Historians looking back on 2015 will probably have the last say, but this era in history of British Columbia ports could well be defined as one of growth and diversity.
Almost every port it seems is making sure it doesn’t put all of its maritime trade eggs in one basket. Once, it was forestry that carried the day and mining sure has had its turn too, but today, ports are keen to have multiple interests from potash to containers; liquefied natural gas to wood pellets; and raw logs to coal; plus a healthy assortment of break bulk opportunities.
Photo above: Aerial of Westshore Terminal and DeltaPort by Dave Roels (www.daveroels.com)
Port Metro Vancouver President & CEO Robin Silvester says the growth and diversification in Canada’s largest port has been enabled by "significant infrastructure investments made in our Pacific Gateway."
But Silvester warns there are major challenges ahead. As Canada’s demand for trade grows, he says it creates pressures on communities and the environment. Perhaps with an eye to all B.C. ports he adds: "It is up to us as a port authority to manage this growth in trade in a sustainable way so we ensure that future generations enjoy the benefits of trade, a healthy environment and thriving communities."
Here’s a round up of activity at B.C. ports for 2014 and year-to-date 2015.
Port Metro Vancouver
Unlikely to surrender its title as the most diversified port in all of North America anytime soon, Port Metro Vancouver and its 28 terminals are coming off another record year in 2014 spanning five business sectors — bulk, break bulk, containers, autos and cruise. Total tonnage handled reached a shade under 140 million tonnes, which was up three per cent over the record set in 2013.
Year-to-date figures through May show the pace has not slackened and continues with a three per cent climb over the previous record year. As the port that bulk built and containers powered, Port Metro Vancouver had only one category that didn’t improve over the same five months a year earlier — chemicals, basic metals and minerals, which were down 13.3 per cent at just over six million tonnes.