Re: More than inland port required, letter to the editor, July 30
In his letter, Peter Xotta of Port Metro Vancouver claims a second container terminal, with three new berths, is necessary at Roberts Bank. He claims container traffic will double on the Canadian west coast in the next 10 to 15 years.
Even the lowest forecasts from Port Metro Vancouver are not being achieved. Mr. Xotta fails to mention that Vancouver container ports are operating at about 60 per cent overall and could increase capacity with planned expansions and efficiencies.
Furthermore, Prince Rupert Port is well positioned to handle growth in the container business and experts have advised the federal government to develop capacity at Prince Rupert, not Vancouver. A recent North American Port Analysis, December 2013, by Colliers International reports an "Up-and-Coming Port Award" to Prince Rupert on the basis of the direct Class One CN railroad connection to the Gulf of Mexico. This vital trade link is the only one between the northern Pacific coast and the Gulf.
Taxpayers have already forked over $8 billion for projects under the Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy, which has identified future projects requiring a further $25 billion investment - public and private - required to support unrealistic growth forecasts in the container business. Port Metro Vancouver continues to pursue the plan to use farmland. The port purchased a massive stretch of farmland in Richmond and is eying Delta farmland. Many don't realize that the port already has a 2004 business agreement to use farmland owned by the Tsawwassen First Nation for a container handling facility. This agreement and the availability of large industrial sites stretching from Tilbury to Surrey Docks and beyond, provide ample opportunities for the port. Terminal 2 at Roberts Bank is not needed. Let's save our farmland, our precious habitat and our tax dollars.