Mandated to facilitate Canada’s trade objectives, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is continuing to build on a successful legacy of collaborative infrastructure funding. With its long-term strategy in mind, the port authority works collaboratively with government and industry to fund and deliver trade-enabling infrastructure projects to position the Vancouver gateway for the future.
Between 2009 and 2025, more than $17 billion will be invested in transportation and terminal infrastructure in the Vancouver region, more than double that of the recent Panama Canal upgrades. Working closely with industry and government, approximately $7.5 billion has already been invested to-date in port infrastructure to support port activities, a strong signal indicating confidence in the continued growth in Canadian trade.
The Gateway Transportation Collaboration Forum (GTCF), established in summer 2014, is a collaborative effort to ensure the Vancouver gateway is ready to manage growing trade. It consists of Transport Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the port authority, TransLink and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council. Its responsibility is to understand stakeholder interests and issues, collaborate on advancing priority infrastructure projects, evaluate and prioritize projects, and identify and pursue viable funding sources.
‘Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030’ is the GTCF’s strategy for smart infrastructure investment to remove bottlenecks impeding the growth of trade, while addressing the community impacts of goods movement and population growth. Nearly 40 transportation projects were identified as part of the strategy, and the port authority submitted nine funding applications, encompassing 17 of the 40 projects, to Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund in late 2017. In May and June 2018, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced federal funding commitments of more than $200 million for ‘Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030’ projects. These projects will benefit significant investment in critical road and rail projects that will improve the movement of goods and support Canada’s growing Trans-Pacific trade.
Confidence in the long-term viability of the Vancouver gateway continues to foster investment in terminal infrastructure, bolstering efforts to meet growing demand in key sectors.
For instance, with regard to the container sector, the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, a proposed 2.4 million TEU container terminal, is currently undergoing a federal environmental review. Pending approval, construction is expected to be complete by the mid-2020s. Additionally, the port authority has approved the permit application for the Centerm Expansion Project and South Shore Access Project. Centerm is an existing container terminal at the Port of Vancouver operated by DP World Vancouver on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. The proposed projects would increase peak handling capacity by approximately two-thirds, from 900,000 TEUs to 1.5 million TEUs. Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2019.
In partnership with Tsawwassen First Nation and the Canada Border Services Agency, the Tsawwassen Container Examination Facility will be a new facility for the inspection of shipping containers imported through Deltaport. This will drive both security and efficiency while meeting anticipated growth. The facility is expected to be complete by early fall 2018, and operational by the end of 2018. An operator for the facility was announced in July 2018.
Global demand for Canadian agricultural products continues to foster significant private investment into bulk terminal facilities throughout the gateway, including the creation of G3 Terminal Vancouver, a new $550 million bulk grain terminal. The first new grain terminal at the Port of Vancouver since the 1960s, G3 terminal will have an estimated annual throughput of eight million MT and completion is expected by 2020.
K+S Potash Canada and Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT) recently commissioned the opening of a state-of-the-art potash handling and storage facility at PCT’s Port Moody terminal in 2017. Work included modifications to PCT’s existing facility as well as the construction of a new potash storage building on the site, a 263 metre-long storage warehouse with capacity for 160,000 tonnes of product.
Welcoming hundreds of thousands of passengers each season, Vancouver is a very popular destination for cruise travel, which continues to be an important and growing sector at the port. In 2017, Vancouver welcomed 842,928 passengers during 237 vessel calls. Another strong year is expected in 2018 with more than 900,000 passengers set to arrive in Canada Place during a total of 243 calls. A number of initiatives have been implemented to improve the passenger flow and overall guest experience at the Canada Place cruise terminal. These include an enhanced wayfinding and signage program, the reconfiguration of terminal space to expand passenger processing areas, and a redesigned ground transportation area that enables better vehicle and pedestrian flows. Additional space will continue to be leased from the nearby Convention Centre during the cruise season to increase passenger embarkation space. In addition, gangways, camels and fendering systems will be upgraded for every berth in the next two years.
As Canada’s most diversified port, the Port of Vancouver continues to attract investment, driven by consistent growth in demand for Canadian exports, as well as imports from Asia. The resulting new and proposed facilities and upgrades suggest growing confidence in the Vancouver gateway as a critical contributor to the Canadian economy in the years ahead.