Okay let us consider that it takes about 8 or so hours Give her take for the container ship to make it all the way to Vancouver or seattle from the entrance to Juan de Fuca Straight, All ships have to come this way anyway Now How long would it take to go up the Alberni Canal, Unload the containers and transfer them on to barges, only to take them back out of the canal, the same way they came, to The Mainland. Where they would have been many hours earlier?
If containers are transfered to trucks, it would take at least 2 hours or so depending on traffic to cross over the Island from Port Alberni to Either the Duke Point Seaspan Ferry dock, or one of the Nanaimo BC Ferries Docks. Then another 2 hours on the ferry just to get to the mainland, when it would get to Vancouver many hours earlier if they remained on the Big Ship.
Now, several other things to consider, More Containers = more traffic on the road. More trucks on the already dangerous Alberni Highway, Between Qualicum and Port Alberni. People who have drove the Cameron Lake stretch of Highway 4 can tell how dangerous this is, and its only a 2 lane highway.
Also, Alberni Canal is a narrow Channel. There is a RISK of large vessels having a Mechanical issue and running aground. Are we prepared and equipped in case of oil Spills from such possible scenarios? We would have more tug and barge traffic, again, there are risks associated with this. Now Location is everything. Most traffic between Seattle, Vancouver heading up north, ie to Prince Rupert, etc head up the Inside Passage, between Vancouver Island and the Mainland, because it provides protection from the stormy seas of the Pacific Ocean.
Rail traffic? Okay now How many thousands of containers are on just one of these ships? How many rail cars can a typical railship, Barge take? That would require massive ferry ships that are much larger than Seaspan currently has. On top of this the Railway line on the Island Sucks, Needs major replacements and upgrades.
Considering it only takes about 10 or so hours to get to the mainland anyway, whats the point?
Port Alberni is a desperate City, a Dying City, and this is the only reason why Such a foolish idea as this is even been Proposed.
One other thing, Who is going to pay the $300 dollar or so bill to Bring the empty Container from Vancouver over to Port Alberni? Is the Owner/Opperator of the Rig going to foot the bill?