View Full Version : Port of Vancouver, Canada
October 23rd, 2004, 10:15 PM
The Port of Vancouver covers 233 km of coastline from Roberts Bank at the U.S. -Canada border, along the south shore of Burrard Inlet, up Indian Arm and the north shore of Burrard Inlet. The Vancouver Port Authority controls 6,000 hectares of water and 460 hectares of land, most of which is largely occupied by cargo terminals. Industry, the provinces and municipalities own additional land.
Bulk cargoes account for about 80% of annual throughput at the Port of Vancouver, a leading port in North America for tonnage throughput and the largest foreign tonnage port on the Pacific Coast. The dominance of bulk cargoes began with the Port's traditional role in shipping commodity exports from resource-rich Western Canada. The Port of Vancouver has further capitalized on this natural advantage by developing - and continuously improving - superior terminal facilities. Terminal operators have developed leading-edge expertise in the safe and environmentally sound handling of a wide range of bulk cargoes such as coal, grain, sulphur, potash, liquid chemicals, and fuel oil.
Vancouver is also frequently visited on Alaska cruises Every year more than one million revenue passengers on more than 300 sailings, represented by the major international cruiselines, now pass through the Port's Canada Place and Ballantyne cruise ship facilities.
2003 Statistical Summary
The Port of Vancouver handled 66.7 million tonnes in 2003, up 6% from last year’s 62.8 million tonnes.
Total Foreign Containers (TEUs - 20 ft. equivalent units)
Imports & Exports
Principal Containerized Commodities ('000s metric tonnes)
Key Commodity Totals (All methods of handling - foreign & domestic)
November 30th, 2004, 07:49 AM
Vancouver's China syndrome:
This year's 56% rise in volume has only worsened cargo, rail and road congestion at Canada's chief West Coast port
29 November 2004
VANCOUVER - Anyone who doubts the existence of the economic boom in China need only take a tour of the Port of Vancouver to see tangible evidence.
Over the past year, Canada's biggest marine trade hub has been hit with a virtual tidal wave of new business that has left it struggling with congestion and delays.
Long lines of freighters sit in the harbour, biding their time until a space at a terminal becomes available, while record stacks of containers sit on the docks, waiting to be loaded on to trains for the trip to markets in the East.
Cargo volume both to and from China has been growing for the past few years but recent figures are staggering. According to Gordon Houston, chief executive of the Vancouver Port Authority, volume is up 56% this year. Exports of lumber are up 46%, sulphur, 63%.
"The shock waves of China's economic expansion have definitely hit our shores," Mr.Houston said in an address to business leaders in Vancouver last week.
The Port of Vancouver handles about $29-billion worth of goods a year, generating about 62,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is one of North America's most important gateways to Asia.
The ships from China arrive laden with consumer goods -- everything from shirts and bicycles to furniture -- all destined for retailers across North America. They make the return journey packed with raw materials, mostly from Canada -- coal, sulphur, paper -- to feed China's burgeoning factories.
But the congestion around the port is having serious repercussions.
Last spring, at the height of the troubles, containers that should have taken 26 days to get from Hong Kong to southern Ontario were taking twice that long, according to Steve Valentine, president of Cargo Alliance Ltd., a Toronto-based freight forwarding company. Not surprisingly, customers were up in arms.
Vancouver is not alone. The explosion of trade from China has disrupted the entire transportation system on the West Coast, not only ports but also railways and even roads.
All of the Vancouver port's major competitors, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Seattle, are looking to fix the problem.
Vancouver recently announced plans to spend $1.4-billion on new infrastructure to triple its container capacity by 2020.
But that won't be enough unless the railways, which deliver most of the freight to and from the port, follow suit with investments of their own. Railways are where the bottleneck is as well.
"You can build a bigger terminal but if you can't carry goods inland, you aren't achieving anything," said Morley Strachan, vice-president of business development and strategic planning at TSI Terminal Systems Inc., which operates two of the port's container terminals.
The stakes are high. The Port of Vancouver has an economic impact that goes far beyond the revenue it generates. For Canadian companies, it is a doorway to the massive Chinese market.
China already consumes 20% of the world's copper and aluminum, 25% of the steel and 50% of the cement. The growing demand has sent prices for most of those commodities skyrocketing.
British Columbia's beleaguered coal industry is already benefiting, with a string of new mines set to open to take advantage of the higher prices.
Forest products companies are starting to see interest in their products as well, given China's huge population and booming housing industry. Canada now supplies only a sliver of China's total imports, about 1.1%, according to Mr. Houston.
But that sliver could be at risk if the Port of Vancouver and the railways fail to sort out their logistical woes. Mr. Houston said that if the port can't deliver, the Chinese will simply direct their trade through different ports in the United States or even Australia, leaving Canadian producers out of the picture.
If, on the other hand, the port and the railways can work together to build the necessary capacity, the benefits could be staggering as well.
"Imagine the implications for our economy if we were to double our market share," Mr. Houston said. "Imagine if we could increase it to 3%, 4% or 5%."
"We're on the threshold of this new growth and we need action now to make sure it happens," added Rick Bryant, president of the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia. "We're either part of it or we're not. The Chinese are not going to sit around and wait for us."
December 16th, 2004, 04:14 PM
Vancouver choked by trade with China
Shippers divert cargo to Halifax, despite longer voyage and 35% cost increase
John Greenwood, with files from Paul Vieira
10 December 2004
VANCOUVER - The Port of Vancouver has become so congested with freight from China that importers -- including major retailers -- are bypassing the West Coast and docking in Halifax.
The journey from Asia takes at least twice as long but shippers and their customers are trying to avoid the traffic snarls on Vancouver's docks and rail lines that can tie up goods for up to two weeks.
"A lot of the major importers have been lobbying carriers to provide East Coast service," said Bernie Dumas, general manager of sales and marketing in Canada for China Shipping Co., one of the biggest global transport companies.
Mr. Dumas said the top retailers, such as The Bay, Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Canadian Tire Corp., have all added the Port of Halifax to their supply lines.
Times vary, but most shippers can move a container from Shanghai or Hong Kong to Vancouver in about two weeks. If they bypass Vancouver and head for Halifax via the Panama Canal, the journey can take anywhere from a month to 37 days.
Shippers declined to talk about actual costs, but Mr. Dumas said the Halifax route is about 35% more expensive.
During the past year, ports up and down the West Coast, from Vancouver to Los Angeles, have been swamped with a massive increase in trade from developing countries in Asia, especially China.
The increased flow has overloaded not only the ports but also railways and trucking firms, creating unprecedented gridlock and delays, a situation that is already taking a toll on the retail industry.
A spokeswoman for Jean Lapierre, the Minister of Transport, said he is aware of the problem but is limited in what he can do given the port is run by an independent, not-for-profit authority.
About a half-dozen shipping lines have introduced a Halifax stop for their Far East routes, including China Shipping, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. and Hapag-Lloyd.
Vancouver is the biggest port in Canada and one of the biggest in North America, handling about $30-billion worth of trade a year.
When the system is working, it takes about three weeks to move a container from Shanghai to Toronto or Montreal. But some importers says it is taking more than twice as long, primarily because of delays moving freight out of Vancouver and on to rail cars.
Other West Coast ports are no different. "The Port of Los Angeles is a parking lot," said David Gray, a Vancouver-based retail consultant. "The rail lines, the truckers, they're all maxed out. It's not a crisis yet, but the big question is what happens five years from now [when trade with China is expected to be even bigger]."
The problem has affected a swath of industries that rely on smooth transportation links. But retailers appear to be the the first to experience disruption. Observers say that is because of their increasing reliance on suppliers in places such as China, and a common industry practice of putting in orders just before merchandise is needed.
Some store owners have become so frustrated they have resorted to shipping in goods by air. Calls to Wal-Mart were not returned. A spokeswoman for the Bay said the company was unable to comment. Caroline Casselman, director of public affairs for Canadian Tire, said the company is shipping a small amount of Far East merchandise through Halifax but "nothing is being diverted from Vancouver."
At the end of October, lingerie chain La Senza blamed lackluster third-quarter sales on shipping delays caused by "the overheating of the Chinese economy."
"We were getting delays of between three to six weeks and in our business that's a matter of concern," said Laurence Lewin, La Senza's president. "We had to fly merchandise in on some occasions. That's a very expensive alternative. If you're bringing in a container load of panties it's all right, but with things like terry towel robes it can affect the price."
Observers say freight volumes between North America and China began increase dramatically about two years ago but they skyrocketed this year. Vancouver's port has experienced a 56% increase and the growth is expected to continue for the next few years.
Canadian National Railway Co. and CP Rail, say their networks are running smoothly. In a recent interview, Mark Hallman, a spokesman for CN, said any delays at the western end are mainly the responsibility of the shipping lines and terminal operators.
But according to TSI Terminal Systems Inc., the biggest container terminal operator, the railways are to blame. Morley Strachan, TSI's vice-president of business development and strategic planning, said there is a two-week backlog of containers waiting to be loaded on to rail cars.
January 5th, 2005, 09:05 PM
Asian textiles may swamp Port of Vancouver
Lifting of quotas may lead to gridlock
BRENT JANG AND MARINA STRAUSS
5 January 2005
The Globe and Mail
The Port of Vancouver faces a crush of cargo now that quotas on textiles and clothing from Asia have been lifted, an industry trading group warned yesterday.
“We expect considerable increases in shipments of textiles to Canada,” said George Kuhn, executive director of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association.
Mr. Kuhn said it's hard to predict when the rush will start, but there could be a traffic jam by this spring, depending on how smoothly the rest of the transportation system is working to move goods on trains and trucks out of the port.
His association is warning its members — who shepherd goods from sender to recipient — that the risk of gridlock during parts of 2005 has increased at the Port of Vancouver and at U.S. ports, including Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Mr. Kuhn said a “crush of cargo” on ships appears inevitable after quotas were removed on textiles and apparel originating from countries such as China and India.
The Port of Vancouver could see a 10-per-cent increase in business this year, mostly stemming from booming Asian trade, said Jon Hicke, a spokesman for the Vancouver Port Authority, which helps port operators oversee three container terminals.
“It's not just textiles. China is becoming the global manufacturing centre for the world. They're also manufacturing auto parts and industrial goods and consumer goods,” Mr. Hicke said.
Jayson Myers, chief economist at the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, said the anticipated increase in imports from China this year will only aggravate an already difficult situation.
“It won't take much to probably put us into a worse situation this spring than last spring,” Mr. Myers said, referring to bottlenecks that became severe in 2004.
He warned that further delays could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in extra costs for retailers, both big and small.
Hudson's Bay Co., which owns the Bay, Zellers and Home Outfitters, has contingency plans in place if transportation problems do arise, such as shipping merchandise through other ports in the event of West Coast backlogs, HBC spokeswoman Hillary Stauth said.
Still, Toronto-based HBC hasn't experienced any significant difficulties in getting imports through the West Coast because of merchandise being stored in warehouses prior to the quotas being lifted on Jan. 1, she said.
“There was already a buildup of pressure on the West Coast as a result of increased orders coming through China,” she said. “The lifting of quotas will play a limited role in this ongoing trend.”
Sears Canada Inc. doesn't expect to experience delays in the coming months, added spokesman Vincent Power. But the bigger portion of imports will be shipped in May or June for the major fall season, he added. “That would be a critical time frame, if something was going to happen.”
Last October, long-time rivals Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and Canadian National Railway Co. agreed to combine their key operations in the Vancouver area in an effort to relieve West Coast port congestion.
“We have the capacity to deal with the anticipated growth coming out of the Port of Vancouver,” said CN spokesman Mark Hallman. “In general, all parties could benefit from better co-ordination.”
