Neptune Terminals | Coal Capacity Project

July 18, 2018

Project status

Permit amendment issued

On January 23, 2013, a project permit was issued to Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd. to install additional coal handling equipment at their 1001 Low Level Road terminal in North Vancouver on federal lands and waters managed by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. The project was approved subject to 45 permit conditions Neptune Bulk Terminals Ltd. must meet to ensure the project does not result in significant adverse environmental effects.

On May 7, 2014, the project permit was extended for a period of an additional two years and is now valid until January 2020.

On May 7, 2018, an amendment to the project permit was approved subject to 33 additional permit conditions. The amendment relates to a re-design of the west quadrant shiploader, and additional mooring dolphin and a gangway at the west end. The additional permit conditions relate only to these components of the works.

On March 27, 2020, a minor amendment, PER No. 12-066-1 was approved by Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. The amendment approved work outside of standard construction hours (as set out in Permit condition No. 18). The amendment approved work to be conducted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, excluding Statutory Holidays to September 30, 2020.

On September 17, 2020, the port authority issued an authorization letter to Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd. to extend the authorization that allows them to construct outside of regular port authority construction hours for an additional 6 month period (from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021). A construction notice was distributed to nearby residences and businesses.

Construction is anticipated to be completed by summer 2021. For more information about the project and construction activities, please visit Neptune Bulk Terminals Ltd.’s website.

About the project

The purpose of the upgrade works is to increase throughput and improve coal handling operations. The equipment would include a new coal train dumper building at the east end of the site, which tips the coal in incoming rail cars onto a series of new conveyors. The conveyors supply stacker-reclaimers on the terminal, which place coal in the existing stockpile area, from where it may be loaded to vessels for export.

The project proposes the replacement of the quadrant shiploader at berth 1, the west berth at the terminal. The replacement shiploader includes a longer reach and more modern discharge chute, reducing particulate emissions during the loading process, and allowing more complete loading of ship holds as ships trend larger. The replacement shiploader includes 72 additional in-water piles at the extreme range of the quadrant loader tracks, and to support the increased weight of the new loader.

Anticipated capacity of the facility is expected to be increased as a result of the improvements, from 12.5 million Metric Tonnes (MT) per year to 18.5 million MT. In terms of capacity, this equates to approximately an additional coal unit train per day being processed at the facility, and approximately 0.3 additional ships per week being loaded at the berth.

The proposed handling facilities fit entirely within the existing terminal footprint, and the increase in annual capacity is achieved through faster “turn” of the coal stockpile. With the proposed improvements, the process of transferring coal from trains to stockpiles to ships would become more efficient, allowing greater throughput hence overall coal export capacity. Coal stockpiles are not proposed to be larger or higher.

Project activities and components include:

Dumper Vault and Building

  • Installation of a new railcar dumper parallel to the existing railcar dumper at height of 12m.
  • Excavation of a vault 13m wide by 33m long by 21m deep to house dumper barrel and associated equipment.
  • Construction of a 75m long tunnel from the base of the vault to ground level.


  • Installation of an elevated conveyor system comprised of two coal receiving conveyors in series moving coal from the dumper to the stockyard conveyor.
  • Upgrade of conveyor transferring coal from stockyard to the new shiploader.
  • Water-based dust suppression system located at transfer points.

Shiploader Replacement

  • Replacement of the west quadrant shiploader.
  • Removal and replacement of the quadrant beam with a new beam comprised of 26 steel piles, concrete beams and pile caps.
  • Installation of a mooring dolphin comprised of 9 steel piles, with a formed 6.5m by 6.5m concrete cap to support the mooring and release hook.
  • Installation of a gangway platform, approximately 69m in length and 6m in width, supported by 29 steel piles with concrete cap.
  • Additional foundation components added outside the existing shiploader foundation with pile supports to provide increased strength.
  • A total of 72 in-water steel piles will be installed.

Water Treatment System

  • Additional process water (e.g., spray, wash-down) will be required as a result of increased throughput once upgrades are complete.
  • During operation, water will be treated through the existing coal water treatment and discharge system.

Please note that all dimensions and quantities are approximate.


October 2018 – Authorization for Construction Outside of Regular Construction Hours (PP 17-131, 12-066, 12-066-1): Neptune Cargill Overpass Extension, Coal Capacity and West Quadrant Shiploader Amendment [PDF]
May 2018 – Approved Project Permit Amendment (PP 12-066-01): Neptune Coal Capacity West Quadrant Shiploader [PDF]
May 2014 – Project Permit (PP 12-066) Extension Letter: Neptune Coal Capacity [PDF]
January 2013 –  Approved Project Permit (PP 12-066): Neptune Coal Capacity [PDF]
January 2013 –  Project Review Report: Neptune Coal Capacity [PDF]

Contact Information

For more information about Neptune Terminals’ project, please visit their website or contact them by email or phone at 604.983-7935.

For questions regarding the port authority’s Project and Environmental Review process, please contact us by email or phone at 604.665.9047.