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Port of Vancouver moving record number of containers

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The Port of Vancouver is on pace for a record year in container shipments, which should mark the...

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Port of Vancouver is on pace for a record year in container shipments, which should mark the 14th straight year of growth for Canada’s busiest port.

In addition to container traffic, forest products and potash were also on the rise while some other bulk commodities suffered declines.

“The strong continued growth in containers speaks to the role that the Port of Vancouver can continue to play in increasing jobs and building our economy in the future,” said Capt. Gordon Houston, president and CEO of the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA). “With planned expansion at our container terminals, we have the ability to create thousands of new jobs and billions in new economic activity.”

Container growth was up 16 per cent during the first six months of this year, totaling 752,819 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Imports were up 21 per cent while exports increased by three per cent over the same period last year.

Overall tonnage moved through the port declined six per cent to 31.6 million tonnes and dry bulk shipments were down 10 per cent to 20.6 million tonnes. There was also a four per cent decline in coal shipments, which is the top commodity shipped through the port. The declines are blamed on a global economic slowdown, tougher international competition and damaged shiploaders at the port.

Another commodity that was down from previous years was grain down 44 per cent from last year due to bad weather and a well-publicized grain worker lockout late last year.

The VPA is once again calling upon the federal government to modify the Canada Marine Act, to allow the port more flexibility in raising funds for expansion.

"It is crucial that changes are made to the Canada Marine Act in order for the Port of Vancouver to remain competitive,” said Houston. “At this moment, U.S. ports are making massive infrastructure investments that threaten our ability to compete both now and in the future.”

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