The Vancouver gateway offers sustained investment in terminal capacity, transportation infrastructure and reliability initiatives, that together, result in greater supply chain consistency and transparency. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is working with customers and supply chain partners to enable terminal capacity to support future trade demand, build transportation infrastructure such as rail and road projects and develop supply chain visibility tools to enhance optimization and planning.

Terminal facilities

Major terminal initiatives continue to advance across the port authority’s business sectors.

In the container sector, the port authority is working with its customers and supply chain partners to grow the port’s container terminal capacity.

Steady progress is being made to expand the existing Centerm container terminal, operated by DP World Vancouver, located on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. The project will increase container handling capacity by approximately two-thirds, from 900,000 TEUs to 1.5 million TEUs, through terminal reconfiguration and expansion, as well as supporting road and rail improvements along the south shore. This will result in an increase of container handling capacity by 60 per cent, requiring only a 15 per cent increase of the terminal’s physical footprint. Construction began in July 2019 and is expected to be complete in 2022.

Current highlights include ongoing construction related to the north intermodal yard reconfiguration. Construction in this area will be completed shortly and handed over to the terminal operator before construction can progress to the next phase of reconfiguration. Additionally, the exterior of the new container operations facility is substantially complete. Inside the facility, work is underway to complete the mechanical and electrical systems, while the terminal operator has started the office fit-out.

The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is a proposed 2.4 million TEU container terminal led by the port authority. A federal environmental assessment by an independent review panel is complete and an environmental assessment report to the minister of environment and climate change Canada was submitted in early-2020. In August 2020, the minister requested the port authority provide additional information on the project. The port authority expects to provide the information this summer. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will then host a public comment period and information request response, and then the federal government is expected to make their decision.

Pending approval from the federal government, receipt of other regulatory approvals and permits, market conditions and a final investment decision, construction would take approximately six years, making the much needed container capacity available by the early-2030s.

A number of major developments are also underway, or have been completed, in the bulk and breakbulk sectors.

Fraser Grain Terminal Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Parrish and Heimbecker Ltd., is nearing completion of its grain export facility adjacent to DP World Fraser Surrey. The new facility, with an annual terminal capacity of up to four MMT, will be used to ship bulk grain products including wheat, barley, oil seeds, pulses and other specialty crops. Work commenced at the project site in December 2018 with a target for completion in autumn 2021.

Work continues on Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd.’s $330 million in upgrades to its North Vancouver terminal facilities, which will increase annual throughput and improve coal handling operations. The equipment upgrades include a new coal train dumper building, a series of new conveyors, a replaced stacker-reclaimer and a replaced shiploader. Improvements also include upgrades to its water dust suppression system. Portions of the project are now complete and tonnage is moving through the terminal, with some components still in the completion process.

Progress is continuing on the Westridge Marine Terminal Upgrade and Expansion Project, a component of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which is led by terminal operator Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC. The project will allow the facility to handle an increased volume of various petroleum products. Construction began in 2019, and is scheduled to take approximately three and a half years to complete.

G3 terminal, a new $550 million bulk grain terminal, was completed in 2020 and is now operational. The first new grain terminal at the Port of Vancouver in decades, G3 terminal has an estimated annual throughput of eight million metric tonnes (MMT).

Viterra Pacific Elevators is undertaking several improvements to its grain handling facility, including upgrades to its terminal dust filters and fans systems, as well as works to increase emergency access to the facility.

In July, Westshore Terminals announced an agreement with Australia-based BHP Billiton mining company to provide port services to the proposed Jansen Potash Mine in Saskatchewan.  With necessary infrastructure upgrades in place, the terminal will handle potash for a term to 2051, subject to extension. BHP plans to begin shipping potash through Westshore in 2027 and expects to ship 4.35 MMT of potash through the terminal annually.

Trade-enabling infrastructure

Along with industry and government partners across the Lower Mainland, the port authority continues leading the development of more than $1 billion of infrastructure projects that will further strengthen its competitiveness.

The South Shore Access Project is a series of road improvements located in Vancouver, along the south shore of the Burrard Inlet, that will support increased traffic to Centerm container terminal once the Centerm Expansion Project is complete, and support movement of goods to other existing terminals in the same area. Construction is ongoing and completion is expected by 2022. A key milestone for one of the main components of the project was reached in July with the opening of the Centennial Road Overpass.

For the Commissioner Street Road and Rail Improvements Project, located in Vancouver and Burnaby, the port authority is undertaking a roadwork project to improve port truck movements and traffic flows, improve access to terminal facilities for commercial traffic, enable safe and efficient access to port lands for employees and service providers and provide land for rail track expansion. The project received funding in 2019 from the federal government, the port authority and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), and completion of all project components is expected by early-2024. The demolition of the obsolete grain elevator and construction of the retaining wall construction at Columbia Containers site was recently completed. CP has completed three out of four phases for the planned rail works near Cascadia terminal.

The Burnaby Rail Corridor Improvements Project is a series of upgrades to the rail network supporting the Port of Vancouver. These improvements will allow for more fluid rail movement to terminals in North Vancouver, and will improve safety and community access by creating more reliable travel times and better emergency response options. Major components include building a new overpass over the rail corridor for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Canadian National Railway (CN) will lead the upgrades to the Thornton Tunnel ventilation system and new siding track to help increase the movement of trains through the area. CN has completed the siding track construction, which is now in service, and the Thornton Tunnel ventilation upgrades are scheduled to be complete by end of summer 2021. Technical analysis, design development, and public and stakeholder engagement for the Holdom Overpass is currently underway, and construction could begin as early as 2022.

Located along the North Shore of the Burrard Inlet is the Mountain Highway Underpass Project. The project will allow for increased import and export capacity and trade opportunities at Lynnterm Terminal, improve productivity and efficiency of the terminal and enhance competitiveness at the port. The first component of this project, the Dominion Street realignment, concluded in 2019. Another component includes lowering the northbound road profile of Mountain Highway by approximately one metre to provide additional clearance for oversized project cargo to pass under an existing CN railway structure. Construction to deepen the underpass began mid-March 2021 with substantial completion of the project anticipated in 2021.

Supply Chain Visibility and Transparency

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Transport Canada, the Prince Rupert Port Authority and other Pacific Gateway partners continue to collaborate on the West Coast Supply Chain Visibility Program to develop an insight driven gateway.

The West Coast Supply Chain Visibility Program is a multi-phase, multi-year program that will develop and implement a series of operational planning and optimization tools tailored to participating industry members. These tools will support actions to increase capacity and operating efficiencies across the supply chain. Using business and technology insights, this program will create a comprehensive system of record for data related to goods movement and provide insights to unlock the full economic potential of the Pacific Gateway. This work is supported by funding received from Transport Canada in 2019 through the National Trade Corridors Fund.

By the end of 2022, the program aims to provide visibility into the movement of 95 per cent of all cargo through the West Coast. Current priorities include collaborating with stakeholders to build requirements for targeted reporting, collecting data from industry partners and developing data infrastructure. Additional work on broadening data sets, integrating economic modelling and forecasting into the system and leveraging findings to inform national standards will also be the focus for 2021-2022.