seven million containers (TEUs). It also said that it expects to build a second terminal on South Kaien Island that will add another 2.5 million containers and that if the traffic warrants that can be ready by 2025.
All that will be done with private/corporate funds, unlike the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 that would be built with government - read taxpayer - funds (since the port authority is a government entity and all assets and revenues are Canada's).
Later you also suggest there is a coming container capacity crunch on the West Coast and T2 is the only one that can address that shortage. That is incorrect on two counts. First with announced expansions at three Vancouver terminals plus the aforementioned Prince Rupert expansion, West Coast Canada is not facing a capacity crunch.
Second, most, if not all, of the recent expansion in container volumes is driven by U.S. import and export containers. The U.S. container traffic adds nothing to the Canadian economy and can easily be diverted to U.S. ports should the need arise. The Prince Rupert port operator has already stated that should there be a need it will divert U.S. containers so that Canadian trade is not impacted.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority keeps singing that same song but they are out of tune with reality.