November 29, 2014

Vancouver port approves coal transfer capability

Intermodal facility will shift coal from trains to barges

Port Metro Vancouver approved a new coal transfer facility at Fraser Surrey Docks on August 21. When completed, up to 4 million tonnes of coal per year will pass through the locale, which will join other existing coal transfer infrastructures in the area. These include the West Shore Coal terminal in Roberts Bank, and the Neptune terminal in North Vancouver.

According to John Parker-Jervis, a spokesperson for Port Metro Vancouver, the coal will come into Canada from the United States through Wyoming by train. Once it reaches Fraser Surrey Docks, it will be loaded onto barges and shipped to Texada Island. From there it will be transferred to ocean going liners to be shipped to Asian markets.

“One train a day will be coming into the facility,” says Parker-Jervis. “The coal will be then direct transferred, with no stockpiling permitted on site, and extra binding agents will be sprayed at the terminal before it is loaded onto the barge, in order to minimize dust.”

Port Metro Vancouver did not provide a timeline for construction of the facility. Part of the reason may relate to opposition that has built up against the project by groups such as Dogwood Initiative, which has been asking the port to get an air quality permit before proceeding. Port officials say they are looking into acquiring a permit, but regard this process as voluntary.

The $15 million project, which is expected to create 50 direct and indirect jobs, was subject to a two-year environmental and public impact review prior to approval and no risks were identified. – Peter Diekmeyer

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