APE - Against Port Expansion in Delta, BC
Say NO to Roberts Bank Terminal 2
APE - Against Port Expansion in Delta, BC
Say NO to Roberts Bank Terminal 2
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Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary BC

APE (Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary BC) is a group of concerned citizens who recognize that plans for container terminal expansion on Roberts Bank (T2) will see the degradation of the quality of life for thousands of Lower Mainland residents; the industrialization of prime agricultural land; and the loss of globally-significant habitat for salmon, migrating birds and orca whales.

Forecasts demonstrate no need for T2

The Roberts Bank Container Terminal 2 Project in the Fraser Estuary is not needed

The Port of Vancouver proposes to build a 3-berth Container Terminal 2 on a man-made island at Roberts Bank, Delta, British Columbia.  The project requires dredging and filling in 445 acres of ecologically- important waterlot in the Fraser River estuary to add 2.4- million TEUs of container capacity.  (TEU = Twenty-foot container equivalent unit)

The project will do irreparable damage to the unique Roberts Bank ecosystem which supports Canada’s highest concentration of migratory birds, the world’s most famous salmon river, as well as endangered species such as southern resident killer whales, white sturgeon and eulachon.  These amazing assets are at risk of extinction.  Basically it is the remaining wetland habitats of the Fraser River estuary that need preserving, at least the 20 % fragment that is still intact.

Three main reasons why Container Terminal 2 should not be built: 

 1)  Growth in the Container business at Port of Vancouver, at least the Canadian-bound portion, has been flat now for several years, and is likely to stay that way for many years.

 2)  Past forecasts of said growth by the Port have been consistently over enthusiastic; actual container traffic since 2007 never reached even the lowest-case projected levels.    Therefore the business case for building another huge container terminal simply doesn’t hold water.

 3)   Roberts Bank is critical to the survival of huge numbers of migratory birds on the west coast of North America, i.e. it contains mudflats which are unique on the West Coast and cannot be replicated anywhere else in the area.   Some of this precious habitat has already been destroyed by previous developments (Tsawwassen ferry terminal and existing Deltaport).    Terminal 2 will destroy much of what is left.

 1)    Growth of Container trade

The Container trade is only important to Canada’s economy, if the said containers either contain Canadian goods, (exports), or are goods intended for the Canadian market, i.e. imports we need.    Containers coming from Asia to the USA, or the reverse, are of marginal economic benefit to Canada, and if they require additional terminals that contribute to the destruction of valuable ecosystems, such as Roberts Bank, are hardly worthy of our support.

It is revealing to separate out the Canadian container trade from the US trade.   Port of Vancouver has conveniently lumped the two together to bolster its overall numbers, in a futile effort to justify expansion at Roberts Bank.   In the past, the US trade was not all that significant to Canadian ports, but due to the recent labour disputes, it has (temporarily) assumed a much greater importance.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEUs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Canadian Traffic

  2,163,800

   2,344,400

  2,028,700

2,322,800

  2,288,000

  2,372,900

  2,399,075

  2,388,601

  2.290.851

USA Traffic

143,500

147,700

123,800

191,500

219,000

340,300

426,400

524,327

    763,616

Total Traffic

2,307,300

2,492,100

2,152,500

2,514,300

2,507,000

2,713,200

2,825,475

2,912,928

3,054,467

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US % Share

6.2%

5.9%

5.8%

7.6%

8.7%

12.5%

15.1%

18.0%

25.0%

                                                                                                                                                                (Estimate)

Sources: OSC 2014 Report, Table 8.1 (2007-2013 data)                                                          

PMV, CEO, Robin Silvester: “Port’s stats indicate solid growth”, Delta Optimist, Aug, 26, (2015 US share)

PMV: Statistics Overview 2015

Financial Post, August 18, 2015, K.Owram

http://business.financialpost.com/news/port-metro-vancouver-expects-to-retain-business-following-u-s-ports-labour-dispute

Financial Post, August 18, 2015: Port Metro Vancouver expects to retain business following U.S. ports labour dispute:

“For planning purposes, Port Metro Vancouver assumes that approximately 15 per cent of its container business is destined for the U.S., but that number is currently closer to 25 per cent and CEO, Robin Silvester suspects 20 per cent may be a more accurate assumption going forward.”