With the removal of World Trade Organization quotas, “it will be an onslaught of textiles from offshore,” said Morley Strachan, vice-president of business development and strategic planning at TSI Terminal Systems Inc., which runs two of the Port of Vancouver's three container-handling terminals.
“We're already having difficulty keeping up with the huge volumes coming in from Asia. This will create more pressure.”
Mr. Strachan said business was so brisk last year that bottlenecks developed whenever there was a breakdown in port-related transportation systems, whether from bad weather delaying trains or labour disputes that disrupted tug and barge operations. “We can't afford any slippages or service failures. It would have a dramatic impact on getting goods to where they're supposed to go,” he said.
Expansion of one of TSI's terminals, called Vanterm, is scheduled to be completed this summer to help prevent trade delays. That would boost Vanterm's annual capacity by 38 per cent to 600,000 TEUs — 20-foot equivalent units, the standard industry measure for containers.
June 12th, 2005, 05:23 AM
CPR completes first project in Western Capacity Expansion Program
CALGARY, June 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Canadian Pacific Railway has completed the first of 25 projects under a $160-million program to increase train capacity on the railway's network between the Prairies and the Port of Vancouver. An 8,500-foot-long track has been built at CPR's Coquitlam yard near Vancouver for trains of Canadian bulk commodities destined for ocean- going ships calling at Vancouver.
The new track enables CPR to stage trains close to the port until the designated ship arrives. Previously, trains awaiting ship arrival would be staged in sidings, which are valuable passing lanes build alongside the mainline. The new staging track will leave sidings open for moving trains, improve locomotive utilization, enhance overall fluidity in this area and improve service to the Port of Vancouver.
The staging track took five weeks to construct and required 285 tons of steel rail, 4,250 crossties and 5,640 tons of rock ballast.
Almost all of the 25 capacity expansion projects are now under way.
CPR is expanding its capacity to move more bulk commodities and resources to the Port of Vancouver for Asian markets that are hungry for Canada's raw materials. CPR is also moving increasing volumes of finished goods, shipped in containers arriving from Asia, to consumers in the U.S. and Canada. When the 25 projects are complete in the fourth quarter of 2005, CPR will be able to run an additional four trains daily - or more than 400 freight cars a day - between the Prairies and the Port of Vancouver, a 12-per-cent increase in capacity.
The expansion involves building and extending sidings, laying sections of double track, improving signal systems and installing staging tracks and track-to-track crossovers.
June 15th, 2005, 10:05 PM
Halifax grabs Vancouver container business
June 15, 2005
A wary group of Canadian retailing giants is blaming port and rail congestion for a decision Tuesday to yank their business out of Vancouver in favour of the Port of Halifax.
The Canadian Retail Shippers Association says congestion and the competing volume of goods from China have obliged them to route 2,000 containers of Southeast Asia-made consumer goods through the Suez Canal and across the Atlantic Ocean rather than directly across the Pacific Ocean to the Port of Vancouver -- the country's largest port.
That is enough to half-fill a typical container ship -- although just a small portion of the 1.7 million 20-foot equivalent container units the Vancouver port handled in 2004.
However, companies importing goods under the 40-year-old Canadian Retail Shippers Association banner want to send the port and its associated businesses a "message" because of the port's failure to keep goods moving last winter.
"The decision we made to make the shift had to do with congestion on the West Coast," shippers association logistics president Doug Stewart said in an interview. "We're being, frankly, quite selfish. Our principal concern is for our customers. They are the ones that hold us accountable."
Shippers association members include Sears, Sony, Reitman's, Footlocker, Club Monaco and Saan.
"Consumers want to know that the product is going to be on the shelf when they are ready to buy," Brian Gerrior of Sears Canada said in a news release.
Containers started backing up in the Port of Vancouver around Christmas 2004, and the backlog was not cleared until April, frustrating retailers. Blame was shared among railways serving the port, terminal operators, truckers, and even warehouse operators.
Stewart agreed the announcement, which the Port of Halifax called a "major vote of confidence" for the east coast facility, was likely to spark some anxiety in the Port of Vancouver.
"Frankly, that's part of why we're doing it -- to make a point," said Stewart.
CP Rail carried about 75 per cent of the group's containers from Vancouver, with Canadian National taking the remainder.
CN will get 100 per cent of the Halifax business.
"We do hear from shipping lines that many West Coast ports are congested," said Michele Peveril, corporate communications manager for the Port of Halifax. "The retailers have been on our radar for a couple of years as a specific target for growth at the Port of Halifax."
Vancouver port officials played down the announcement, saying congestion issues have been resolved, and pledged there won't be a repeat this autumn when container traffic builds to its pre-Christmas peak.
"On the surface of it, it looks disappointing," said Chris Badger, Vancouver port operations vice-president, who noted that congestion is now non-existent.
Canadian Pacific Railway also said it has taken measures to head off congestion in future.
"The Canadian Retailers Shipping Association doesn't have to be concerned about CPR's capacity," said Len Cocolicchio, CPR's senior manager of public relations.
"We're investing $160 million to expand capacity on our western corridor. The work is underway as we speak. It will be complete in the fourth quarter of this year.
"When it is complete we will be able to move an additional four trains a day."
TWO WAYS TO TORONTO:
Despite a longer haul via the Suez Canal, once goods arrive on the East Coast there are more options for getting them to central Canada. From Vancouver, rail is the only economical option.
TOTAL DISTANCE 17,611 km
Singapore - Vancouver 16 days
Vancouver - Toronto 10-11 days
TOTAL 26-27 days
TOTAL DISTANCE 19,649 KM
Singapore - Halifax 23 days Halifax - Toronto 4-5 days
TOTAL 27-28 days
Ran with fact box "Two Ways to Toronto", which has been appended to the end of the story.
© The Vancouver Sun 2005
June 16th, 2005, 03:18 AM
Halifax grabs Vancouver container business
TOTAL DISTANCE 17,611 km
Singapore - Vancouver 16 days
Vancouver - Toronto 10-11 days
TOTAL 26-27 days
TOTAL DISTANCE 19,649 KM
Singapore - Halifax 23 days Halifax - Toronto 4-5 days
TOTAL 27-28 days
There is a problem with the numbers. First of all, Chinese exports tend to leave from Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. So if they were to go through the Suez Canal, it takes a few more days to get to the Strait of Malacca, adding to the 23 days to Halifax. If they went east to Vancouver, then the time will be shortened from 26-27 days because China is closer to Canada than Singapore. Hence the difference between Vancouver and Halifax widens considerably.
However, East Coast ports have been wondering whether they can help alleviate congestion on the West Coast. Perhaps the opening of the Northwest Passage can make the Asia - Northeast route viable.
June 18th, 2005, 05:55 AM
Vancouver Port runs smoothly, officials say: Reacting to criticism
16 June 2005
VANCOUER - A day after a group of top retailers blamed congestion for a decision to move some of their business away from the Port of Vancouver, officials at the port insisted their operations are moving smoothly.
The huge pile of containers that started clogging operations last summer and remained until the spring is cleared up and has been gone for more than a month, said Scott Galloway, director of trade development at Canada's busiest port.
Mr. Galloway said the port and the railways that serve it remain "open for business and ready to grow."
However, the Canadian Retail Shippers Association revealed Tuesday that it plans to begin moving Asian manufactured goods through the Port of Halifax as a way to avoid bottlenecks at the Port of Vancouver.
"We have increasing product volumes from the Asian market and consumers want to know that the product is going to be on the shelf," said Brian Gerrior, general manager of imports at Sears Canada Inc. and chairman of the Canadian Retail Shippers Association. "This is a strategic move and the Port of Halifax has the right combination of services and connections to get our products to market."
The CRSA's membership includes such giants as Sears Canada Inc., Reitmans Canada Ltd. and Sony of Canada Ltd. Next Month, the organization will start moving about 4,000 containers a year through Halifax.
Karen Oldfield, chief executive of the Halifax Port Authority, hailed the decision, calling it "a major vote of confidence in the Port of Halifax as a smart gateway for Asian trade to enter North America."
Four thousand containers is a relatively small number, considering that Vancouver ships about 1.7-million containers a year.
But according to the CRSA the move is intended to "send a message" to the Port of Vancouver and the various operators that shippers don't want to face a repeat of the troubles of late 2004 and early this year.
Doug Stewart, head of CRSA Logistics, told the Vancouver Sun earlier this week that part of the reason for the decision to go through Halifax is "to make a point."
Over the last three years, freight volumes from China have increased dramatically, causing a tidal wave of new trade that swamped West Coast ports from Los Angeles to Vancouver. The entire transportation system was strained, including the railways. Indeed, observers say the main reason the problem was so visible at the ports was because the railways lacked the capacity to move the freight off the docks.
As a way to avoid the troubles, many shippers have already been quietly shifting to East Coast ports. However, this week's CRSA announcement is the first public statement by major Canadian retailers of this kind of action.
Over the last 18 months both of Canada's national railways have taken significant steps to deal with the increased flow of goods. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. recently launched $160-million upgrade to its network in Alberta and British Columbia. And both CP and Canadian National Railway Co. have been co-operating with track-sharing agreements to allow them to move more freight over the same infrastructure.
Back in April, CN announced plans to invest more than $30-million in operations around a new container terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert on British Columbia's north coast.
"We have been running very fluidly since last year," said Len Cocolicchio, a spokesman for CP.
June 28th, 2005, 07:42 PM
Truck strike slows containers at Vancouver's port
Mon Jun 27, 4:36 PM ET
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Truck drivers handling containers at the Port of Vancouver, Canada's busiest port, launched a strike on Monday in a bid for higher pay and extra money to cover increased fuel costs.
The more than 1,000 drivers handle an estimated C$30 million ($25 million) in goods per day, with most of their traffic involving shipments between the port and locations in British Columbia and Washington state.
The Vancouver Port Authority urged a labor mediator be brought in to end the dispute between shippers and the drivers, who are independent owner-operators but are represented by an association.
"This can't go on," said authority spokeswoman Anne McMullan.
The drivers say the per-container rates paid by shippers have slipped in recent years, often leaving them only C$50 in daily take-home pay after operating expenses such as fuel are paid for.
Railroads, which handle most long-distance container traffic to and from the port, said the dispute was having no immediate impact on their operations.
June 30th, 2005, 06:02 AM
Vancouver port reputation 'damaged' by strike
29 June 2005
VANCOUVER - Amid escalating tension around a container truckers strike at the Port of Vancouver, the Business Council of British Columbia yesterday warned that the dispute has already damaged the port's reputation as a place to do business.
"We have suffered from labour issues in the past and this will be perceived as another symptom of an unstable labour climate," said Jock Finlayson, the business council's executive vice president.
More than 1,000 truckers have been off work since Saturday, halting the flow of about 40% of the containers that move through Canada's largest port.
Mr. Finlayson's comments come a day after several groups, including the port itself and the Retail Council of Canada, called on the federal government to step in to try to resolve the disagreement between independent truckers and the shippers that employ them.
But four days into the strike, observers are increasingly pessimistic that the truckers will go back to work any time soon.
There were several reports of intimidation yesterday, including one alleged incident in which a truck had its windows smashed. The driver was confronted by a group of men with guns who opened fire on his vehicle. The driver escaped unharmed.
Both the federal and provincial governments say they are unable to intervene because the dispute is between two private sector groups with no collective agreement.
"There really is no role for us to play here except to try to facilitate discussions," said Kevin Falcon, British Columbia's Minister of Transportation. "And for that to happen there must be a willingness on the part of both sides to sit down and talk." Mr. Falcon said he is concerned about growing levels of violence around the job action, and warned that that will only further delay hopes for a resolution of the dispute.
The Port of Vancouver is Canada's gateway to the Asia Pacific region, last year handling about $43-billion worth of goods.
