A container ship docking at Deltaport. Port Metro Vancouver has released its Port 2050 outlook for the next two to four decades.

Port wary of roadblocks to growth

Two 'frightening' scenarios in future outlook for Port Metro Vancouver

Port Metro Vancouver now recognizes it might face low-growth scenarios where the massive infrastructure upgrades underway to move goods through the region may not pay off, but it so far continues to bet on stronger trade growth.

The authority unveiled its new Port 2050 vision Friday, predicting what may lay ahead over the next 20 to 40 years.

It includes two low-growth scenarios that president and CEO Robin Silvester calls “frightening.”

One dubbed “Local Fortress” details how local residents’ choice to become a “lifestyle region” throttles Metro Vancouver’s potential as a global hub, compounding the damage of a slow global economy.

That scenario ends with a region attractive to tourists, retirees and the affluent, the report says, but one that pushes away industry and jobs at a cost to the region’s character, vibrancy and diversity.

A second scenario is dubbed “Missed the Boat”, where supply chain problems and lack of community support for the port leaves Metro Vancouver unable to fully tap growth in emerging markets. Industry then opts to use other ports.

More likely, according to Silvester, is a third “Rising Tide” scenario of continued growth but one that is more volatile because of the increasing challenge of climate change and “resource wars” over commodities.

It anticipates a one-metre rise in sea level by 2040 and temperatures four degrees warmer, as the impacts of climate change arrive decades sooner than expected.

He said “Rising Tide” may be just a precursor on the way to a fourth outlook called “The Great Transition” – a rapid shift to a post-industrial, post-carbon world.

It anticipates a global carbon tax and triple-bottom line accounting to reflect the economy and social needs. And it still anticipates a relevant port because rising oil prices make shipping and rail more competitive than trucking.

Gateway critics have long argued port expansion harms the region’s residents, its environment and food security.

They accuse the port of driving the Lower Mainland’s freeway and bridge building binge and buying up farmland for new terminals and warehousing.

The port authority projects container traffic through B.C.’s West Coast will double over the next 10 to 15 years and nearly triple by 2030.

It has proposed a second three-berth container terminal at Deltaport to handle the expected growth.

Silvester, in a Nov. 25 speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade, gave no indication the Port 2050 findings will alter the port’s present course.

But he warned the financial crisis in Europe means some of the changes and volatility the port expects in the decades ahead may come sooner than predicted.

He stressed the importance of the 129,000 port-related jobs in the Lower Mainland in weathering any economic storm and said policies and programs may need to be revised to preserve and expand those jobs.

It may be time for a single West Coast port authority, he said, that takes in both Port Metro Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert to ensure the two compete with U.S. ports but not against each other.

He also repeated the port’s concern about conflict over land use and the declining supply of industrial land in the region.

“Perhaps it’s not just an Agricultural Land Reserve that’s needed in British Columbia, but a Jobs Land Reserve,” Silvester said. “A reserve where land that is critical to the jobs we have, and the new jobs that we will require over the next 30 to 40 years, allows them to grow and flourish.”

Just Posted

UPDATE: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at Delta farm

All 42 patients have been released from hospital, according to Delta Fire

LETTER: Township has much to do the day before Christmas

A Langley letter writer shares her prose about Township Langley council preparing for Christmas Day.

Santa, Moana drop in on Aldergrove children’s party: PHOTOS

Annual Christmas party for children hosted by Aldergrove Elks

Langley families spend time with the man in red

Willows Church hosted a Santa Claus Breakfast Saturday morning, attracting lots of folks.

VIDEO: Goalie of Langley-based Giants kept door shut to U.S. league-leaders

Vancouver G-Men defeated the Winterhawks Tuesday 5-3 at LEC, now 1-0 in Portland Friday night.

Site C decision coming Monday morning

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

VIDEO: Man frustrated that Vancouver taxi driver won’t take him home to New Westminster

Kuldip Gill says that not being able to get a ride to the suburbs is a constant problem

Legacy of Amanda Todd lives on through B.C. foundation

Todd’s mother Carol stresses the importance of putting the phone down and talking with children

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Most Read