News & Resources

Updated container ship call study for Roberts Bank Terminal 2

February 8, 2022 4:31 pm

As part of the 2020 information request made by the minister of environment and climate change, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority was asked to confirm projections for container ship traffic, as well as the composition of older and newer ships that would be expected to arrive at the terminal, should the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project be approved.

In response, the port authority asked Mercator International to update their 2018 study, which involved reviewing recent developments in the marine shipping industry and updating their projections of the number, size, and age of container ships anticipated to call at the Port of Vancouver to 2045. To develop the 2021 report, Mercator analyzed two main scenarios: one scenario where the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is built and one where it is not.

Mercator also conducted additional analysis, such as forecasting container ship calls within the Pacific Northwest region to better understand how emerging industry trends would affect future vessel traffic at the Port of Vancouver. They also looked at different scenarios affecting container ship traffic within the Port of Vancouver from 2030 to 2045 to forecast a potential range of ship numbers and associated ship sizes.

Results of 2021 updated container ship call study

Mercator provided the following key findings and conclusions about the container ship industry, future ship traffic numbers, and corresponding ship sizes:

  • The total number of container ships forecasted to call at the Port of Vancouver will be the same with or without Roberts Bank Terminal 2. This is because ocean carriers will meet increased demand, if the project is built, by using larger ships on average in existing services instead of adding new ships to services.
  • Currently, approximately six container ships per week call at Roberts Bank (Deltaport Terminal). In a most-realistic scenario for 2045, seven container ships are projected to call each week at Roberts Bank (includes Deltaport and Roberts Bank Terminal 2).
  • If Roberts Bank Terminal 2 is not built, the lack of sufficient container capacity is expected to result in an increase in costs to consumers and businesses, delays in the movement of cargo, and disruptions to foreign market access that are critical to small and medium-sized Canadian businesses

Caption: While the number of ship calls to the Port of Vancouver will be the same if the project proceeds, the size of ships, on average, will slightly increase. The amount of cargo loaded and unloaded in Vancouver will also increase.

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