About 60% of the containers moving through the port are transported by rail, with the remainder travelling by truck.
The impact of the strike is so far being felt mostly by retailers in British Columbia, who rely on trucks to deliver their mostly Asian-manufactured inventory. The province's forest industry which exports some of its products by container is also feeling the effect of the work stoppage.
But the main fear is that backlogged containers will soon start to pile up at the port, disrupting rail traffic as well.
Anne McMullin, a spokeswoman for the Port of Vancouver, said port operators are frustrated because a dispute between two relatively small groups that does not directly involve the port is causing such serious disruption.
July 7th, 2005, 05:35 PM
Idle Truckers Causing Vancouver Containers To Pile Up
By Lynne Olver
5 July 2005
VANCOUVER (Dow Jones)--In the second week of a freight dispute, mediated discussions between local container-truck drivers and their trucking-firm employers appear to have ended. Truckers are still not hauling goods to and from the Port of Vancouver.
The local drivers, part of a new organization of owner-operators called the Vancouver Container Truck Association, stopped serving port terminals last week, saying they need higher wages and a 15% surcharge to cover the soaring cost of fuel.
A press release posted on the VCTA's website Tuesday says the group "regrets the collapse of the facilitated talks," despite mediator Vince Ready's efforts during three days of "intense talks."
The VCTA, which says it represents about 1,000 drivers, says trucking-firm brokers "failed to step up to the plate." About 30 broker representatives took part in talks over three days, but another 20 didn't show up, the VCTA release states. A spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Long-haul truck drivers and railways are still delivering and taking away containers from Vancouver port terminals. About half of all incoming containers are moved out of the terminals by rail. And some ocean-shipping lines are helping terminal operators by taking empty containers back to Asia to free up storage space.
But containers are still piling up, said Darcy Clarkson, president and chief executive of terminal operator P&O Ports Canada Inc., which runs Centerm, a container and pulp terminal in east Vancouver.
"I was really disappointed to see talks broke off, we're definitely feeling the pain now," Clarkson said Tuesday. "The whole thing is so complicated."
(The truck drivers aren't employed by the Vancouver Port Authority or the terminal operators; drivers are hired by various trucking firms that compete for business from shipping lines.)
Truck drivers have made their point, and should return to work while a resolution is found, Clarkson said. If the work stoppage continues, terminals may not be able to offload vessels and the port's reputation will be damaged worldwide, he said. Some importers may have already made alternative arrangements, such as shipping their goods to U.S. West Coast ports, Clarkson said.
Mike McLellan, terminal manager at TSI Terminal Systems Inc.'s Vanterm facility, said both Vanterm and the Deltaport facility south of Vancouver have heavy weekend schedules for ships. Containers are usually stacked in yards five high and seven wide, he noted. "Once you run out of container-yard space then you've got to do what we call block stowing, which is basically you go up against a fence five high, and as deep as you can. You could have 200 containers in a block." Whenever the dispute ends, it will take longer and cost more to find individual containers, McLellan said.
The dispute may also affect some exports.
Lee Coonfer, a spokesman for forest-products company Canfor Corp. (CFP.T), said about 40% of the firm's Asian pulp exports are transported in containers. "We're working with our customers to see if we can meet those volumes by break bulk (non-containerized cargo)," Coonfer said Monday. That isn't some customers' preferred method of transport, so Canfor may have to try other alternatives, such as exporting containers from the port of Seattle. "We would definitely like to see a resolution to this," Coonfer said of the trucking dispute.
The Port of Vancouver has estimated that 40% of container cargo arriving in Vancouver, worth about C$30 million a day, is being slowed by the dispute.
July 13th, 2005, 08:34 PM
Vancouver port row threatens jobs, B.C.'s image: coalition
13 July 2005
The Globe and Mail
VANCOUVER -- A coalition of Western Canadian coal and forest products shippers is calling for an end to a trucking dispute at the Port of Vancouver, which it said is hurting British Columbia's reputation and killing jobs.
The warning came as representatives of 1,200 truck drivers met with employers and a facilitator in suburban Surrey yesterday in a bid to end a two-week-old work stoppage that has brought container traffic through the port to a standstill.
“Work disruptions like this, particularly violent ones, send a very negative message to our trading partners in worldwide markets, who already believe we have a shaky track record,” said Ian May, chairman of the Western Canadian Shippers Association.
The independent drivers, represented by Vancouver Container Truckers Association, stopped work on June 27 to protest against low rates and rising fuel costs. The dispute is affecting about $30-million worth of goods that would normally move through the port each day.
The shipping coalition said yesterday it is not unsympathetic to the truckers' situation. But it called on B.C. Solicitor-General John Les to take swift action to identify and prosecute militant independent drivers who are allegedly resorting to violence as a strike tactic.
“This strike, entering its third week, is killing jobs and these tactics are killing our reputation as a place to do business,” Mr. May said.
B.C. Labour Minister Mike de Jong said yesterday he hopes that talks between the truck drivers and facilitator Vince Ready will lead to some progress. “B.C. is a trading province, and anything that hampers our ability to export or import goods, is bound to cause trouble.''
July 14th, 2005, 05:33 AM
lol - is this just a big newspaper clip posting thread now? Wow, I never have imagined cargo from Asia being diverted to Halifax, it seems so - impractical.
July 14th, 2005, 05:53 PM
I don't think it's yet feasible to route cargo through Halifax unless the West Coast ports are so congested ships have to wait many days at sea to call. Perhaps with global warming, the Northwest Passage will be a viable alternate route.
July 20th, 2005, 04:46 PM
Seattle expects Vancouver boxes
19 July 2005
Journal of Commerce
SEATTLE -- Officials at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma expect some containers to be diverted from Canada's Port of Vancouver for storage until a strike by short-haul truckers is settled.
"We are expecting a small number of diverted containers this week," said Mick Shultz, spokesman for the Port of Seattle.
He stressed that that number would be very small, with the containers off-loaded at the port's major terminals from Grand Alliance and Hanjin Shipping vessels.
"We'll store them temporarily until the strike is over," Shultz said, more as a favor to shipping lines that need to keep to their schedules.
Shultz said the port's terminal operators and truckers are not eager to handle a large number of Vancouver's containers because they already are fully occupied with their own Seattle traffic. The port is on a record pace this year, with containers up 26 percent through May from a year ago, also a record.
"This is not business we're actively seeking at the Port of Seattle," Shultz said. "We're busy enough as it is."
The situation is much the same at Tacoma, where officials had not yet seen any quantifiable numbers of Vancouver boxes diverted or stored on their docks.
About 1,000 mostly independent drivers represented by the Vancouver Container Truckers Association went on strike June 27 demanding higher pay from motor carriers. No negotiations have taken place since last week.
Employers renewed their complaint that drivers are making unreasonable demands in rejecting an offer of rate hikes averaging 28 percent.
Meanwhile, one of Canada's largest retailers says the strike is forcing it to consider gateways other than Vancouver -- the country's busiest port -- for its Asia imports.
Brian Gerrior, a national manager with Sears Canada, in a statement posted on the port's Web site, said that Vancouver's "unstable labor situation"..."makes business nervous, so we're reassessing how we bring goods into this country. Frankly, it may be better to spend an extra couple weeks at sea and to come in through an East Coast port, if that's what it takes to make sure the product gets to the customer."
In another statement, Vancouver Port Authority President and Chief Executive Gordon Houston said that railroads are refusing to load marine containers in other parts of Canada that are destined for the Vancouver market, due to the potential impact on their operations. Houston also claimed that shipping lines are holding back goods destined for Vancouver from as far away as Europe.
TSI Terminal Systems, operator of the Deltaport and Vanterm terminals, said it will bar truck containers beginning July 22 at its Deltaport terminal and July 23-24 at its Vanterm facility.
Local containers account for about 40 percent of the port's overall volume.
The dispute has not affected long-haul containers moving by rail to the U.S. Midwest.
July 21st, 2005, 07:14 AM
Ah the beauty of Vancouver's left wing union dominated labour force. More money for the US cities of the Pacific Northwest, I suppose. I knew Vancouver's transit system is really bad but now, even the seaport systems are in trouble! Somebody should shoot the man in charge of transportation or something since that is something Vancouver seems to be so poor at ;)
July 23rd, 2005, 06:30 AM
Trucking talks still stalled at Canada's top port
Mon Jul 18, 6:26 PM ET
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - There has been no progress in talks to end a strike by the Port of Vancouver's short-haul truck drivers as the dispute enters its fourth week, the trucking companies said on Monday.
The dispute over the drivers' demands for sharply higher rates has slowed container shipments through Canada's busiest port, and shipping companies want the federal and provincial governments to intervene.
A provincially appointed facilitator has met with the sides several times, but has been unable to bring them closer together.
The companies renewed their complaint that the 1,000 drivers -- who are owner-operators but are represented by the new Vancouver Container Truckers Association -- are making unreasonable demands in rejecting an offer of rate hikes averaging 28 percent.
No ships have been diverted from the Port of Vancouver, but they are only unloading containers being transferred to rail cars. Railroads handle about 67 percent of the container traffic moving through the port.
July 23rd, 2005, 09:17 PM
Port strike costing $75 million a week
LABOUR I Vancouver Board of Trade figure is far higher than $30 million previously estimated
Saturday, July 23, 2005
The work stoppage by container truck drivers now entering its fifth week is costing the Canadian economy about $75 million a week, far more than the $30 million previously believed, according to an economist with the Vancouver Board of Trade.
"Thirty million [dollars] a week of [gross domestic product] impact, that's the direct impact on the transportation system," Dave Park, chief economist with the Board of Trade said in an interview. "Using a multiplier of about 2.5 suggests that the $30 million a week, including the sectors other than transportation, is really closer to $75 million a week."
The multiplier -- how one industry's economic output affects the economy as a whole -- was determined by InterVistas, a transportation consulting firm that provides market research and forecasting to customers, including the Port of Vancouver.
On Thursday, the Board of Trade sent a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin urging the government to end the work stoppage before there is any further damage to the Canadian economy.
"The Port is going to lose some business, that seems pretty clear," Park said.
Manitoba-based Canadian Special Crops Association also sent a letter to the prime minister asking him to intervene. The letter said the strike in Vancouver was affecting the livelihood of thousands of farmers across Canada.
And B.C. retailers issued a news release Thursday calling on the provincial and federal governments to intervene.
"We have a very significant number of members that are being negatively affected," Retail BC president Mark Startup said in an interview.
"It's time for Ottawa to wake up to this thing and realize that our national transportation system is being held up for ransom by a small group of unorganized truckers that have taken an illegal action," Startup said. "And it is time for the government to perk up and get this thing resolved immediately."
Retail BC represents more than 3,000 B.C. retail businesses. About two-thirds of its members are beginning to feel an impact, Startup said, and half of those say inventory levels are threatened.
"We are now moving into the crisis phase where there will be a direct impact on the companies," Startup said.
Vancouver-based Urban Barn is one of those affected. It has between 30 and 35 containers sitting at local terminals.
"Like most furniture retailers, we rely on fresh inventory rolling through," Urban Barn president Rick Bohonis said. "And part of who we are is the fact that we change the look of our styles very often."
The store has been stocking its inventory by finding alternative routes, such as shipping to its warehouses in Edmonton and Calgary, but that is becoming quite costly, Bohonis said.
He thinks the federal government should step in to resolve the dispute.
"Our focus right now is to get the word out to the public, get the word out to the federal government," Bohonis said.
But even when the port is up and running again, Urban Barn will continue to look at using alternative routes.
"We will look at other options. We will look at Seattle. We will look at Portland. A lot of our expansion over the next couple of years is in southern Ontario. We'll look at dropping containers in Toronto," Bohonis said. "Because even if this is settled, until [local ports] can prove that this is a stable place to land containers, why do business there?"
