As the most powerful agency overseeing Canada’s west coast supply chain, The Port of Vancouver is well placed to take a lead on solving the problem of too many cargo ships spilling over into BC’s Southern Gulf Islands.
The good news is that The Port of Vancouver has very laudable goals when it comes to the environment and communities. Their stated mission is to enable Canada’s trade objectives, ensuring safety, environmental protection and consideration for local communities. Their ‘Vision’ is to be the world’s most sustainable port. They define sustainability as delivering “economic prosperity through trade, maintaining a healthy environment, and enabling thriving communities through collective accountability, meaningful dialogue and shared aspirations.”
Addressing the impacts of so many bulk cargo ships parking way outside the port in BC’s Southern Gulf Islands could go a long way to living up to that vision.
Here’s just one example: In the last couple of years, Vancouver has been offering a way for cruise ships and large container carriers to hook directly up to ‘shore power’ (electrical hookups so ships don’t have to run huge generators while docking.) These programs are reported to have already saved thousands of tonnes of fuel and tens of thousands more in greenhouse gas emissions. Which is fantastic!
Unfortunately empty bulk cargo ships anchoring in the Southern Gulf Islands, waiting to get into Vancouver, don’t have a shore power option. Instead, they run diesel generators 24/7 and are often at anchor for weeks at a time. That’s on top of all the bunker fuel they burn travelling two and from the Gulf Island sites. Just think of how many more tonnes of fuel and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions going in to the local air shed could be saved.
The Port of Vancouver also offers incentives to container ships to come and go on time and to reduce air emissions. Imagine what they could do if they applied the same incentives to bulk cargo ships!
By leading the way and finding solutions for the inefficiencies that have led to this anchoring mess, the Port of Vancouver truly could be on its way to becoming the most sustainable port in the world.