Overall stable volume
at Port of Vancouver in 2016
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority reported that overall volume at Canada's largest port decreased slightly to 136 million tonnes of cargo, down 1.8 per cent from 2015. Sectors experiencing declines were offset by others that hit new records, including the bulk grain sector.
"One of our biggest strengths has been, and continues to be, the port's ability to accommodate the most diversified range of cargo of any port in North America," said Robin Silvester, president and chief executive officer of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. "Since 2013, the Port of Vancouver has experienced its fourth consecutive year of traffic volumes over 135-million-tonnes, despite global economic downturns."
Last year was the Port of Vancouver's third consecutive year of record volumes in bulk grain and its fifth year of an upward trend. Bulk grain export volumes through the port increased 1.3 per cent from 2015, to reach 21.8 million metric tonnes in 2016. Strong global demand for Canadian agriculture was met with a bumper crop in Canada and increased exports of grain through the Port of Vancouver.
"The continued growth in grain volumes through the Port of Vancouver demonstrates the strong reputation of Canadian grain and reflects the expansion plans we are seeing for this commodity in particular," continued Mr. Silvester. "Demand for Canadian grain from many countries is being met by farmers across Canada and by terminals who continue to invest in new technology."
Containerized exports increased by 3.3 per cent due to growth in woodpulp, grain and food and agri-product shipments. This increase was offset by a 2.4 per cent decline in loaded import containers, partly due to the return of some traffic to U.S. west coast ports after their 2015 labour dispute, leading to a flat result in overall laden container volumes for 2016. Total box volume measured in TEUs declined by 4 per cent to 2.93 million units.
The weak Canadian dollar and a slowdown in industry investment and development activity in western Canada was reflected in the 17.2 per cent decline in metal and project cargo imports in 2016. A 22 per cent drop in breakbulk lumber and wood pulp also contributed to a decline in overall import and export breakbulk volumes.
Metallurgical coal volumes increased 1.8 per cent in 2016 due to a 64.3 per cent increase in exports to India and sustained demand from Japan, China, and South Korea. Overall coal volumes were down by 6.1 per cent in 2016, due to a 28.2 per cent decrease in thermal coal exports. (Photo VPA)