Bohonis, Startup, Park and the Canadian Special Crops Association, as well the Retail Council of Canada, which represents more than 9,000 members across Canada, believe that the federal government can use the Canada Transport Act to force truck drivers back to work. That act says the federal government can "take any steps [it] considers essential to stabilize the national transportation system."
"The minister simply needs to step in, invoke the [Canada Transport Act], order these people out of the way, and then get them to the table to talk about the long-term resolutions that are needed to solve this problem," Startup said.
But the government disagrees.
The act "cannot be used to force the container truckers back to work," Peter Graham, director of communications for federal Labour Minister Joe Fontana, said in an interview.
And talking about the Canada Transport Act has just taken some of the pressure off the parties to find their own solution, Graham said.
"It's proven to be a bit of a distraction from what has to take place at the negotiating table with [facilitator Vince] Ready," Graham said.
The provincial government is also pinning its hopes on Ready, Graham Currie, spokesman for Labour Minister Mike de Jong said.
"Use Mr. Ready, get back to the table, get it resolved," Currie said.
Despite the optimism of the governments that Ready can find a solution, no meetings between the parties are currently scheduled, Ready said. However, he does expect to be in contact with the parties over the weekend.
"In a difficult dispute like this you've got to just keep grinding and hope that you can get some basis for a settlement. So far, there hasn't been one," Ready said in an interview. "I'm not sure at this point if that has changed or not."
© The Vancouver Sun 2005
July 29th, 2005, 05:53 PM
Truckers strike threatens Canada's trade with Asia
Markus Gaertner in Vancouver
29 July 2005
South China Morning Post
A strike by truck drivers that threatens to cripple Vancouver's local economy and trade with Asia entered its fifth week yesterday.
Since June 27, more than 1,000 drivers from 49 trucking companies have been refusing to haul containers off Vancouver's docks.
The drivers are calling for higher pay to compensate for the rising price of fuel. As a result, more than 25,000 containers have been left on the city's waterfront.
The port authority estimates that US$410 million worth of goods that should have been moved on to wholesalers and retailers have been caught up in the backlog.
Analysts see some serious impact from the standoff, which is affecting two-thirds of outbound container shipments through Canada's main maritime gateway to the Pacific.
The port's three principal trading economies - China, Japan and South Korea - together accounted for 38 million tonnes of cargo last year. That is more than double the combined tonnage for the rest of Canada's top 10 trading partners.
With the strike strangling the flow of leading Asian exports such as coal, grains, sulphur, potash and wood pulp, the labour action is starting to hurt Canada's booming commodity exports to Asia.
But the hold-up in incoming cargo is no less a problem. With more than half of Canadian retail imports originating from the Asia-Pacific region, the port is a strategic component of the country's retail supply chain. Roughly 70,000 - half of the nation's small merchants - import the majority of their produce from Asia, mostly furniture, clothing, electronics and toys.
"We're hearing from increasingly desperate retailers. Sales are being lost, customers are irate and employees are worrying about layoffs," said council president Diane Brisebois.
Several processing plants in the important fishing industry already had to lay off employees or reduce work hours.
Shipping brokers are reported to have offered rate increases of about 28 per cent to the truck drivers, who are said to be demanding between 40 per cent and 60 per cent.
The Vancouver Board of Trade and related business organisations demanded earlier in the week that the federal government step in and order an end to the strike, which escalated last Friday when eight trucks of a Richmond company were shot at. Nobody was injured.
But on Wednesday, Federal Industry Minister David Emerson refused for the second time to intervene in the standoff.
"If you're a trucker and you're losing money on every container you're hauling, why would you go back to work? What right does government have to say you have to lose money?" he said.
July 30th, 2005, 06:09 PM
New cranes for Vancouver
27 July 2005
Journal of Commerce Online
Canada's Port of Vancouver today received two new container cranes that will double container capacity at its Centerm facility.
The Chinese-made cranes, each as high as a 35-story building, were being partially disassembled in preparation for passage Saturday under Vancouver's Lion's Gate Bridge.
P&O Ports Canada purchased the C$19.2 million ($15.5 million) cranes as part of a C$148 million redevelopment project for the Centerm container-break bulk terminal in Vancouver's Inner Harbor. The project will double Centerm's capacity to 720,000 TEUs annually by March, 2006.
"We will be able to handle the increased volume of containers that we know is coming," said Darcy Clarkson, chief executive of P&O Ports Canada.
The Vancouver Port Authority has projected that its container volumes, which totaled 1.7 million TEUs in 2004, will more than triple by 2020. The two cranes bring the Centerm roster to five, and will enable the terminal to service two vessels simultaneously when they enter service in six weeks, P & O Ports said. They can service ships twice the size of those currently calling Vancouver, the company said.
August 1st, 2005, 09:13 AM
There should be some sort of back-to-work legislation to ban such activity. Their strike is going to directly affect the jobs of thousands of Canadians if no action is taken anytime soon.
This is even worse than those teacher strikes, and this strike is going to hit the working class pretty hard.
August 3rd, 2005, 10:31 PM
Containers to start moving out of ports today
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
About 50 per cent of the Lower Mainland's container shipping companies say they'll sign an agreement that should see containers starting to move out of Vancouver-area ports today.
And the Vancouver Container Truck Association executive is telling its members who work for those companies to go back to work, effectively ending a five-week work stoppage that has stalled $750 million in goods and cost the Canadian economy some $375 million.
The breakthrough came after 25 companies, which employ about 500 drivers, promised to sign a memorandum of agreement proposed by facilitator Vince Ready and already approved by the drivers.
The companies unanimously rejected Ready's proposal Sunday, but said they did so because of a lack of enforcement procedures.
The Vancouver Port Authority then stepped in with a licensing system to address those concerns. That system required a company to get a 90-day licence to access the ports. To get that licence, the companies had to agree to be bound by the terms proposed by Ready.
But to be bound by those terms, Ready and the VCTA took the position that the memorandum of agreement, which has a term of two years, had to be signed. And some companies balked at that.
"We were fully prepared to go and sign for the 90-day temporary," said Mike Bowman, vice-president of Pro West Transport. But Pro West will not be signing the two-year deal.
Pro West intends to sue the Vancouver Port Authority saying the licensing system is illegal.
Facing opposition from companies like Pro West, the VCTA approached each company individually, asking whether it would sign. As of Tuesday, 25 had promised they would. The VCTA is hoping the rest will follow suit.
The likelihood of that increased with an announcement by the Vancouver Port Authority late Tuesday afternoon that it was amending its licensing requirements so that signing the two-year agreement was now necessary.
That forces all the companies back to work, the companies' spokesman Richard Longpre said in an interview.
"If people are jammed, they're jammed," Longpre said. "I think they have no choice. You can hold your breath if you want . . . but sooner or later you have to gasp for air and that means signing."
That's good news for Vancouver terminals.
"We are full to the brim. We have had to stand down a couple of ships and tell them we just simply didn't have room to take them in," said Darcy Clarkson, president and CEO of P&O Ports, which operates Centerm terminal in downtown Vancouver.
That means turning away ships or sending them to Seattle, which Clarkson says he hates to do.
When drivers return to work will depend on when their employers sign the two-year agreement, Halliday said.
So some drivers will start today, others may not start at all, if their employers don't get a licence.
"Originally the VCTA's position was we all go back or none of us go back. But circumstances change," Halliday said.
© The Vancouver Sun 2005
August 3rd, 2005, 10:59 PM
There should be some sort of back-to-work legislation to ban such activity. Their strike is going to directly affect the jobs of thousands of Canadians if no action is taken anytime soon.
I would rather drag union leaders into the street and shoot them in the face.
August 3rd, 2005, 11:02 PM
^^ Ironically, they used to do that in Communist China.
August 4th, 2005, 01:06 AM
China's ports giving Vancouver a peek into the future
3 August 2005
The Globe and Mail
HONG KONG -- In a sea of mind-boggling growth statistics, it's tough deciding which sector best illustrates China's economic rise. Transportation, given its link to external trade, is a good place to start. Look no further than China's container ports to understand the profound influence that China is having on world trade.
Also consider the challenges to China's trading partners, to maintain the flow of materials into the workshop of the world, and to handle the flow of goods out.
But first, those China ports. It's another case of waking up and saying, “Hey, wait a minute, was that there yesterday?” Through-put numbers from various sources for three of China's major ports — Shenzhen in the south, Shanghai in the Yangtze Delta, and Qingdao in the north — tell quite a tale.
In 1995, Shenzhen handled 284,000 TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalent units, of container cargo. A decade later, at the end of 2004, it had chalked up more than 13.6 million TEUs for the year. Shanghai did 1.5 million TEUs in 1995; that reached 14.6 million last year. Qingdao's rise has been similar: 600,000 in 1995 and 5.1 million 10 years on.
Now combine those three to get the big picture: from 2.4 million TEUs in 1995 to 33.3 million in 2004.
These numbers reflect two things. First, the huge increase in China's trade in manufactured goods. Second, a planning emphasis on infrastructure that has been perhaps the single most important facilitator of China's growth.
China has ramped up its ports at a frightening pace, and this is not going to stop any time soon. The situation of Hong Kong — in 2004 the world's busiest container port — is illustrative of the shift that has taken place towards China ports. In that same 10-year period quoted above, Hong Kong's TEU handling has gone from 12.5 million to 22 million per annum. A respectable increase, about 75 per cent, but it's clear what has gone on here.
Shenzhen, which is right next door in the Pearl River Delta, has seen traffic increase 47 times (albeit from a very low base).
A couple of weeks ago, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada issued one of its regular bulletins, posing the question “Is Vancouver prepared for China's return to the high seas?” The foundation, which is working on a longer report on the topic, illustrates the growth in China with the Yangshan port project now under way near Shanghai. This is a $12-billion (U.S.) undertaking with a plan out to 2020. Shanghai and area will be by far the largest port in the world by then.
What's going on at this end of the trade equation? As the foundation points out, while China has been pouring money — both domestic and foreign investment, public and private sector — into its ports, North America has lagged. West Coast ports need substantial investment, and interestingly Los Angeles is trying to attract Chinese and South Korean investment in its ports. Vancouver's port estimates that it will need about $1.4-billion (Canadian) spent by 2020 to meet projected demand.
All of this is a bit overwhelming, isn't it? Maybe a reality check is in order. In Vancouver, concerns are a little more parochial at the moment.
While Asia is busy taking on the 21st century, things on this side of the Pacific sometimes seem firmly rooted in the mid-20th. The port situation is a case in point, and this has implications beyond the here-and-now.
This columnist was in Vancouver in late July, as the work stoppage involving truck contractors who serve the Port of Vancouver entered its fifth week. One thousand truckers have frozen the port in a dispute over rates and fuel costs. This spat is no joke: It is costing British Columbia an estimated $75-million a day, says Vancouver's Board of Trade. A lot of traders, big and small, who deal with Asia are hurting badly.
The long-term problem here is reputational damage. Navel-gazing like this is not something that an international port can afford, especially one that may be looking for investment in the future. Sure, in the short term truckers can choke things off to press their demands, but globalization means having alternatives, and they will be found. The business you lose now may not come back.
Sure, some will say how can you compare Asian ports with one in Canada? One is an emerging market, the other mature. Mature, indeed. To the point of sclerosis.
Tom Grimmer spent more than a decade in the investment banking business and is now a Hong Kong-based consultant.
August 6th, 2005, 05:16 PM
Containers move again from Vancouver port but long term uncertain
BY STEVE MERTL
4 August 2005
The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER (CP) _ Trucks hauling shipping containers are once more trundling out of Port of Vancouver terminals after a strike by truckers that lasted almost six weeks.
