News & Resources

Event recap: Let’s talk RBT2 with Duncan Wilson

September 11, 2020 11:51 pm


On July 30, we invited the local community and all those who were interested to join us for an overview of the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project.

During the presentation, Duncan Wilson, vice president, environment, community and government affairs at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, provided information on how port development at Roberts Bank has evolved, why we are proposing a new container terminal, what the federal independent review panel’s environmental assessment report says and how we are addressing the review panel’s feedback.

Because we ran out of time, we weren’t able to answer all of the questions that were raised throughout the presentation. We’ve grouped these questions into themes and answered them below.

Thank you to all those who were able to attend the event!

Container capacity forecasts, exports and imports

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is leading the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, a proposed container terminal in Delta, B.C. that is needed to ensure Canada is able to meet its trade objectives through to the late 2030s.

Independent, expert third-party forecasts show that Canadian ports on the West Coast are expected to run out of container capacity by the mid-late 2020’s. The findings of these forecasts conclude that container traffic to and from the west coast of Canada is expected to grow significantly, well into the future.

If approved, the terminal will provide 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container capacity per year. Containers are an important part of the Canadian economy and carry a wide range of goods. For example, containers coming to Canada carry items such as clothing, electronics, food, auto parts, manufacturing parts, furniture and household goods. Containers leaving Canada destined for overseas markets such as Asia, are loaded with a range of goods including, pulp, lumber, crops such as lentils and legumes, grain, fruits and specialty items like craft beer.

We anticipate the distribution of the additional capacity between import and export containers would be roughly 50/50. This means more opportunities for businesses to increase their export volumes, and the continuance of reasonably priced goods for consumers as a result of the additional imports not having to be rerouted through the USA.

Based on our container traffic and capacity forecasts, the entire capacity of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is needed to ensure Canada is able to meet trade plans and objectives through to the mid-to-late 2030s. Visit our container traffic forecasts page to learn more.

Project procurement, jobs and cost

The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project will be funded by the port authority and private investment, not tax dollars. Once the terminal is in operation, costs will be recovered through the lease payments made by the terminal operator and port authority revenues. We anticipate the project will cost more than $2 billion.

Construction of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project will create nearly 13,000 person years of employment and approximately $1 billion in wages. It will add $1.3 billion to the nation’s GDP and $300 million in tax revenues spread across all three levels of government. When the terminal is operational, the project would continue to provide $810 million in wages, $1.2 billion in GDP, and $205 million in tax revenue each year.

As part of the procurement process for the project, we will first select a design-build contractor to build the new landmass and marine structures needed for the project. The design-build contractor is a construction company responsible for both the design and construction phases of the project. Approximately three years prior to the anticipated start of terminal operations, the terminal operator will be selected to build, equip and operate the new terminal through a terminal concession procurement.

Engagement with design-build contractors is ongoing and we anticipate that we will release the RFQ in mid-2021. The timing of the RFQ release will be dependent on a variety of factors such as the timing of a government decision and other environmental and regulatory permitting.

Visit our procurement and project benefits pages to learn more.

Indigenous consultation

We commenced project-related consultation with Indigenous groups in 2011, and have consulted with 46 Indigenous groups as directed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (now known as Impact Assessment Agency of Canada). We engaged as early as possible in the project planning process with Indigenous groups who may be affected by the project or that have potential or established Aboriginal and treaty rights and related interests in the project area.

Consultation with Indigenous groups has continued throughout the federal review and permitting of the project and, should the project proceed, will continue into construction and operation. Topics of consultation have included environmental effects of the project, marine shipping associated with the project, proposed mitigation, environmental management plans, and the follow-up program. Opportunities for employment, training and participation in the procurement process, as well as ongoing environmental monitoring, have also been discussed with Indigenous groups.

Wherever possible, we have integrated Indigenous knowledge throughout all phases of project development, including project design, mitigation measures, environmental management plans, and follow-up program elements. We also have a number of mutual benefit agreements with Indigenous groups who have expressed their support or consent for the project, and we are in negotiations with several others. We are committed to ongoing dialogue, knowledge sharing, and receiving input and look forward to working with Indigenous groups on implementing project conditions if the project is approved.

Visit our consultation and engagement page to learn more.

Environment and mitigation measures

As the federal agency responsible for the stewardship of the Port of Vancouver, our mandate at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is to enable Canada’s trade objectives while protecting the environment and considering local communities. Our vision is for the Port of Vancouver to be the world’s most sustainable port.

In developing the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, we researched many possible locations for the new terminal. We settled on the proposed location because it will have the least impact on the environment and local communities while allowing us to meet future container trade demand. The new terminal would be located in deep, subtidal waters, away from sensitive intertidal habitats that support biofilm, shorebirds, juvenile salmon and other important marine species.

Building on decades of available environmental studies of Roberts Bank, we began an environmental study program in 2011 that has included over 77 individual studies resulting in over 35,000 hours of fieldwork by over 100 professional scientists. The project entered an environmental assessment process in 2013 and, in 2016, an independent review panel was appointed by the minister of environment and climate change to lead the federal assessment. The independent review panel submitted its Federal Review Panel Report in March 2020 to the minister who is now reviewing the recommendations in order to develop draft conditions. We are looking to provide the minister of environment and climate change the information needed in order to make a decision on the project by summer 2021.

As part of the environmental assessment process, we committed to 82 project commitments to protect the environment should the project proceed. These commitments include measures to avoid and reduce effects during construction and operation of the terminal, as well as offset potential effects through building additional habitat or working with Indigenous groups and other key stakeholders on regional programs. We continue to support and lead a number of initiatives to reduce environmental effects associated with marine shipping, including initiatives that will inform effective management and recovery of southern resident killer whales. We look forward to working with Indigenous groups and regulators on refining our proposed mitigation measures and follow-up programs, and implementing project conditions if the project is approved.

For more information about our ongoing environmental work and the environmental assessment, please visit our environment page.

Join us for our next presentation

Join us online for our next community presentation on how RBT2 would be constructed. You’ll learn:

  • Why Roberts Bank is the proposed location
  • How new landmass in deep water would be created
  • What needs to occur before construction begins
  • How long construction would take
  • What measures would be taken to minimize construction-related impacts


Kevin Karaloff

Manager, infrastructure delivery

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Click here to register

NOTE: This is a community presentation. If you’re interested in procurement for RBT2, we invite you to sign up for the procurement newsletter for updates and procurement specific events.

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