Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Port Metro Vancouver Approves Coal Facility

By Mark Edward Nero

Port Metro Vancouver on August 21 approved a proposed direct coal transfer facility at the Fraser Surrey Docks marine terminal.

The decision came after a two-year project review process and including extra measures taken to assess any potential environmental and human health risks. In granting the permit, Port Metro Vancouver requires the terminal to meet a strict set of conditions to ensure environmental and safety standards.

“Through our comprehensive project review process, stakeholder consultation, as well as third-party validated environmental and health studies, it was determined there are no unacceptable risks and the project could be permitted,” Peter Xotta, Port Metro Vancouver’s Vice President of Planning and Operations said.

The $15 million project is expected to provide 25 direct and 25 indirect full-time jobs. Once constructed by Fraser Surrey Docks, the facility is expected to handle up to four million metric tons of coal annually that would be loaded onto barges at the facility and transferred to ocean-going carriers at Texada Island.

The coal is to arrive at Fraser Surrey Docks via rail, and it is expected the project will result in one additional train per day along the BNSF railroad. Coal is the most heavily traded commodity at Metro Vancouver; the quantity to be shipped from Fraser Surrey Docks would represent about 10 percent of total coal shipments, according to the port.

In September 2013, the port announced new requirements for the proposed project, including the prohibition of on-site storage of coal and requirements for barges to take additional measures to prevent coal dust escaping during transit to Texada Island.

The port also asked the terminal to work with its rail provider to address issues of potential coal dust from rail cars. In May, BNSF announced it was adding a re-spray of a dust suppressant agent to the train cars before they enter Canada.