But businesses that saw their goods held hostage in the bitter dispute are wondering nervously about long-term stability even as a task force is set up to tackle the port's chronic problems.
Port authority spokesman Duncan Wilson said Thursday that 82 trucking companies so far had agreed to a deal worked out this week through mediator Vince Ready that boosts rates paid independent truckers and adds a fuel surcharge for at least a year.
There are about 350 trucking firms employing more than 1,000 truckers,"but there's only 50 or 60 big ones so we've pretty much got all the big players," said Wilson.
If the companies don't sign on, they won't receive the temporary port authority licence needed to gain access to the docks.
The task force, whose members are likely to be named next week, will have 90 days to come up with recommendations to eliminate transportation bottlenecks and undercutting among trucking firms, issues that led to the truckers' revolt.
"We think that this task force will really provide the opportunity to profile some of those issues and get everyone's attention on the need to get them addressed," Wilson said.
But companies who've been told it will take one to six weeks to clear the backlog of 25,000 containers holding their goods from the port's terminals are not pinning all their hopes on the new panel.
"I think it would be silly for anyone to suggest that these issues are going to be resolved overnight," said Laura Jones, B.C.-Yukon vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
"Those members who have a choice have told us that they are seriously considering using other ports _ Seattle. Some have talked about Montreal."
Meinen Brothers Agricultural Services of Agassiz, B.C., didn't even have a container trapped behind last month's picket lines to push its business to the brink.
Ben Meinen was awaiting a container with $75,000 worth of equipment from Germany for an uncompleted dairy barn. It landed July 7 in Montreal but he said CP Rail refused to ship it west because of the congestion in Vancouver.
"There's twenty-some-thousand containers stuck all over the country," he said.
"I have all my cash flow tied up in this container," said Meinen, who's been forced to lay off an employee.
"I'm not getting any return on my money so I have to go get another operating loan and the banks don't want to talk to you now because you have no more money to show for it. I'm starting to hurt pretty bad."
The shutdown has had a ripple effect across Canada. While most containers are destined for B.C. businesses, some are unpacked and their goods trucked elsewhere.
"We've heard from some furniture retailers as far east as Quebec," said Kevin Evans, western vice-president of the Retail Council of Canada.
Schenk Architectural Imports of Calgary still doesn't know when its container of desk-drawer hardware will make it off the Vancouver dock.
"Even now that the strike's over nobody seems to be able to give us any information here," said owner Carl Schenk, forced to spend $8,000 to air-freight a shipment so his client can keep its office furniture production line running.
Schenk will consider routing his next shipment through the Seattle-Tacoma container port, or Montreal or Halifax.
"We don't want to get stuck again," he said. "It's already cost us in the neighbourhood of $20,000 by the time we're all done."
Meinen has another container loading in Holland in a about week.
"I'm probably going to get that one shipped to Tacoma in Washington because the States won't allow a strike to go on that long," he said.
It's hard to know how many other businesses are thinking the same thing, said Wilson.
"Only time will tell whether we've lost permanently," he said. "We do know that when we lose business it's very hard to win back."
Truckers closed Vancouver's port in 1999, the year its docks were also hit by a longshore strike.
Every time there's a labour dispute at the port the business community wrings its hands and questions Vancouver's reliability.
Mushrooming Asian imports, which have pushed all West Coast ports to capacity, have perhaps masked uneasiness shippers feel about Vancouver.
"But we're seeing higher growth rates in container volume at the other West Coast ports now than we are here," Wilson said. "That's an indication that we could probably be getting more out of this opportunity."
Business leaders agree the port is a weak link in the West's transportation infrastructure.
"Our view is that this labour disruption was a symptom of something deeper," said Evans.
Recommendations in the wake of the 1999 stoppage to shift to year-round, 24-hour operation and adopt high-tech solutions to reduce truck waiting times were still unfulfilled when truckers walked out again last month.
Evans said his members are willing to work with other stakeholders to resolve these issues.
"But at the end of the day their primary interest is to their customer and ensuring that they've got a tight supply chain and logistics chain," he said. "If they can't get it at the Port of Vancouver they are going to look for alternatives."
A good-faith gesture, Evans suggested, might be for terminal operators and shipping lines to forego millions of dollars in demurrge, fees normally charged when uncollected containers sit on the docks.
"I guess our message here is that if you're interested in restoring good customer relations, which has really taken a hit, then you're going to take a look seriously at giving some of these folks, particularly smaller folks, a break," he said.
Consumers may be among the winners in this dispute, Evans added. Look for sales on seasonal items when retailers finally get their goods delivered.
October 23rd, 2005, 08:56 AM
Ottawa plans to spend up to $590-million to ease congestion at B.C. ports
22 October 2005
Ottawa has pledged as much as $590-million for improvements to ease congestion at British Columbia ports, which serve as the country's gateway to Asian markets, including China. Immediate investments of as much as $190-million will pay for roads and railways, new customs agents and the creation of a council to direct port development. The council will recommend how to spend the remaining $400-million. The government joins Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. in upgrading links to ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert to ship Asian cargo. The value of cargo handled by British Columbia ports is expected to soar from $35-billion today to $75-billion by 2020.
October 30th, 2005, 04:04 AM
Vancouver races to grow Asian trade
29 October 2005
The Globe and Mail
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Port Authority has big plans for capturing China's burgeoning trade with North America, but it has to move quickly to keep pace with U.S. ports in the Pacific Northwest.
The Port of Seattle is building new off-site container yards near the docks, while Portland is dredging part of the Columbia River system in order to allow it to handle larger ships. “We need to go from planning to building or we will miss the opportunity,” said Jim Cox, vice-president of infrastructure with the Port of Vancouver, Canada's largest container port.
To cope with an expected increase in traffic between now and 2020, Vancouver plans to triple its container capacity to 5.2 million TEUs — 20-ft equivalent units, the standard industry measure for containers — from 1.7 million.
Total volume at the port is expected to grow by about 2.3 per cent a year to 106-million tonnes by 2020. Last year, the total tonnage that moved through the port, including cargo in containers, was 73.6 million tonnes. Of that, 21 per cent or 15.6 million tonnes was shipments to or from China.
The $1.4-billion expansion plan includes construction of a new container berth at the Roberts Bank port south of Vancouver.
In a move that is seen as crucial to the port's growth, Ottawa has announced $590-million in funding for railway and port improvements .
November 9th, 2005, 03:51 PM
Canadian ports head for cargo records
By Leo Ryan
7 November 2005
CANADA’S biggest container ports, Vancouver and Montreal, are steaming towards new container cargo records judging from just-released figures for the first nine months of the year.
Asia and Europe are respectively the leading overseas trading partners of these Pacific and Atlantic gateways.
The nine-month statistics point to 5% box growth at Vancouver despite the negative impact of last summer’s five-week work stop- page by container truckers in the Vancouver region.
The British Columbia port handled 1,3m teu in the period to the end of September compared with the 1,2m teu a year earlier.
All told in 2004, Vancouver handled 1.7m teu.
On Friday a task force established following the summer dispute will be releasing its recommendations for more efficient movement of containers by truck at the Cana- dian west coast ports of Vancouver and Fraser River.
Box traffic at the port of Montreal is continuing to move at a brisk pace towards another annual record, a press release stated.
Statistics released for the first nine months of this year show container cargo rising by nearly 4% to 8.3m tonnes, which is 300,000 tonnes more than a year earlier.
Translated into 20ft-equivalent units, the port handled 905,143 teu by the end of September compared with 899,179 teu during the same period of 2004.
“There is no doubt that 2005 will be our fourth consecutive record year for container traffic,” said Dominic Taddeo, president and chief executive of Montreal Port Authority.
Montreal is the leading port on the east coast of North America for the north Atlantic container trade, handling 1.2m teu in 2004.
Twelve of the top 15 world shipping lines call at Montreal, which serves as a strategic gateway to the industrial heartland of Canada and the US from its inland location on the St Lawrence River 1,600 km from the Atlantic Ocean.
Most recent new container customer is Rotterdam company Holland Maas Container Line, which has launched a four-vessel service linking Montreal with the Caribbean and Latin America.
December 3rd, 2005, 05:21 PM
Source & more photos : http://www.portvancouver.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?display=1&pageid=1
December 5th, 2005, 04:26 AM
Journal of Commerce Online
November 29, 2005
Vancouver plots $1.3B expansion
Container traffic through Canada's Port of Vancouver is expected to triple during the next 15 years, while bulk cargo shipment is expected to grow by 25 percent, said Gordon Houston, the port's president and chief executive.
In a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade, Houston said the port will have to invest to compete with U.S. ports. He said Seattle and Tacoma are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in new terminal infrastructure, "and the U.S. government is investing millions more in new road and rail systems to serve these ports. The same is true of Los Angeles-Long Beach. All of our competitors see the same growth opportunities we see. They all understand that Asia Pacific cargo will ultimately flow to those gateways that provide the most competitive and reliable service."
To help compete and to increase the port's market share, Houston said there are six terminal infrastructure projects either planned or underway at the port.
The port will add a new terminal or expand an existing one every two
years between 2006 and 2020, at a capital cost of about C$1.5 billion ($1.3 billion), he said. He said bulk terminals are being expanded to handle demand for Canadian export commodities such as coal, sulphur and grain.
There are two major projects at Roberts Bank, Houston said. The first is an expansion of the existing Deltaport container terminal. The second is the development of an all-new container facility, Terminal 2. It will add about 2 million TEUs of container capacity to the port, "or about 40 percent of the 5 million TEUs capacity we need to develop by 2020," he said.
In October, Canada's Transportation Minister Jean Lapierre was in Vancouver to announce a $590 million investment in the Pacific Gateway program, which he referred to as a "down payment" on the federal government's commitment to transportation infrastructure and other requirements necessary to achieve the country's Asia-Pacific trade goals.
December 18th, 2005, 06:06 AM
Terminal velocity: As China races ahead with port expansions, Vancouver's plans for Deltaport run aground
17 December 2005
While a giant gorilla terrorizes New Yorkers on the silver screen, those trying to ramp up Vancouver's ports to handle the onslaught of shipping containers coming from Asia have a primate problem of their own.
Amid the boom in trade with China and growing competition from rival ports on both the east and west coasts, the Vancouver Port Authority wants to expand its Deltaport operations, which sit roughly 35 kilometres south of Vancouver. It plans to add a third berth to the existing terminal and eventually build a second, even larger terminal nearby.
But not if a small-yet-vocal group of local residents who call themselves Against Port Expansion, or APE, has anything to say about it.
Their tactics can be downright hokey. This week at an open house hosted by the port authority, one protester dressed her daughter in a gorilla costume, replete with bright red lips and a straw hat.
Still, they've become a thorn in the side of the project's proponents.
Add to that uncertainties over the environmental review process and some in the industry now worry that delays and cost overruns could threaten the Port of Vancouver's ability to compete.
"We're at capacity now, and as this goes into next year, there will be labour shortages, concrete shortages, steel shortages and construction costs will go up," said Norman Stark, president and CEO of TSI Terminals Systems Inc., the company that will operate the new berth.
"Vancouver is already losing market share to ports in Seattle and Los Angeles."
Vancouver's port is a cornerstone of the much-heralded $2.5-billion Pacific Gateway plan to turn British Columbia into the preferred port of call for Asian exporters and importers. Yet the plodding expansion of Deltaport stands in sharp contrast to rapid-fire port projects going on in China, where sound environmental reviews are scant and opposition is steamrolled.
This month, the Yangshan deep water port near Shanghai began operation. In just three years, developers erected a man-made island connected to the mainland by a 30-km bridge. Its terminal is capable of handling more container traffic than all the ports in Canada combined.
"It's staggering to come over the hill and see that thing," said Gordon Houston, president and CEO of the Vancouver Port Authority, who visited the Yangshan port in September. "They've built that entire complex in the same time that we've been working on expanding this berth. This is what we're up against."
