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Port Metro Vancouver sees huge decline in coal exports to China

Port Metro Vancouver didn’t ship a single lump of thermal coal to China in 2015.

The port authority released its 2015 statistics overview on Thursday, offering a detailed glimpse and what moves through Canada’s busiest terminals.

Overall, Port Metro Vancouver handled 138 million tonnes of cargo last year, down one per cent from 2014.

Robin Silvester, president and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver, told Metro the minor decrease is impressive considering the economic climate.

For example, the movement of thermal coal dropped 21 per cent to 9,150,273 metric tonnes.

Thermal coal exports to China, which has been aggressively transitioning to cleaner energy, from Port Metro Vancouver terminals disappeared completely in 2015.

None was shipped to China last year, compared to 1,313,954 metric tonnes in 2014 and 1,736,083 metric tonnes the year before.

More than five million metric tonnes of metallurgical coal was still shipped to China through Port Metro Vancouver, but even that was down 29 per cent.

Thermal coal exports to South Korea and Japan also substantially decreased by 17 and 27 per cent, respectively.

A 33 per cent drop in crude petroleum exports also point to economic troubles in Alberta, Silvester said.

The decrease in some resource exports was offset but record movement of containers, potash and grain through Port Metro Vancouver.

“We’re pleased given the difficult global backdrop,” said Silvester. “Certainly we’re in pretty good shape [for growth].”

The port is seizing the increased container traffic (up five per cent to 3.054 million containers) by planning to significantly ramp up its capacity in the coming years.

The planned Roberts Bank Terminal 2 in Delta, which still needs environmental approval, would add capacity for another 2.4 million containers.

The port is also looking to expand its Centerm container terminal in Vancouver’s inner harbour.

Silvester says the expansion would see Centerm’s capacity increased by two-third, add two or three additional cranes and improve access for trucks.

The preliminary comment period for the project ended Feb. 12.

News source: http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2016/02/18/port-metro-vancouver-sees-decline-in-coal-exports-to-china.html