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Feds announce $4.1M for lands in Richmond to help ease supply chain bottleneck

A temporary empty container storage site will be set up on port authority land in Richmond to help deal with supply chain issues
The federal government is giving $4.1 million to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to create a temporary empty container storage site in Richmond.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will be using an undeveloped 40-acre parcel of land at the foot of No. 8 Road in Richmond to help address supply chain bottlenecks in the wake of the recent flooding in B.C.

The site, which lies on port authority land near the south arm of the Fraser River, will be used as temporary empty container storage.

It’s meant to help address supply chain disruptions, which have created delays and service challenges at the port’s container facilities.

The federal government announced earlier this week that it is contributing up to $4.1 million, under the National Trade Corridors Fund, to the port authority for the project, in the aftermath of flooding caused by the recent atmospheric river.

Currently, there is river sand on the site for preload, in preparation for development, said Matti Polychronis, port authority spokesperson, in an emailed statement to the Richmond News. However, the sand cannot accommodate the heavy mobile equipment used to handle and stack containers, so a layer of gravel will be added.

The gravel will be brought to the site by barge along the Fraser River.

While the supply chain serving the Port of Vancouver has been “operating remarkably fluidly” throughout the pandemic, supply chain surges have created service challenges at container facilities, said Polychronis.

Marine terminals have also been delaying vessels and restricting export container deliveries, she said.

“This has led to an unprecedented challenge for locations to store loaded export and empty containers near the port, and the recent atmospheric river weather event in B.C. has disrupted the rail supply chain, exacerbating this challenge,” she said.

“The storage capacity is needed to support the anticipated surge of container traffic arriving into the Gateway as a result of supply chains opening up after the catastrophic flooding events in the past week… The flood and disruption has prompted us to jump into action in anticipation of greater challenges for the next several months.”

Container storage sites help with the movement and distribution of essential supplies to and from the port and reduce congestion within the supply chain, Polychronis explained.

But if there's too much congestion in container yards, the supply chain may not operate as well as it should and delay the recovery of the port’s intermodal supply chain (where containers are moved between different modes of transport).

The site is not meant to facilitate new business and the port does not anticipate more port traffic in the Fraser River as a result.

Operators will be able to store empty containers for a period of up to 180 days on the site in early 2022.

The site will be used until service levels have returned to pre-flooding conditions.