Last February, after a series of public meetings, the port authority submitted its proposal to federal and provincial environmental agencies for review. Port officials had hoped to begin construction by now and have the expansion completed by 2008. Now the work may not start until the second half of next year, pushing opening day to 2009.
Federal environmental agencies asked that further studies be completed, which were presented to the public at the open house on Tuesday night in the town of Tsawwassen.
Angry residents packed the hotel conference room.
"This is an absolute farce," said Delta resident and farm owner Roger Emsley.
Opponents argue the port expansion and construction of a second terminal threatens the local environment. Just north of Deltaport sits an internationally recognized habitat for millions of migratory birds and there are worries it will be affected by increased air pollution. They also point to the impact of increased shipping on sensitive marine life.
Meanwhile, other residents are upset at the prospect of even more container trucks and trains clogging what are already congested roads.
"I know the container business is huge and we need to take advantage of it, but at what cost?" said Chris Hopkins, who has lived in South Delta for three decades. "The traffic is already a killer. It will cut off this community."
While the angry APE group has not been able to scuttle the expansion plans, it has proved effective at causing delays.
This month the group approached Delta Mayor Lois Jackson after the province's environmental assessment office granted the public 30 days, starting yesterday, to comment on the latest reports. Ms. Jackson wrote a letter urging the deadline be extended because of the Christmas holidays. The public now has until the end of January to submit comments.
"It's a victory in that we forced them to change the date, but nine days more is still insufficient," Mr. Emsley said.
For its part, the Port Authority says its environmental plan deals with any impact from the expansion. "We have a really solid habitat plan," said Patrick McLaughlin, director of planning and development for the port.
The expansion will require 20 hectares of infill while the port authority's environmental plan calls for the creation of 26.4 hectares of new habitat and improvements of existing fish and wildlife habitat.
"It more than offsets the impact of this project," Mr. McLaughlin said.
Once the provincial environmental review is done, then the proposal will go to Ottawa for review.
Jan Hagen, who is reviewing the Deltaport expansion for the province, acknowledges the difficulties the project has faced in getting approval.
"It's good in that it demonstrates there is a transparent process, but it's bad in that the port has to keep going back to consultants to prepare reports," said Mr. Hagen of the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office. "It has delayed things and that's the downside of this process."
Bottlenecks on the region's roads are not just a problem for residents, but also for the port, which wants to see highway improvements and a new transportation route built to accommodate the increased truck traffic.
Members of APE vowed to continue their campaign to block the expansion by writing letters to Ottawa and through protests in Vancouver.
Mr. Houston said shipping companies have already expressed concerns about Vancouver's ability to handle their container traffic. They're turning to other ports on the West Coast as well as New York and Halifax to meet demand.
"We have to change the way we think if we're going to compete," he said.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Economic activity generated by Deltaport operations 35 km south of Vancouver
Projected economic activity after a proposed expansion of Deltaport operations
Economic activity generated by container trade through Vancouver ports in '04
Projected economic activity after all port expansion projects, including Terminal 2
Current capacity, in TEUs* of the Port of Vancouver
Projected total capacity, in TEUs, of the Port of Vancouver in 2020
Current capacity, in TEUs*, of Yangshan Port in Shanghai
January 25th, 2006, 06:39 AM
Growing Sino-Canadian trade threatens migratory birds
TSAWWASSEN, Canada, Jan 25, 2006 (AFP) - A proposed Pacific port expansion to boost Canada's capacity to cope with skyrocketing Chinese and other Asian imports threatens a significant North American bird habitat, according to opponents.
The coastal area 35 kilometers south of Vancouver where a Hong Kong company hopes to add a third berth to a bustling port is a stopover for more than one million migratory birds each year.
The site is a link in a chain of sanctuaries on both South and North American continents where they rest, nest and fatten up on local fish, bugs and berries.
It is also one of few suitable sites available to expand Canada's west coast shipping capacity, as container traffic looks set to triple by 2020, say proponents of the 272-million-Canadian-dollar (236-million-US) project.
A third berth at one of North America's largest Pacific coast container terminals will allow operator TSI, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas International, to process 1.3 million TEUs (20-ft equivalent units) per year by 2008, up from about 900,000 TEUs last year.
Such development would have a devastating effect on the birds, said ecology professor Mary Taitt, representing a local opposition group.
"It is probably one of the top ten sites in North America for migrating birds," she said. "The removal of this area threatens to destroy a major stopover on the Pacific flyover of these migrants, many of whose numbers are in decline already. It really does threaten an irreversible environmental catastrophe."
The site is part of the Boundary Bay ecosystem, named Canada's top "Important Bird Area" in 2001. More recently it was also named a "Hemispheric Site," the highest designation for shore birds.
During fall and winter, some 100,000 waterfowl live here. Each spring 500,000 Western Sandpipers pass through. Other residents include bald eagles, snowy owls, Great Blue Heron and 310 other bird species.
Patrick McLaughlin, director of planning and development for the Vancouver Port Authority, dismissed the group's objections as "misinformed" and against development "under any circumstances."
"This project will not destroy wildlife and marine habitats. The port authority has initiated a plan that provides more habitat than is being impacted on," he said.
The port authority received support from local residents who welcomed the economic spin-offs.
"The port is not a monster," said Leslie Abramson, a florist and the former president of local chamber of commerce. "They pay 6 million dollars (Canadian) in taxes and add 11 million dollars to the local economy."
Others remain sceptical.
"I'm prepared to boycott Chinese goods if I have to," said Inger Kam, 67, who owns a bed and breakfast in Tsawwassen.
The pro-business provincial government has refused to intervene on behalf of the birds.
A final decision whether to go ahead with the project now rests with Canada's environment minister and is due in the late spring.
January 27th, 2006, 04:22 AM
Cda's Railroads To See Efficiency Gains With Latest Deal
By Monica Gutschi
26 January 2006
TORONTO (Dow Jones)--Canada's two largest railroads have unveiled another fistful of deals designed to improve the flow of traffic through Vancouver, the country's gateway to Asia.
The moves are also widely seen as helping Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) improve its productivity, a key goal for the railroad this year.
"If we can get a fluid operation, it just obviously has to contribute to the efficiencies," said company president Fred Green.
Under the series of agreements, Canadian Pacific will handle all trains moving along the Vancouver port's south shore, while Canadian National Railway Co. (CNI) will handle the north shore.
The agreements also allow "direct-to-destination" trains that can bypass switching yards, eliminating handoffs and reducing shipping times out of Vancouver.
The deal comes about a year and a half after the two railroads initially agreed to work together in the area, establishing a preliminary series of cooperative ventures to smooth traffic through Canada's busiest port.
"This is a much broader expansion of the cooperative agreement that we had," said Canadian National spokesman Mark Hallman. "This is the way we can maximize the benefits of the system."
Industry observers and company officials said the moves should help both railroads improve their operating ratios - a much more important goal for Canadian Pacific than for Canadian National, which already leads the industry in that efficiency measure.
Calgary-based Canadian Pacific has long lagged its larger Montreal-based rival in terms of operating ratio, with a subsequent impact on its stock price.
Canadian National reported an operating ratio of 61.8% in the fourth quarter, maintaining its lead among North American Class 1 railroads. Canadian Pacific, which will report its fourth quarter financials on Tuesday, had an operating ratio of 77.4% in the third quarter.
Although that number is still among the best in the industry, observers say it has contributed to Canadian Pacific's valuation gap with its domestic competitor.
In Toronto Thursday, Canadian Pacific shares are up C$1.39 to C$53.94. Canadian National, which soared to an all-time high Wednesday, is down 39 Canadian cents to C$100.35.
Industry sources say one of the ways Canadian Pacific plans to change the productivity gap with its peer is by accelerating its head-count reductions and reorganizing its management structure. The company plans to cut about 400 jobs this year, up from the 300 it had previously planned. As well, the company has begun to give more responsibility to those on the front lines, those sources say.
Green declined to comment on the staff cuts and operational restructuring, noting that any announcements of that sort would likely be made when earnings are released.
But analysts and investors say the company appears to be moving on to the right track.
"CP has clearly showed a renewed focus and urgency to reduce costs in the system," said David ******, analyst at National Bank Financial. He said the recent series of agreements with Canadian National made sense for both railroads but were of far greater importance for Canadian Pacific, as its operations are concentrated in the western part of the country.
****** doesn't own shares in either company and National Bank doesn't have an investment-banking relationship with either company.
And Keith Taylor, who holds Canadian Pacific shares in the funds he manages for Guardian Group, said the railroads have been working hard to eliminate bottlenecks in the system. Fluidity in Vancouver is particularly important to Canadian Pacific, he noted, as Canadian National has access to other ports along the west coast, including a container facility it is developing in Prince Rupert, B.C.
January 28th, 2006, 04:46 PM
Vancouver Port Authority Awards Cruise Operations to Ceres
16 January 2006
VANCOUVER, Jan. 16 /CNW/ -- VANCOUVER, Jan. 16 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Port Authority (VPA) and Cerescorp Company (Ceres) have signed a 10-year cruise ship services and terminal management agreement for the port's two cruise terminals at Canada Place and Ballantyne Pier, commencing with the 2006 cruise season.
Ceres was selected by the VPA following a competitive bidding process. "Ceres's bid was consistent with the Port of Vancouver's standards for providing world-class passenger services and facilities for the Alaska cruise market. They have also demonstrated a strong commitment to further develop Vancouver's cruise industry," said Captain Gordon Houston, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Port Authority. Ceres will be responsible for providing cruise vessel stevedoring and terminal services at Canada Place and Ballantyne Pier.
The Port of Vancouver was recently named the most passenger-friendly cruise port in North America by London-based Berlitz travel publishing company, with top marks for user friendliness and luggage handling. "That's a reputation the port wants to maintain," said Houston.
John Hansen, President of the North West CruiseShip Association is looking forward to building a solid relationship with Ceres as it takes over operations in Vancouver. "Smooth terminal operations are a critical component of a successful cruise industry and we intend to work closely with Ceres to ensure Vancouver's reputation is maintained and enhanced," said Hansen.
Ceres currently provides service at cruise terminals in Bayonne, NJ, Brooklyn, NY, and Baltimore, MD. "Ceres is pleased to be working with the Vancouver Port Authority and is fully committed to maintaining the world-class status of Vancouver operations. We look forward to welcoming our existing and new customers to Vancouver in the 2006 cruise season," said Bruce Cashon, Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Development at Ceres.
The Port of Vancouver is Canada's largest and most diversified port, trading $43 billion in goods with more than 90 trading economies annually. With two downtown cruise terminals, Vancouver is a favorite home port for the Alaska cruise industry, handling more than 900,000 passengers from approximately 280 sailings every year.
Cerescorp Company and its affiliated companies were acquired by Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) of Tokyo in October 2002. Ceres is a stand-alone company within the Harbour Division of the NYK Group and has stevedoring and terminal operations in the North American ports of Montreal, Halifax, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, Miami, New Orleans, Houston and Hueneme.
January 31st, 2006, 07:05 AM
Port of Vancouver expansion delayed
By PETER KENNEDY
Monday, January 30, 2006 Posted at 9:09 PM EST
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
The Vancouver Port Authority says federal government red tape has delayed its expansion plans by a year and caused it to lose ground to U.S. rivals in the race to capture trade with China and other Asian trading partners.
The port said Monday it had hoped to launch a $280-million expansion of its Delta port terminal, about 40 kilometres south of Vancouver, which accounts for about 53 per cent of the port's container traffic capacity.
But requests by the federal government for more environmental impact studies have delayed plans to begin construction on new facilities designed to boost capacity to 1.3 billion TEUs, an increase of 400,000 from current levels. (A TEU is a standard “twenty-foot equivalent unit” shipping container.)
