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.

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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…)

Oilsands veteran Neil Camarta discovers a way to take “dirty” out of dirty oil

Oilsands veteran Neil Camarta discovers a way to take “dirty” out of dirty oil

By R. Bruce Striegler

“I’m an engineer, and engineers build things”, says Alberta-born Neil Camarta, founder and Director of Enlighten Innovations Inc. One of the things Mr. Camarta has ‘built’ and which is currently occupying much of his time, is the development and commercialization of a new bitumen sulphur removal and upgrading technology called DSU, which can be used in upgrading Alberta bitumen. The proprietary technology is undergoing testing at a ten barrel per day, $30 million pilot plant in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta and has been operational since the end of 2015. Camarta says, “Our pilot plant has confirmed our technology and we are now building a demonstration facility to produce 2500 barrels of finished low sulphur marine fuel from heavy oil stocks. We expect our CLEANSEAS plant to be ready in 2020.” (more…)

Will LNG riches now come within Canada’s reach, as the global market continues to grow?

Will LNG riches now come within Canada’s reach, as the global market continues to grow?

By R. Bruce Striegler

It was only a few years ago when many in Canada thought a huge wave of global LNG activity would soon crash over the shores of British Columbia. From an original list of more than 15 proposed multi-billion dollar projects in the Province, only one remains a possibility today. The rich Asian market has been glutted since 2015, following a massive development program across the region which began in 2000. But a policy shift to favour consumption of natural gas in China this year and strong economic growth across Asia has pushed up demand. Several export projects in North America hope for Final Investment Decision (FID) this year, including LNG Canada, a $40 billion, 13 million-tonnes-a-year venture led by Royal Dutch Shell, with PetroChina, Korea Gas Corporation and Japan’s Mitsubishi as partners. The proposed liquefaction plant and marine terminal are planned for Kitimat, B.C. (more…)

Trump: “Tariffs are the greatest”; Canadians angered by U.S. President’s trade negotiating moves

Trump: “Tariffs are the greatest”; Canadians angered by U.S. President’s trade negotiating moves

By R. Bruce Striegler

“The Trump Administration is proceeding with unilateral measures to address what it has characterized as “unfair” trade, risking retaliation, but banking on a threat of massive escalation to extract a favourable outcome for itself,” says the C.D. Howe Institute. Released in June, a new report titled “Quantifying the Impacts of the U.S. Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Tariffs”, its authors find that protective trade measures imposed by the United States will reduce U.S. and Canadian GDP, while paradoxically strengthening trade partners outside the North American region through competitive gains. (more…)

Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo lands European auto manufacturer vehicle processing centre for Western Canada

By R. Bruce Striegler

At first glance, the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo may seem to be an unusual location for a yet un-named European auto manufacturer to establish a vehicle processing centre (VPC) for Western Canada. However, Ewan Moir, President and CEO of Nanaimo Port Authority, assures us that is exactly what is taking place. “Historically, the way European autos reach Western Canada is after unloading from ships at Eastern Canadian ports, they are shipped across the country by rail, then moved into holding yards and moved again by truck to the dealerships. Logistical challenges, delays, and costs coming across Canada opened people’s eyes to the need for change.” Moir mentions land prices in the Vancouver area as a further issue. “Dealerships were turning to the manufacturer and expressing concern about holding large inventories which were becoming an expensive proposition.” (more…)