B.C.’s ports benefit from gateway funding

VANCOUVER — B.C.’s Lower Mainland ports, along with their access routes, are inline for an upgrade thanks to seven projects and $20 million in federal funds.

These projects will help establish a network of complementary short-sea shipping services in the Lower Mainland that aim to contribute to the integrated and efficient movement of international trade.

These services will hopefully reduce road congestion between river terminals and deep-sea terminals, increase throughput capacity at marine terminals, develop new transportation options, and increase overall system capacity for trade between Asia and North America.

"By investing in short-sea shipping infrastructure projects for the first time, the federal government is demonstrating its support for short-sea shipping as a way of optimizing the use of the transportation system for the movement of goods," said Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "Better use of our waterways through shor-tsea shipping can help alleviate congestion, facilitate trade, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase overall transportation efficiency."

Shortsea shipping is a multimodal activity that incorporates the marine movement of cargo between points that are relatively close to one another without crossing an ocean, such as along rivers and coastlines, and within lakes.

“Short sea shipping has tremendous potential for this region, providing a more sustainable environment by more fully utilizing existing waterways, and reducing impacts on the road infrastructure,” said Captain Gordon Houston, president and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver. “For example, one barge carries as much cargo as 65 trucks, or 15 rail cars. So the potential advantages are quite clear.”

Under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative Transportation Infrastructure Fund, the federal government is supplying nearly half of the cost for the $43.5-million joint investment with private sector transportation service providers and municipalities in the region.

The following short-sea shipping projects and service providers were selected following a call for proposals: Fraser River Shuttle (up to $5 million contribution to Coast 2000 Terminals); Deltaport Shortsea Berth (up to $2.35 million contribution to TSI Terminal Systems); Vanterm Shortsea Berth (up to $1.95 million contribution to TSI Terminal Systems); Mountain View Apex Container Terminal (up to $7 million contribution to Seaspan International); and Southern Railway of B.C. Rail Barge Ramp (up to $4.6 million contribution to Southern Railway of B.C.).

These projects call for the development of specialized facilities such as docks, ramps, and fixed-crane infrastructure that would facilitate short-sea shipping of a variety of cargos (including containers, railcars, and break-bulk cargos) that ultimately either originate from or are destined for Asia. The private sector service provider will match the federal funding.

In addition to the shortsea shipping projects, the following road projects will also be undertaken: The City of Richmond will receive up to $750,000 in funding for the construction of a new four-lane section between Wireless Way and Highway 91; and The Corporation of Delta will receive up to $1.1 million in funding for left turn lanes along Nordel Way at Brooke Road and Shepherd Way.

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