A couple of weeks ago I went on a container trail. Quite offbeat, this tour is organized by the Port of Vancouver Delta Community Office. As a means to bridge the gap between the public and the operations of the port in Delta, on this tour, the community advisors of Port of Vancouver Delta office take you to a container depot, a truck staging facility, a logistics center and finally to the port itself. Best of all this is a free tour.
On a dull Saturday morning, at around 6 30am, I drove from Langley to a small pretty town called Ladner in Delta. Thankfully it was not raining but it was cold. This is November after all. I had come prepared with a rain jacket knowing that there was a stop where we had to get down from the tour bus. I made my way over the community office of the Port of Vancouver where I met Connor and Tanya who are the community advisor and who were going to take us on the tour. Hot coffee and cookies were available in the waiting area and thankfully I took a cup of hot coffee. There were already a few people in the office. As we waited for others to turn up I went around and looked at the displays they had about the port and its activities.
At 8am the gathered group made its way over to the tour bus and off we started on our tour. We were to remain seated for the most. We went to all the places mentioned above and even had the luck to see a container handling machine in action. The operator lifted the container off the back of a truck and placed it in the yard. All the way as we were driven around the different facilities Connor and Tanya explained to us how things work and also presented us with some fascinating facts like the one that surprised me was that Canada exports lentils to India. I would imagine it had to be the other way around.
The last part of the tour was the best where we were taken to the Delta port and to Roberts Bank which is Canada’s busiest coal export facility. Yes, Canada exports coal. BC exports coal. Hard to believe but coal is one of the biggest exports of BC. This terminal is beside the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. This is one of the reasons I like going on these kinds of tours. They take you to places where normally you wouldn’t get access. The port side is not accessible to the general public. We saw a ship being loaded with containers and couldn’t help but wonder at all the complex logistics involved like how does an operator know which container to put in what area of the ship. And also how is the order in which the containers arrive at the port decided. Lots of questions. Tanya and Connor were excellent in answering many of the questions we had. They were also generous enough to take us to another point where we could actually take some pics as taking pics was not allowed near the site of the ship. After this last stop we made our way back to the community office in Ladner. It was overall a very insightful tour and was worth the effort of getting up early on a Saturday morning and driving for 45 mins to reach the spot. They have ongoing tours on offer I totally recommend it.
Link for the event here : https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/free-tour-the-container-trail-registration-421637447957?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
Location: Port of Vancouver Delta Community Office
5223 Ladner Trunk Road Trenant Park Square Delta, BC V4K 1W4