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Pacific Coast Terminals plots expansion projects
Major expansion work is coming on stream for one of Port Moody's leading industries.
Pacific Coast Terminals is awaiting approval from Port Metro Vancouver to go ahead with plans to handle canola oil at its Port Moody facility.
"We're hoping weeks [until the permits are obtained]," said Ken Catton, vice-president and general manager of Pacific Coast Terminals. "We'll start construction on site and if all goes well, we'll have the tanks and the facility ready to take the product by January of next year."
The project is expected to initially handle about 400,000 tonnes of canola oil annually and would add about $1 billion in exports to the $1.5 billion already contributed to the Canadian economy. The $35-million project would include the construction of three 15,000-tonne storage tanks and is expected to lead to the creation of 15 full-time jobs as well as 300 construction jobs.
Catton said PCT has experienced a 50% reduction in its volumes of both sulphur and glycol over the past 10 years and are looking to canola oil to make up for some of that lost volume. The company is also in discussions with a potash producer but the earliest potash could be handled by the facility would be late 2016.
The canola shipments are expected to lead to a 1.3% increase in rail traffic through Port Moody as well as additional shipping vessels, although Catton points out traffic will still be well below its volumes from 2001 and 2007.
"It's a relatively minimal increase to that, especially on the vessel side because the vessels are larger and can take more product so there's fewer vessels actually needed to load the canola," he said. "And the rail cars does increase but it's about the same number we have for glycol today."
PCT is also awaiting permits to allow it to dredge a navigation channel in the Burrard Inlet.
"It will allow the large vessels to be able to sail at any time," said Catton. "Right now they're restricted because the navigation channel is too shallow at low tide for them to sail."
Once the permits are received, Catton is hoping the dredging work can begin once the fishery window closes at the end of summer.
"We would start in September and then hopefully finish that by the end of December," he said. "Hopefully if it all works out and we get the permits and it all works out, by January we should have both of these projects completed."
Catton provided an update on the projects to Port Moody council Tuesday night.
Mayor Mike Clay said while the city has no authority over the works being conducted by PCT, he supports the company's projects.
"If you're going to be a port city and the ports the power the trade for the entire nation then you're going to have products moving in and out of here," said Clay. "So canola oil? I think if I had to choose from a list, canola would be pretty high on my list. A food-based product is always better than a petroleum-based product."