It is now expected that the new facilities will not be available until January, 2009, a year later than expected, according to Gordon Houston, president of the Vancouver Port Authority.
“This process seems to be really slow and ponderous,” Mr. Houston said. The port ranks as Canada's largest and most diversified port, with the capacity to handle $43-billion worth of goods annually.
Mr. Houston said lack of capacity is one of the reasons why Vancouver is getting left behind U.S. rivals, which have more capacity to handle shipments to and from Asia, and which saw double digit growth in traffic last year.
In 2005, Seattle, Long Beach and Tacoma in Washington state reported increases of over 16 per cent in container traffic volumes.
By comparison, the volume of container traffic through Vancouver rose by just 6 per cent in 2005 to 1.7 million TEUs, according to statistics released Monday by the port authority.
Canadian exports groups said the strike last summer by short-haul container truckers was a stark reminder of how dependent they are on Vancouver for imported components, subassemblies, and other manufacturing inputs.
“The more backlogs we see, the greater the impact on the Canadian manufacturers,'' said Werner Knittel, vice-president of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters' B.C. division.
Mr. Knittel said the addition of two new 30-storey container cranes at the Port of Vancouver's Centerm terminal is a boost to Canadian manufacturers because they will enable the port to handle the world's largest ships.
But he said shippers are looking to additional new capacity that would be provided by the expansion of the Delta port as well as the development of a $170-million container facility at Prince Rupert, B.C. “This is absolutely needed,'' he said.
Within the next 15 years, the Port of Vancouver expects to see a 25-per-cent increase in bulk cargo shipments as well as a 300-per-cent rise in container traffic.
Mr. Houston said Vancouver must improve its competitive position, otherwise the opportunity to be a facilitator for rising Asian traffic will be lost.
Still, he said trade through the port grew by 4 per cent to 76.3 million tonnes in 2005. The rise was driven by sharply higher exports of petroleum products and canola, and record container traffic volumes.
Those increases, however, were offset by the 5-per-cent decrease in forest products exports, which account for about 10 per cent of the port's total export volume.
Mr. Houston attributed the decrease to the economic downturn in B.C.'s troubled coastal forest sector, and a 12-per-cent drop in lumber shipments.
February 24th, 2006, 02:17 PM
mic of Orion
February 26th, 2006, 02:48 AM
very nice :)
February 26th, 2006, 09:00 PM
Nothing to fear from foreign ownership, says Vancouver ports
25 February 2006
VANCOUVER - Despite the brouhaha the deal ignited in the United States, authorities in Canada say there is nothing to fear from leasing a Vancouver port facility to a company owned by a Middle Eastern government. "There is absolutely no threat," said Duncan Wilson, a spokesman for the Vancouver Port Authority. In Washington, however, the ownership change sparked a chorus of complaints from politicians who fear the sale of facilities at six American ports to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates could leave the U.S. vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Late Thursday, the UAE company, Dubai Ports World, offered to delay part of its US $6.8-billion ports takeover to allow President George W. Bush -- who backs the sale -- time to change Congress's mind A subsidiary of P&O Ports owns the long-term lease on a container terminal on Vancouver's Burrard Inlet.
Darcy Clarkson, the President and CEO of P&O Ports Canada, said that when control officially changes hands Friday, nothing will change on the ground in Vancouver.
March 26th, 2006, 04:02 AM
Federal minister Stockwell Day checks out port security in Vancouver
24 March 2006
The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER (CP) - The British Columbia government was compensated Friday for some of the costs of two major floods in the province in 2001 and 2003.
Federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day presented a $12-million cheque to his B.C. counterpart John Les in a ceremony at the Vancouver waterfront.
The presentation followed a tour by Day of parts of the city's waterfront, where he viewed security measures and had a demonstration by Canada Border Services Agency officials of a ROV, or remotely operated vehicle.
The vehicle allows the examination of the entire exterior portion of a vessel's hull below the water line. The vehicle transmits images to monitors.
Day also said that the X-raying of containers on ships will continue to increase as technology becomes available.
"Eventually you'll see the day in the not too distant future where every container coming off a ship will be X-rayed.''
Public safety and emergency preparedness, which also come under Day's responsibility, have become important issues since the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the United States five years ago.
His ministry includes several agencies, including border services, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP.
The compensation for flooding includes more than $10 million for flooding in the Peace River area in northeastern B.C. in 2001.
Many residences were damaged and transportation infrastructure was damaged.
The other flood happened in 2003 in the southwestern area of the province, including Vancouver Island. That flood resulted in evacuations from the Squamish and Pemberton areas. Compensation for that totalled about $1.3 million.
July 6th, 2006, 09:18 PM
Major terminals take the first step to extended hours at port of Vancouver
Pilot project will see major dockyards operate into the evening every Tuesday
30 June 2006
Terminals and off-dock facilities are joining forces to extend hours for container traffic, a move aimed at increasing capacity and easing congestion, the Vancouver Port Authority is expected to announce today.
Vanterm, Centerm and Deltaport, as well as the five main off-dock facilities in the Lower Mainland will stay open late Tuesday nights starting July 4, in a pilot project to see whether shippers and receivers will use the extended hours.
By having the off-dock facilities participating, it allows trucks to do exactly the same business they would do during the day, Vancouver Port Authority vice-president of customer development and operations, Chris Badger said in an interview.
That should ease capacity and allow more traffic through the ports, he said.
Right now the Vancouver Port Authority is looking at sustainable growth of 10 per cent a year, but so far this year container traffic is up 20 per cent compared to last year, Badger said.
"So clearly there is demand there and by opening these gates and giving more access to the terminals and the Lower Mainland off-docks we're going to be able to move these containers," Badger said.
But to make the longer hours translate into more containers also requires the cooperation of the shippers and receivers, said Dave Bush, president of Marco Marine Container, one of the off-dock facilities.
"We've tried doing some of this in the past and not had much success in getting volume," Bush said in an interview. "So we are trying to get everyone on the same page."
The off-dock terminals store empty containers that are dropped off by importers after they have been emptied and delivered to shippers who fill them for export. So while having the terminals and off-docks open is a start, shippers and receivers -- such as Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire -- need to take advantage of the extended hours, Bush said.
"You have to have the whole supply chain open," Bush said. "Before it was only certain links of the chain and that was a problem."
The off-dock facilities will now remain open until 9 p.m. while terminals will work as late as midnight if there is demand.
Rick Bryant, president of the Chamber of Shipping, called getting the off-dock facilities onside a "real breakthrough" which could mean a real increase in capacity.
"There's lots of interest in bringing in more cargo and if this is going to lead to bringing more cargo in then this is a good news story for us," Bryant said.
The Vancouver Container Truckers' Association, which represents the container truck drivers that staged a work stoppage last year to protest against low rates and long wait times at the port, did not return telephone messages. However, members of the VCTA have previously complained that longer gate hours translate into longer shifts.
July 12th, 2006, 11:54 AM
Vancouver port authorities look at integration
Larger size could attract greater volumes from fast-expanding Asian markets
VANCOUVER -- The three port authorities in Greater Vancouver have begun talks to consider the possibility of integrating their operations to create the second-largest port in North America.
In a meeting last week with federal Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon, the chief executive officers of Vancouver Port Authority, Fraser River Port Authority and North Fraser Port Authority agreed to begin discussions about how to start the process.
Fraser River, located in New Westminster, is the second-largest port in Canada, behind the Vancouver Port Authority. North Fraser, which is headquartered in Richmond under the Arthur Lang Bridge, is the smallest of the three ports.
The Vancouver Port is already the biggest in Canada and the inclusion of the two others would be significant in attracting higher volumes from the fast-expanding Asian markets.
Talks regarding an amalgamation of the three ports have been continuing informally for years, but China's rise as an exporting giant has increased the urgency for co-operation among the ports, which are all separate bodies under the Canada Marine Act.
An integrated single port combining all three of the Lower Mainland operations would be the second-biggest in North America behind the port in Long Beach, Calif.
The ideal situation for the three ports would be to evenly distribute business among the different authorities and increase volume for everyone.
Currently, Fraser River can take in more containers. A long-standing complaint for the Port of Vancouver has been that it can't keep up with the volume coming in.
Chris Badger, vice-president of customer development and operations at the Vancouver Port Authority, said the federal government invited officials to sit down and begin figuring out how integration talks should work.
"The government is looking at the importance of the gateway to the future economy of Canada and the trade links being generated with Asia," Mr. Badger said yesterday. "They obviously perceive a well co-ordinated gateway would be the best way of ensuring Canada capitalizes on this increased trade."
The three ports have not set timelines or even agreed to integrate, but are discussing how to proceed.
Each port has a specialized area, although there is overlap between them. The port in Vancouver is dominated by container traffic and Fraser River Port receives automobiles arriving from overseas. North Fraser Port, which includes the Vancouver International Airport, is used primarily for shipping logs.
Forest companies use all three ports for shipping resources to Asia and other markets.
North Fraser Port Authority president and CEO Allan Baydala said there is no interest in a merger or a takeover.
Rather, an integrated port would be an entirely new entity and not an expanded Port of Vancouver or Fraser River Port, he said.
"What we're looking at is a tremendous opportunity for growth by taking advantage of the Pacific Gateway," Mr. Baydala said yesterday.
"We see an opportunity to join forces," he said, adding they are "looking at a port that is bigger than the sum of its parts."
The exercise the ports will undergo in the next few months is looking at the advantages and disadvantages of integrating as one massive port.
"We can all find items to put in the plus and the minus columns. We'll have different pluses and minuses and that's what we're all going to be figuring out for ourselves," Mr. Baydala said.
August 7th, 2006, 03:27 AM
Vancouver on Track to Top 2 Million Teus
BY ALAN DANIELS
7 August 2006
The Port of Vancouver is on track to pass the 2-million-TEU mark in 2006, with container shipments up 21 per cent to 1.04 million TEUs through the first six months of the year.
"With the busiest season still ahead of us, we expect to easily pass the 2-million-TEU mark by the end of the year," predicts Chris Badger, vice-president of customer development and operations for the Vancouver Port Authority.
Consumer demand for manufactured goods from Asia, particularly China, continues to drive the surge in container traffic. However, port officials say the increase was partially due to a redirection of cargo to the Port of Vancouver from Fraser River Port.
Mid-year stats for other cargo show significant increases in forest product exports, canola and inbound steel volumes. However, coal and potash exports are down compared with the first half of 2005.
After paying high commodity prices last year, coal and potash buyers have been delaying their 2006 purchases to work down their inventories and take a tougher stance in their contract negotiations, port officials say.
This and other market factors resulted in potash falling sharply, down 60 per cent to 1.3 million tonnes, compared with the record first-half volumes seen in 2005.¬YCoal shipments totalled 11.6 million tonnes, down 10 per cent compared with the same period last year.
On the up side, lumber and wood pulp exports soared by 12.7 per cent and 12.2 per cent respectively due to increases in wood production from areas in B.C. that have been hit by pine beetle infestation and to a strengthening Japanese economy.
"The turnaround in the Japanese economy represents additional opportunities for Canadian exports," Capt. Badger said.
The impact of rising biodiesel and ethanol demand on global oilseed markets has resulted in a sharp 93-per-cent rise in exports of canola through the port to 2.3 million tonnes.¬YPoor growing conditions elsewhere also led to higher-than-usual demand for Canadian wheat and specialty crops. The result was an overall 28-per-cent increase in grain shipments to 5.5 million tonnes.¬Y Inbound breakbulk steel imports are also up 17 per cent due to continued strong demand from the construction and oil and gas industries in Western Canada.
Early season results for cruise passengers show a decline of 11 per cent, due to increased competition from Seattle.