This graph also shows that Canadian-bound TEU at Port Vancouver have been essentially flat since 2007 with a small decrease in recent years.

Port_of_Vancouver_Containers_1_2016.jpg

The 2016 total container business through Vancouver has decreased 6.4% as of May, (y-on-y), probably reflecting recent loss of US trade. (US have reported sharply higher container trade this year).

http://www.portvancouver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Container-Statistics-–-Year-to-date-May-2016.pdf

2)    Past Forecasts not borne out by actual container statistics; distortion of existing container capacity

The Port of Vancouver consistently understates actual port capacity and overestimates forecast growth.  As we all know, the container business grew rapidly in the years when it was being established, so the port deliberately includes statistics from a long time ago, to inflate the current situation – stating:

“Since 2000, Port Metro Vancouver has seen container growth of 7.1 per cent per annum.”

Of course that’s true, but it’s also ancient history; the container trade matured about 8 years ago and the business has levelled off since then. 

Since 2007 the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) has only been 2.54 %, and even that modest increase is mostly due to this temporary US trade, which is now being retrieved by the US ports.    Stripping out this US trade, we see that the all-important Canadian trade is actually down slightly since 2007, (before the financial crisis 2008-2009 temporarily distorted all stats)

Compound Annual Growth Rate for Canadian trade since 2007 is now slightly negative at -0.35% as of 2015, hardly a case for building Terminal 2.

 Port of Vancouver Container Business

YEAR

Total TEUs

CAGR Total TEUs since 2007

USA Volumes

TEUS

% USA Volumes

CAGR USA TEUs since 2007

Canadian Volumes

TEUs

% Canadian Volumes

CAGR Canadian TEUs since 2007

Simple growth rate Canadian TEUs since 2007

2000

1,229,842

 

49,500

4.0

 

1,180,342

96.0

 

 

2001

1,197,142

 

49,200

4.1

 

1,147,942

95.9

 

 

2002

1,558,762

 

107,100

6.9

 

1,451,662

93.1

 

 

2003

1,791,568

 

101,100

5.6

 

1,690,468

94.4

 

 

2004

1,982,488

 

77,000

3.9

 

1,905,488

96.1

 

 

2005

2,140,223

 

65,000

3.0

 

2,075,223

97.0

 

 

2006

2,302,381

 

123,000

5.3

 

2,179,381

94.7

 

 

2007

2,498,691

 

143,500

5.7

 

2,355,191

94.3

 

 

2008

2,492,107

-0.26%

147,700

5.9

2.93%

2,344,407

94.1

-0.46%

-0.5%

2009

2,152,462

-7.19%

123,800

5.8

-7.12%

2,028,662

94.2

-7.19%

-13.9%

2010

2,514,309

0.21%

191,500

7.6

10.10%

2,322,809

92.4

-0.46%

-1.4%

2011

2,507,032

0.08%

219,000

8.7

11.15%

2,288,032

91.3

-0.72%

-2.9%

2012

2,713,160

1.66%

340,300

12.5

18.85%

2,372,860

87.5

0.15%

0.8%

2013

2,825,475

2.07%

426,400

15.1

19.90%

2,399,075

84.9

0.31%

1.9%

2014

2,912,928

2.22%

524,327

18.0

20.34%

2,388,601

82.0

0.20%

1.4%

2015

3,054,467

2.54%

763,616

25

23.24%

2,290,851

75.0

-0.35%

-2.7%

The Port of Vancouver states maximum container capacity at Canada’s West Coast ports (Vancouver and Prince Rupert), will be 6 million TEU by 2020, whereas documented information reveals capacity will actually be 8.2 million, even without the Roberts Bank Container Terminal 2. 

Canada’s West Coast Container Capacity by 2020

     

Terminal

TEU Capacity

Deltaport

3,000,000

Centerm

1,800,000

Vanterm

   850,000

Fraser Surrey Docks

   150,000

Port of Vancouver Total

5,800,000

 

 

Port of Prince Rupert

2,400,000

West Coast Total

8,200,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

The total 2015 container business for the Ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver was 3.8 million TEU. (Vancouver: 3 million TEU and Prince Rupert: 776,412 TEU)

By 2020, the combined ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert will have enough capacity to more than double the current B.C. container business without a second terminal at Roberts Bank.  This provides time for better planning and heeding the recommendations from a 2008 Transport Canada Advisor Report that recommends:

“…policy makers develop container capacity in Prince Rupert before making investments in Vancouver” and further that: “…a systematic approach be taken to achieve an understanding of port capacity before a conclusion is reached that a particular port must necessarily be physically larger.”

