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INDUSTRY PULSE: 2004 Shipments up through Port of Vancouver

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The Port of Vancouver's import and export trade grew 11 per cent to 73.9 million tonnes in 2004,...

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Port of Vancouver’s import and export trade grew 11 per cent to 73.9 million tonnes in 2004, the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA) reports.

Shipments of sulphur, potash and containers all reached record levels, signs that Western Canada’s resource-based economy is thriving. Trade is being driven by demand from China and other Asian economies, the VPA says.

“The port is now a crucial component of a growing Canadian economy as North American trade with Asia drives growth at the Port for the foreseeable future,” says Captain Gordon Houston, president and CEO, Vancouver Port Authority. “The VPA has plans in place to expand its capacity to capture that growth for the benefit of Canadian industries and workers. With similar investments in infrastructure from our partners in Canada’s road and rail systems, we will be able to continue to strengthen the economy and add more than 50,000 Canadian jobs.”

Potash shipments surged 28 per cent to 5.9 million tonnes, sulphur volumes increased by 16 per cent to 6.2 million tonnes and the port saw an eight per cent increase in containers to 1.66 million TEUs (Twenty-foot equivalent units). Meanwhile, grain volumes increased 27 per cent to 8.5 million tonnes with lumber up 22 per cent to 2.3 million tonnes. Coal, the largest commodity shipped through the port also saw a two per cent jump totaling 24.7 million tonnes.

“The Port of Vancouver enjoyed an outstanding year for the shipment of most commodities in 2004 with high Asian demand for Canadian exports and strong Canadian demand for Asian-manufactured goods,” says David Stowe, chairman of the VPA. “This trend is expected to continue as we anticipate growth across all sectors with a projected tripling of container volumes by 2020. But these benefits can only occur with cooperation on transportation improvements.”

Houston added: “With unprecedented demand for transportation, we have already seen many achievements this year among the network of railways, trucking industry, communities and governments. But there are further challenges ahead and more work needs to be done to ensure we continue to support our customers and foster trade.”

The VPA is encouraging government to invest in transportation to "enhance the competitive position of Canadian business, retain and attract customers and the jobs, taxes and benefits that transportation produces."

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