Province examining expansion of Ashcroft Terminal

Written on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017
Province examining expansion of Ashcroft Terminal

Published originally in BC Gov News, March 31st, 2017

The Province is investing up to $150,000 to study the feasibility of expanding Ashcroft Terminal to improve efficiency of the transportation corridors to and from the Lower Mainland ports, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone announced today.

“Finding innovative ways to move Canadian goods from source to overseas markets through our Lower Mainland ports is vital to trade and to Canada’s and B.C.’s economic success,” said Stone. “Container volume moving through the ports is expected to grow, so we need to manage increasing congestion on our roads and at the ports. Inland ports, such as Ashcroft Terminal, have the potential to ease congestion and increase capacity of land-constrained marine ports and to help improve supply chain efficiency.”

Ashcroft Terminal's geographic location along B.C.’s major highways and proximity to the main lines for both Canadian National Rail and Canadian Pacific Railway gives it the potential to become a significant link in the supply chain as an inland port. The Province will study whether an expansion of the facility could improve the supply chain for the railroads, producers and shippers, and alleviate port congestion in the Lower Mainland.

“I expect this study to demonstrate whether Ashcroft Terminal has the potential to lower the cost and increase the effective movement of goods from the Interior to the coast and whether it could provide environmental benefits to Lower Mainland communities by reducing greenhouse gases,” said Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart. “This facility is important to B.C.’s natural resource sector and to the local economy, and an expansion could create 256 well-paying jobs for British Columbians.”

Ashcroft Terminal is a 129.5 hectare (320 acre) privately-owned trans-load and storage terminal that currently provides truck-to-rail and rail-to-truck bulk and break-bulk transfers servicing all sectors of the natural resource markets in B.C. The nearby Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway main lines run directly to the marine ports in the Lower Mainland.

The Province has posted a Request for Proposals for this study on BC Bid today. A report on the results of the study is expected in fall 2017.

A backgrounder follows.

Backgrounder

Improving Canada’s supply chain through inland terminals

The Province is committing up to $150,000 to examine the viability of Ashcroft Terminal as a part of Canada’s Pacific Gateway.

This builds on work the Province has done in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the ports and the private sector to examine ways to improve B.C.’s resource sector supply chain. Canada’s Budget 2017 has also noted the terminal’s potential role in reducing congestion at Lower Mainland ports by handling cargo inland.

Components of the Province’s upcoming study could include:

  • Assessment of potential for an expanded Ashcroft Terminal to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the transportation system for handling cargo through the Port of Vancouver;
  • Analysis of the ability for Ashcroft Terminal as an intermodal and trans-load facility to alleviate traffic congestion, and to address the lack of available industrial land in the Lower Mainland;
  • Cross-jurisdictional scan to determine best practices for inland ports and assess how Ashcroft Terminal could leverage this information;
  • Assessment of benefits to international trade and integration into the Pacific Gateway of an expanded Ashcroft Terminal;
  • Identification of benefits to the Province (impacts and benefits on the transportation trade network, benefits to resource sector producers), and to local and regional economies of the expansion of Ashcroft Terminal;
  • Assessment of costs, benefits and impacts on local First Nations and communities, and environmental impacts; and,
  • Identification of potential partnership development with various parties including the ports and railways.

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