(Strategic Advisors Report, Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative Report and Recommendations, 2008; Burghardt, DeFehr and Turner)   http://www.apgci.gc.ca/StrategicAdvisorReport.html

3)    Critical value of Roberts Bank ecosystem

Roberts Bank has international significance of as a vital feeding area for:

-           migratory birds of the Pacific Flyway on their incredible journey from South America to the Arctic, and back again

-          more than two billion juvenile salmon coming down the Fraser River

-          endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) in Georgia Strait and beyond

The mudflats at Roberts Bank provide a unique feeding area for upwards of 600,000 migrating Western Sandpipers and 200,000 Dunlin, migrating over thousands of miles from the tropics to the Arctic every year.  These tiny shorebirds perform a miracle every year completing this exhausting long distance trip, that is one of the true spectacles of nature.

They rely on the rich nutrients found in biofilm in the mudflats at Roberts Bank.  The area is unparalleled on the West Coast due to the perfect mix of reduced salinity, nutrients from the Fraser River, low tides, and warmer spring temperature which provide the perfect conditions for tiny diatoms to produce omega-3 fatty acids just as the sandpipers migrate through this area. 

Without these mudflats, the whole migratory flock, including one of the most important Western Sandpiper flocks in the world, could never make it to the Arctic, and thus would cease to exist on the West Coast.    This would a tragedy.

References:  Sources of Information for container capacity at Vancouver and Prince Rupert

 a)      Deltaport Capacity: 3,000,000 TEU by 2020

 Projections of Vessel Calls and Movements at Deltaport and Westshore Terminals

Deltaport Terminal Road and Rail Improvement Project (DTRRIP), November 28, 2011

Pages 21; 22; 24; 26; 40; 41

http://www.robertsbankterminal2.com/wp-content/uploads/Projections-of-Vessel-Calls-and-Movements-at-Deltaport-and-Westshore-Terminals.pdf

Environmental Assessment Report, Deltaport Terminal Road and Rail Improvement Project; Hemmera; November, 2012, bottom of page 276 (Scrolled 299/450)

http://www.portvancouver.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/the-environmental-assessment-report.pdf

Deltaport: 2,100,000 TEU prior to Road and Rail Improvement Project

Transport Canada: Pacific Coast Container Terminal Competitiveness Study - TP 14837E, Hanam Canada Corporation; March 2008;  Page 36 (Scrolled 54/106)

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/policy/report-research-ack-tp14837e-menu-1671.htm

Terminal Systems Inc. Global Business; Local Interests; September 2007

b)      Centerm Capacity: 1,800,000 TEU by 2020

Container Capacity Improvement Program, Update November, 2014; page 3

http://www.robertsbankterminal2.com/wp-content/uploads/PMV-Container-Capacity-Improvement-Program-Update-November-2014.pdf

c)       Vanterm Capacity: 850,000 TEU by 2020

Global Containers Canada, Company Profile, Page 7/15

http://www.tocevents-americas.com/images/Presentations/Chris_Ng.pdf

d)      Fraser Surrey Docks Capacity: 150,000 TEU by 2020

Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project: Meeting Canada’s Trade Demand; Project Rationale; Page 21

http://www.robertsbankterminal2.com/wp-content/uploads/RBT2-Project-Rationale-March-2015.pdf

e)      Prince Rupert Port Authority Capacity: 2,400.000 TEU by 2020

Journal of Commerce; CMA CGM gain slots to Prince Rupert, capping busy year for port, Bill Mongelluzo, November 19, 2015

https://www.joc.com/port-news/international-ports/port-prince-rupert/cma-cgm-gains-slots-prince-rupert-capping-busy-year-port_20151119.html

 

 

 

Save the Fraser Delta from Mega Projects

The Fraser River and Estuary is one of the most important areas in the whole of North America for its environmental diversity. It is recognized globally for its biodiversity and for the millions of shorebirds and other wildlife that it supports.

