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Asian market spurs growth at Vancouver Port

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Trade through the Port of Vancouver grew four per cent to 79.3 million tonnes in 2006, with cont...

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Trade through the Port of Vancouver grew four per cent to 79.3 million tonnes in 2006, with container traffic reaching 2.2 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units).

“In 2006, the port community worked very closely with transportation providers and labour to meet Canadian consumer demand and handle the ever-increasing growth through the Port of Vancouver,” said Captain Gordon Houston, president and CEO of the Vancouver Port Authority.

The Port of Vancouver was the only Pacific Northwest port to post overall tonnage growth in 2006. Strong Canadian market volumes and fewer cargo diversions through US ports contributed to overall volume increases.

With a 59% market share, China continues to be the leading recipient of sulphur exports through the Port of Vancouver, but tonnage has fallen 11% due to low volumes at the start of the year.

Overall forest products traffic was strong as a result of strong demand from Asia. Exports of forest products to China increased by 25% to 2.2 million tonnes in 2006. Volumes of forest products exported to Japan and South Korea also increased by three per cent and nine per cent respectively.

Specifically, volumes of lumber exports to Japan, the port’s largest lumber trading partner, increased by three per cent in 2006 after falling 18% from 2004 to 2005. Overall non-Japanese lumber markets are also strong and increased by 25% in 2006 compared to 2005.

Petrochemicals are performing well, as demand from Asia has been higher than expected. Outbound volumes increased by 61% to China, which is the port’s largest trading partner for organic chemicals.

Exports of canola showed a marked increase of 48% over 2005 due to an increased global demand for producing biofuels, which continues to drive total grain and agri-product volumes well above budgeted projections and 2005 volumes.

Breakbulk iron, steel and alloys at VPA terminals increased significantly again in 2006 compared to the same period in 2005. Major construction and building projects in B.C. and Alberta have continued to increase demand for import steel.

However, according to Houston, “Maintaining Canada’s competitive trade position requires that we continue to work with our industry and community stakeholders to develop sustainable growth solutions, including infrastructure, labour supply, reducing the port’s environmental footprint, and gaining community support.”

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