Friday, February 27, 2015

Port Metro Vancouver Breaks Annual Cargo Record

By Mark Edward Nero

Port Metro Vancouver, Canada’s largest seaport, had record-breaking cargo volumes in 2014, marking the second straight year it broke its own annual volume record, according to 

Port terminals saw 2.9 million TEUs during calendar year 2014, compared to 2.8 million in 2013 and 2.7 million in 2012.

Annual bulk volumes increased by 5.3 percent over 2013, according to the port, with substantial increases in grain exports, plus strong international demand spurring an 18-percent jump in exports of wheat and 31-percent increase for canola. Also, bulk coal volumes remained strong as volumes increased in several emerging markets from more traditional markets. Bulk potash reached a new record of 7.5 million tons, a 14-percent rise from the previous year.

Additionally, container volumes continued to grow, with a 3.1-percent increase over 2013, despite reduced volumes in the month of March due to a container trucking dispute.

The port’s terminals handled 140 million tons of cargo in 2014, up three percent from 2013. Import cargo rose 4.1 percent to 29 million tons, and exports rose 3.3 percent to 111 million tons.
Robin Silvester, the port’s president and chief executive officer said in a statement that the record year for cargo volumes illustrates “the demands created by a growing Canadian economy and increasing international desire for Canadian trade.”

The news wasn’t all good, however: auto volumes at Metro Vancouver declined in 2014 largely due to a shift in vehicle production from Asia to North America. Breakbulk volumes also fell slightly due to a decrease in log exports. Cruise passenger numbers remained strong, however; Port Metro Vancouver saw 812,095 passengers throughout the 2014 season, virtually the same number as the year before.

Port Metro Vancouver, which handles 19 percent of the value of Canada’s total trade in goods, is the third-largest North American port, after those in Los Angeles and Long Beach. By comparison, the Port of Los Angeles saw 8.3 million TEUs last year, and the Port of Long Beach 6.8 million, more than double Metro Vancouver’s 2.9 million TEUs.