VANCOUVER, B.C. — The province of B.C. has announced it is developing a strategy to strengthen its ports with the potential to more than double their economic impact by 2020.
"Canada has only one Pacific province, and B.C. and its ports will play a leading role in defining our country’s place in a global economy increasingly driven by Asian markets and Pacific trade connections," Premier Gordon Campbell recently announced. "It is clear that we need to act now to ensure B.C. ports can retain and expand their competitive advantage as a gateway of choice between Asia and North America. A comprehensive, long-term B.C. ports strategy will help ensure we meet that opportunity as effectively and efficiently as possible."
He made the announcement at a one-day workshop aimed at soliciting input from port system partners on developing the full potential of B.C.’s ports. Representatives from the shipping industry, port system and various levels of government were on-hand. The province expects to release a final strategy in early 2005.
"We have the opportunity to dramatically increase not just the capacity of B.C. ports but also the economic benefits they generate in B.C. communities," said Small Business and Economic Development Minister John Les. "Our public- and private-sector partners in the operation of our ports will play a key role in helping us capitalize on that opportunity."
B.C.’s ports currently handle about $35 billion per year in trade while providing $4 billion in economic output to Canada’s economy. It’s expected the province’s ports could handle up to $75 billion in trade by 2020.
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