B.C. port firm says its greenhouse gas emissions data is a ‘trade secret’

The B.C. company that operates Canada’s largest container terminal is going to court against the federal government to keep five years of greenhouse-gas emissions data secret.

GCT Canada Limited Partnership says the Minister of Environment and Climate Change wants to publish emissions data from the Deltaport facility south of Vancouver under the federal Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.

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The company says in a Federal Court application that the information is a “trade secret,” and publicly releasing it would cause both financial loss and harm to the firm’s “competitive position.”

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“GCT Canada is continually negotiating with existing customers to renew agreements or negotiating with potential new customers,” the application says. “Existing and potential customers place a significantly increasing importance on sustainability issues for those they contract with, including the (greenhouse-gas) emissions of the container terminals that they use.”

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If its emissions data is published and its competitors’ data is not, GCT Canada claims this would “interfere with these negotiations.”

The company says it provided the data covering 2017 to 2022 to Environment and Climate Change Canada, but the ministry rejected a request to keep the data confidential in February.

GCT Canada says in the judicial review application that the ministry is wrongfully singling out Deltaport and that no facilities run by competitors are required to report emissions numbers.

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“Publishing the (greenhouse-gas) Information would make Deltaport the only container terminal facility in Canada that publishes this type of information,” the application says.

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The application says the emissions data is treated as confidential by all container terminal operators in the Canadian market.

The company says its emissions data could be used by competitors, customers and others to cause the company losses.

GCT Canada spokesman Marko Dekovic said in an interview Monday that when the company asked for the data to be kept confidential, the government declined, and the company’s “only remedy was to file for this judicial review.”

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Dekovic said GCT Canada wasn’t able to identify any other container terminal operator that had been asked to provide emissions data for publication under the reporting program, which could give the impression that its emissions are somehow higher than others with no ability for comparison.

“Since there’s no others, that information would be in a vacuum,” he said.

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Dekovic said there’s no timeline for when the court may decide on the application.

The Environment Ministry deferred comment to Transport Canada, which isn’t named in the judicial review application.

GCT Canada also operates the Vanterm container terminal in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2024.

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