Vancouver port dispute with container terminal tenant over capacity expansion

Vancouver port dispute with container terminal tenant over capacity expansion

By R. Bruce Striegler

Volumes of containers handled at the port of Vancouver’s terminals have grown substantially through past decades, increasing at an average rate of ten percent annually since 1995. Projections of growth up to the year 2040 are now predicted at about 8.0 million TEUs (or 20-foot-equivalent units), and to give some perspective, in 2018 Vancouver handled 3.4 million TEU’s. The port is deeply engaged in capacity expansion, either directly or in cooperation with private terminal operators, and it points to projects already approved or somewhere in the approval pipeline, designed to reduce the potential capacity jams. Capacity improvements are at the heart of an unpleasant row which has developed between the Port Authority and one of its larger tenants, GCT Terminals Canada. (more…)

Ports Asset Transfer Program reduces number of Transport Canada-administrated marine facilities

By R. Bruce Striegler

As we reported in a June 2015 issue of Canadian Sailings, the mission of the federal government’s Ports Asset Transfer Program (PATP) was to expedite the transfer of Transport Canada-administrated port facilities across the country to other federal departments, provincial governments, First Nations and local communities as well as individuals or private corporations. This national collection of marine facilities has been accumulated by Transport Canada over the decades, and includes ports, docks, breakwaters as well as upland and submerged real property. Federal ownership of some of these properties goes back to the time of Confederation. (more…)

B.C.’s Carbon Engineering Ltd positioned to commercialize technology that creates clean fuel from air, and attracts world-class investors

B.C.’s Carbon Engineering Ltd positioned to commercialize technology that creates clean fuel from air, and attracts world-class investors

By R. Bruce Striegler

The reports continue to mount, outlining what scientists around the world define as the dire, life-threatening effects of climate change. But in Canada, the federal government is engaged in a political battle with several provinces who fear the costs of the national plan are detrimental to their economic interests and are reluctant to join the national effort to reduce GHG, opting, they say, for more local, provincial plans. Fortunately, there are significant organizations in Canada who believe that reducing GHG (and the federally-proposed carbon tax) is not only good science, but good economics as well. From its Squamish, B.C. facility, Carbon Engineering Ltd. is conducting some of the most advanced research in clean energy anywhere in the world. Over the past nine years, the company has moved forward with studies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, in a closed loop, where the only major inputs are water and energy, and the results are a stream of pure compressed CO2. (more…)

Electra Meccanica making its mark in the North American electric car market

By R. Bruce Striegler

According to Jerry Kroll, CEO of Vancouver-based Electra Meccania, it all began in Italy in 1959, where Frank Reisner built custom sports cars. In 1975 the company relocated to California where it built replica cars, such as the Porsche 356 Speedster and Checker taxis. In 1982, the company moved to Vancouver, and in 2012, Kroll and the son of Frank Reisner began work on what would become the company’s first electric vehicle. In 2017, nearly 200,000 electric cars were sold in the U.S., representing less than two per cent of the total 17 million vehicles sold over a year. In Canada, that market has risen from 5,300 vehicles in 2014 to over 34,000 in 2018. The acceptance of electric vehicles has been expanding rapidly due to government subsidies, their increased range and lower battery costs, and environmental sensitivity. However, the stock of plug-in electric cars represented just about one out of every 250 motor vehicles on the world’s roads by December 2018. (more…)

Vancouver terminal expansion happening against a backdrop of increasing land shortage

Vancouver terminal expansion happening against a backdrop of increasing land shortage

By R. Bruce Striegler

Vancouver is the third-largest container port in North America and the 47th-largest in the world. It accounted for 42 per cent of the cargo handled by all Canadian ports in 2017, generating revenues of $250 million and handling $100 billion worth of container cargo each year which is expected to triple by 2030. However, there is rising concern within real estate circles and the marine shipping industry: the region does not have enough industrial land with access to both rail and water. Existing terminals have been keeping up with the capacity demands, but if growth continues at the existing pace, and without additional container terminal capacity, the fear is that B.C. ports will lose their competitive edge with more global shipping lines diverting imports and exports through competing American West Coast, Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard ports. Port of Vancouver estimates that the additional cost to Canadian importers and exporters to move goods through the U.S. would be $80 million annually, starting in 2030. In the first half of 2018, the Port hit record container volumes of 1.64 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) – a five per cent increase in volume over 2017, with export traffic up by 6.6 per cent, and imports up by 3.7 per cent.

(more…)

Surging oil-by-rail brings provincially owned oil trains as a “stop-gap” – until more pipeline capacity is built

By R. Bruce Striegler

Canada’s oil industry has been facing record-low prices for its exports, a glaring lack of insufficient pipeline capacity to bring its product to market, and an uncertain long-term outlook. None of these factors, however, are stopping Alberta oil producers from increasing production, and relying more heavily than ever on rail to move the product. According to Statistics Canada, the volume of oil on Canada’s railroads has soared by 64.6 per cent in just the past year. And in the past seven years, the number of rail cars carrying oil across Canada has quadrupled. As one pipeline project after another fails to launch, the industry is relying more heavily on rail than ever to ship its oil. (more…)