BY RICHARD GILBBERT - A proposal by Port Metro Vancouver to construct a new three-berth marine container terminal at Roberts Bank in Delta, B.C. has been referred to an independent review panel by federal regulators.
Minister of the environment Leona Aglukkaq recently made the decision because the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project has the potential for significant adverse environmental effects, as well as concerns from the public and Aboriginal groups about these effects.
The proposed project consists of a new three-berth marine container terminal located at Roberts Bank, about 35 kilometres south of Vancouver.
It will be located next to the existing Deltaport Terminal and Westshore Terminals.
Preliminary engineering designs have been confirmed to be technically feasible to accommodate transfer of containers between ships and terminal, and to the road and rail network.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, which does business as Port Metro Vancouver, said the new terminal is needed to ensure the availability of adequate container capacity to meet projected demand to 2030.
The project will provide an additional 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container capacity per year.
The main components and sub-components of the project include: berth pocket; marine terminal; three-berth wharf; container storage yard; rail intermodal yard; tug basin expansion; causeway expansion; rail improvements; and road improvements.
The berth pocket is the dredged mooring basin adjacent to the terminal wharf structure, where the container ships will be berthed and moored to the wharf.
The berth pocket and the associated approach and departure angles will measure about 1,700 m long by 62 m wide.
The berth pocket will feature a depth of 18.4 m to meet safe under-ship clearance and performance requirements for the adjacent new wharf foundation.
It will have an approximate total useable area of 108 hectares.
The marine terminal will have a three-berth wharf that will allow berthing and mooring of vessels, support ship-to-shore gantry cranes, and provide vessel shore power and other amenities.
Following the construction of the terminal landmass, a container storage yard with electrically powered stacking cranes or similar equipment will be developed for transferring and storing containers received by ship, rail, or truck. A rail intermodal yard served by electrically powered rail-mounted gantry cranes, or similar equipment, will be required to transfer containers to and from railcars to mobile equipment.
Ancillary systems and support facilities will include a truck gate facility, site security systems, civil utility systems, and power and lighting infrastructure.
Expanded tug operations will be required to provide the additional capacity required for the project.
The existing tug basin, located in the inter-causeway, has a footprint of 1.4 hectares that will be expanded by about 2.5 hectares, for a total footprint of 3.9 hectares.
The existing causeway linking the rail network to the existing Roberts Bank terminals will be widened on the north side of the causeway, which requires an additional land area of about 42 ha for terminal construction and 1 ha of existing BC Rail land for the tie-in tracks to the existing rail network.
The preliminary capital cost estimate is more than $2 billion, but will be refined during the project’s final development and design.
Worley Parsons Canada estimated in 2012 that, during the six-year construction period, the following economic effects will be generated:
Construction employment estimated at 2,500 jobs over six years and an estimated $690 million in wages;
Indirect and induced employment estimated at 2,000 jobs over six years and an estimated at $450 million in wages; and
Direct, indirect, and induced employment totals at 4,500 jobs for six years, estimated at $1.14 billion in wages.
The construction phase will also result in about $4.1 billion of total economic output to the Canadian economy, and about $1.63 billion in resulting GDP, estimated at current price levels.
The construction period will also contribute the following to government revenues:
Federal taxes paid by construction employers and employees totaling about $145 million;
Provincial taxes paid by construction employers and employees totaling about $177 million; and
Municipal taxes paid by construction employers and employees totaling about $28 million.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency referred the proposed project for an environmental assessment by an independent review panel on Jan. 7, 2014.