What happens if port can’t find company to operate Terminal 2?

Editor:

Re: Oil terminal instead coming to Delta’s Roberts Bank?, June 22

article continues below

The Port of Vancouver’s recently announced decision to build the man-made island for its proposed Terminal 2 container project prior to selecting a terminal operator makes no sense.

Cliff Stewart's response to the article misses answering the key question. Having built the island - the size of 150 football fields - what if no terminal operator is prepared to make a viable bid to operate it?

Setting aside for the moment the massive environmental degradation from this project, the whole viability of Roberts Bank Terminal 2 from a business perspective will only be confirmed when a commercial entity submits a satisfactory proposal to operate it. What happens if there are no bids, or the bids are deficient? 

Will the federal government be expected to bail out the Port of Vancouver, as it did the TMX pipeline? 

The environmental assessment by the federal panel was for a container terminal. Without a confirmed operator to run the terminal there is no project. The port’s decision to build the man-made island before finding a terminal operator negates the environmental assessment. 

The transportation industry has known for over a year that DP World, the commercial entity operating the Centerm Terminal in Vancouver and the Fairview Terminal in Prince Rupert, plans to add another container terminal on South Kaien Island, which will give Prince Rupert a combined capacity of over four million containers per year. Two sailing days closer to Asia and with a faster/easier rail route across the Rockies, the DP World Prince Rupert development negates the need for Roberts Bank Terminal 2. 

The shipping companies know that, the shipping agencies know that, the importers know that. When is the Port of Vancouver going to wake up to the reality that Terminal 2 is never going to be needed to satisfy Canada’s trading needs and will never be a viable business?

Roger Emsley

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