Friday, August 22, 2014

Vancouver port OKs coal transfer facility

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In the ongoing juggling of transport logistics affecting fossil fuels throughout western North America, British Columbia's Port Metro Vancouver on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, approved a new rail-to-barge coal transfer facility.

The site, at Fraser Surrey Docks, gives BNSF a viable option for handling coal exports from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, while circumventing objections from other sites, particularly in Washington state and California but also including Oregon. Political maneuvering among governments and businesses involving crude-by-rail (CBR) operations also is ongoing.

Port Metro Vancouver said it found no "unacceptable risks" in allow the project to proceed. The terminal, when built, will handle up to 4 million metric tons (4.4 million short tons) of coal, loading it onto barges bound for Texada Island, British Columbia, where a second transfer point for cross-Pacific shipping is located.

Last fall Port Metro Vancouver set standards for the transfer project, including prohibition of on-site coal storage and a requirement for barges to increase measures to prevent coal dust from escaping while in transit.