You would expect that an area so environmentally significant would have the highest level of protection that a nation can bestow on it.

And you would be dead wrong.

Various mega projects involving port and industrial development put the Fraser at risk. In fact the Fraser River and Estuary are at a tipping point.

The Boundary Bay Conservation Committee has recently published a report – “Save the Fraser Delta from Mega Projects”. This landmark report explains in detail the projects that are being planned and the environmental risks that result. Read the Full report here:

Fraser_River_Estuary_and_Mega_Projects_April_22_2016_A.pdf

And then write to your MLA, your MP, the Prime Minister your Premier and other politicians and demand that they support an independent multi disciplinary science based study of each of these projects and their associated risks.  

Port of Vancouver to Get Its Powers Reduced

Finally a Liberal MP from the Federal Government is speaking out about the abuse of power at Port Vancouver. Read the Vancouver Sun article of April 15 2016:.

http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/peschisolido-port-of-vancouver-must-adjust-to-changed-government-in-ottawa

Thank you MP Joe Peschisolido (Steveston-East Richmond) for stating the concerns that many of us have held for a long time about the way Port Vancouver carries out its business. Yes the Port rides roughshod over community concerns.  This is all about an unaccountable, unresponsive federally appointed agency. This is all about an agency – i.e. Port Vancouver – that has massive powers and yet is answerable to nobody.  This is all about a Port that can ignore significant environmental issues and amazingly has the power to make decisions on all kinds of projects for which the Port stands to gain financially. This is not how any government agency should be operating.

It is refreshing to see a local MP state that the Port is going to have to change the way it operates and for its powers to be cut back. This is the REAL CHANGE that many of us voted for. This was one of the core issues in the removal of the previous government.

Now what we really need is for the Federal Government to put in place a multidisciplinary, independent, science-based study to properly assess all the industrial projects that are being proposed for the Lower Fraser River and Estuary. Top of mind is Port Vancouver’s unsustainable plans for a second container terminal on Roberts Bank. This has been labelled already as the most damaging of all the projects which Port Vancouver has got its fingers into.

"The twin signatures of this era have been the mass export of products across vast distances (relentlessly burning carbon all the way), and the import of a uniquely wasteful model of production, consumption, and agriculture to every corner of the world (also based on the profligate burning of fossil fuels). Put differently, the liberation of world markets, a process powered by the liberation of unprecedented amounts of fossil fuels from the earth, has dramatically sped up the same process that is liberating Arctic ice from existence.” 
― Naomi KleinThis Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

Biofilm Gums Up Plans for T2

An excellent article by Larry Pynn in the March 21 Vancouver Sun explains why Port Metro Vancouver’s plans for a second container terminal on Roberts Bank put that whole world class ecosystem at risk from environmental degradation.

 Read the full Vancouver Sun article here: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/tiny+algae+could+block+metro+vancouver+roberts+bank+container/11798022/story.html

In the printed version of this article there is also reference to Otto Langer’s  report and a copy of the map of the Lower Fraser River and its estuary outlining the planned developments – most threatening of which is T2 - that will create a threat to fish and wildlife populations and our quality of life in this region and for all Canadians.

On the Map below number 1 is Roberts Bank Terminal 2 and the threat level is highest at 10

Fraser_Estuary_Threats_(1024x924)_(640x578).jpg

 You can view the full report by Otto Langer by clicking here http://www.againstportexpansion.org/uploads/images/file_download/Threats_to_and_Corrective_Actions_for_the_Lower_Fraser_River_March_15_FINAL_2016_.pdf

As usual PMV was quick to downplay the potential impact of T2 but, unlike PMV’s own studies, this is independent science and therefore not influenced by the result that PMV wants so that it can prove that the environment is not at risk from the T2 project.  PMV also makes the ridiculous assertion that there will still be plenty of biofilm for the migratory birds, completely ignoring the fact – as independent research has shown - that what is important is a special combination of light, salinity, nutrient and temperature factors which create the conditions to enrich the biofilm and produce the fatty acids that the birds require. These factors will change as a result of T2 and put the Western Sandpiper migration at risk.

As has been said many times “listen to what the birds are telling us”.