"While the Alaska market continues to grow, we're still experiencing some loss in business to Seattle," Capt. Badger noted.
That business is not lost to British Columbia, however, as most Seattle-based ships call at Victoria, on Vancouver Island, which has seen a dramatic increase in the number of vessel calls over the past few years.
August 3rd, 2007, 04:05 AM
Freight volume up through port of Vancouver
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Freight shipments through Vancouver, Canada's busiest port, jumped by 4.5 percent in the first half of the year and are expected to set a record in 2007, port officials said on Wednesday.
Nearly 40 million tonnes in freight were shipped through the Pacific Coast port during the first six months of 2007, led by a 137 percent increase in potash exports and a 25 percent increase in lumber, the port authority said.
Container traffic increased by 5 percent with higher than anticipated export traffic.
Wheat traffic decreased by 25 percent as some shipments were diverted to the port at Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and canola oil was down as shippers switched to using rail to reach North American markets, the port said.
Cruise passenger traffic was up by 25 percent.
July 5th, 2009, 08:24 AM
CN and CP Rail in switching deal at Canadian port
18 July 2008
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 18 (Reuters) - Canada's two biggest railways, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific , have agreed to jointly handle rail car switching at Vancouver's Deltaport container facility, the companies said on Friday.
The railroads, which move about 70,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers each year through the Pacific Coast facility, will allow a jointly owned division to manage switching operations at the terminal.
Switching had been done by a unit of Denver-based OmniTrax, and railway officials said the new agreement would streamline operations at the facility at Roberts Bank, about 40 km (25 miles) south of Vancouver.
Rivals CN and CP already co-operate on many of their operations in British Columbia, including sharing main line tracks through the Fraser Canyon that are used by the container trains to and from Vancouver.
The railways reach Roberts Bank on a spur line owned by BC Rail, which the provincial government had put on the market as part of its effort to privatize the regional railway's freight operations in 2003.
The province pulled the Roberts Bank line off the market after police alleged two provincial government officials had accepted money for providing confidential BC Rail documents to a lobbyist for privately held OmniTrax.
The trial of the officials, who were the only ones charged in the case, has been tied up amid allegations that prosecutors have failed to fully disclose government documents to defense lawyers.
September 1st, 2009, 05:17 PM
Vancouver cruise ships to plug in to cut pollution
VANCOUVER, British Columbia , Aug 31 (Reuters) - Cruise ships docking in Vancouver, a popular hub for tourists bound for Alaska, can now plug into the city's electricity grid -- cutting their engines and their diesel air emissions.
Port Metro Vancouver, Canada's biggest port, unveiled a shore power facility for cruise ships while in harbor, a first in Canada and only the third of its kind in the world.
Cruise ships can now plug into the electrical grid of the provincial utility, BC Hydro, which says that its mostly hydroelectric-generated power is 90 percent nonpolluting.
"This project will significantly improve local air quality by reducing air emissions from cruise ships in downtown Vancouver throughout the cruise ship season," said Andrew Saxton, a member of Parliament for North Vancouver.
Long-term exposure to diesel engine exhaust likely causes lung cancer in humans and can trigger other lung and respiratory ailments, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Princess Cruises and Holland America Line have outfitted several of their fleet with onboard shore power equipment. Four Princess ships and one Holland America ship will use shore power in Vancouver during the 2009 Alaska season, which runs from May to September.
November 28th, 2009, 05:21 AM
Port Metro Vancouver's next stop: up the Fraser River
20 November 2009
The next route for expansion at Port Metro Vancouver is through the Fraser River, the port's chief operating officer Chris Badger told an audience of mayors and municipal representatives at the Vancouver Board of Trade's Metro forum on Thursday.
"Most people don't realize this, but the Fraser River is as important to the economic well-being of Canada as the St. Lawrence Seaway," Badger said.
In 2008, the St. Lawrence Seaway, which runs from the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence River to Montreal and into the Great Lakes, moved about 40 million tonnes of cargo. The Fraser River moved 30 million tonnes, Badger said. But the economic benefit of the tonnage moved through the Fraser River was in fact greater than its eastern counterpart, he said.
So the next stage of funding the port will be looking for will be to upgrade facilities along the Fraser, including replacing the 100-year-old New Westminster railway bridge.
"The bridge is at or near, or some people say beyond, sustainable capacity," Badger said.
The goal is to have ships move goods further inland before transferring their cargo to trucks for the rest of the trip, reducing traffic congestion.
"We believe there is great potential for the Fraser River to become a more usable green highway," Badger said. "Right now, economically it's not there, and it will not replace trucks but we think there is opportunity for the future."
While the opportunities aren't there yet, "they certainly will be in the next 10 to 15 years," he said.
December 31st, 2009, 02:36 AM
Port of Vancouver gets federal funding for freight access rail loop
26 December 2009
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) - The Port of Vancouver has secured another $2.9 million in federal funds to continue work on its freight access rail loop in West Vancouver.
The port now has secured $10.2 million of the estimated $18 million needed for the new rail loop project. The recent boost was included in the final 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act in Congress.
Construction on the project began in November. When completed, the loop will triple the number of rail cars that move through the port every year and reduce congestion on the BNSF Railway main line.
January 26th, 2010, 07:04 AM
Deltaport container terminal opens third berth
18 January 2010
Canwest News Service
VANCOUVER - The third berth at the Deltaport container terminal in Roberts Bank opened for business Monday, sporting the latest cranes that will not only accommodate the largest container ships in the world, but even larger ones that haven't yet been built.
The two-year, $400-million project increases the container terminal's capacity by 50 per cent, from 1.2 million containers a year, which are measured in 20-foot equivalents or TEUs, to 1.8 million. About 20 hectares of container storage space has also been added.
But it's the three new dual-hoist quad cranes, the first of their kind in North or South America, that sends a message to the world that Vancouver area ports are ready for business.
The expansion of the Panama Canal, which will allow super-sized ships to go through the canal rather than around the southern tip of South America, is slated to be completed in 2014, Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, said in an interview.
"And this type of new gantry crane is equipped to handle the widest ships that are out there right now and the widest that are even on the drawing boards," Day said. "So as people are making their long-term shipping decisions, it is sending the signal that Asia Pacific Gateway [and] Vancouver ports are ready for business now."
While the global downturn in the last 18 months has slowed business at Deltaport, as well as other ports around the world, projections are that demand through the Asia-Pacific Gateway will double in the next 10 years, Day said.
"And this is the type of thing where you can't wait for peak demand," he said. "You have to be ready and you have to be sending the messages that you're ready now, which we are."
Deltaport, which handles about 45 per cent of the container cargo that moves through Canada's West Coast and more than half of the cargo through Port Metro Vancouver, is operated by TSI Terminal Systems Inc., a division of GCT Global Container Terminals Inc., which is owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
April 8th, 2010, 04:52 PM
Alaska luring younger set
Timeless appeal of great scenery beckons travellers
For Canwest News Service
3 April 2010
An Alaska cruise used to be a trip of a lifetime, to be taken in your golden years. Not anymore. Today's cruising is for everyone, of every age group, from three to 103. As the average age of cruise passengers keeps dropping, the on-board activity level keeps rising. Royal Caribbean raised the bar when it installed rock-climbing walls on its ships' funnels, but all of the major cruise lines provide gyms, jogging tracks, exercise classes and other activities for their fitness-oriented passengers. What hasn't changed on a cruise to Alaska is the magnificent scenery.
Vancouver is the premier home port for Alaska cruises, attracting all classes of ships, from small luxury vessels to mainstream megaships. The city's broad-based appeal is due, in large part, to the fact that an Inside Passage cruise to Alaska begins the moment the ship leaves Vancouver Harbour. As the cruise ships thread their way northward along narrow channels that weave past snowcapped mountains and forested shorelines, they are retracing one of the world's most scenic sea routes.
Alaska cruises are usually seven days in length, and a round-trip Inside Passage itinerary features a full day at sea after leaving Vancouver, followed by four days in Alaskan waters spent visiting three ports of call and a tidewater glacier. The final full day of the cruise is again at sea, southbound for Vancouver. Seven-day, one-way cruises between Vancouver and Anchorage are also available and can be combined with a variety of Alaska land tours. The Alaska cruise season runs from May through September, and families are discovering that a trip to Alaska is an ideal summer vacation -- a week filled with fun for the kids and a chance to relax for the parents. While the youth facilities and supervised activities keep kids of various ages entertained, the parents are free to spend a few hours at the adults-only swimming pool, health spa or gym during the day, or enjoying an evening drink in the piano bar. Quality family time can be spent at meal times, on the sports deck or attending the nightly shows together, with juggling acts and magicians always popular with our two boys. And then there are the ports of call, with their promise of outdoor adventure.
The timeless appeal of nature remains unchanged in Alaska, but the ways in which cruise passengers can experience the great outdoors has changed. A skeptic might say that Alaska's call of the wild has been replaced with the clink of the cash register after observing herds of cruise passengers strolling past the souvenir shops. But if shopping's not your thing, it's easy to bypass the crowds and head into the wild.
Guided hiking, cycling and sea kayaking are all available, but if you prefer to strike out on your own there are plenty such opportunities at each port. In Ketchikan a good independent hike is up Deer Mountain (you need at least four hours to get to the summit and back) and in Juneau good hiking can be enjoyed on the trails of Mount Roberts (take the tram car from the cruise dock, $27 per adult) or near Mendenhall Glacier (take the shuttle bus $10 round trip from the dock area). Bicycles can be rented near the docks in Skagway, and a network of excellent hiking trails begins a short walk from the cruise pier (trail maps are available at the National Park Service office near the harbour).
Alternatively, you can book a rock-climbing excursion in Skagway, which is something our son Reid has done with his dad, rappelling together down the granite face of a mountain pass. In Ketchikan they went zip-lining over a rainforest canopy, which is also offered in Juneau. And dog mushing can be pursued on the vast Juneau Icefield -- if you don't mind shelling out several hundred dollars apiece for the helicopter ride and chance to be pulled across a frozen landscape by dog teams trained to race in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
One of the highlights of an Alaska cruise is when your ship draws close to the terminus of a tidewater glacier. Glacier Bay's numerous inlets contain over a dozen tidewater glaciers in total and ships visiting this bay (a national park) will spend an entire day here. Park Rangers come aboard at the entrance to Glacier Bay to provide commentary over the ship's intercom and draw passengers' attention to any wildlife they spot, such as a brown bear foraging on the foreshore or any of the humpback whales that feed here in summer. The number of vessels allowed into Glacier Bay each day is controlled by the U.S. Parks Service, so some ships travel instead to the head of Tracy Arm (a narrow fiord with two tidewater glaciers lying at its head) or to Hubbard Glacier, a massive glacier lying at the head of beautiful Yakutat Bay off the Gulf of Alaska.
Which Cruise Line?
The two cruise companies with the most ships servicing Alaska are Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Their ships provide premium service, accommodations, cuisine, entertainment and on-board facilities such as a gym, health spa, swimming pools, library, Internet cafe and facilities for children and teenagers, including quad cabins that can accommodate a family of four. (Third and fourth passenger fares are a fraction of the regular fare.)
April 9th, 2010, 02:35 AM
Vancouver might be the best place to cruise to Alaska from, but Seattle will have far more traffic this year, due mostly to the convenience of US passengers.
April 9th, 2010, 05:14 AM
Vancouver might be the best place to cruise to Alaska from, but Seattle will have far more traffic this year, due mostly to the convenience of US passengers.
It appears the tides are starting to turn. It used to be San Francisco, then Vancouver, and now Seattle. Is it because CAD is so high?
April 9th, 2010, 06:07 PM
It's border issues and air connections. Plus, people in the US know way more about Seattle, and want to visit.