Three bright spots shine on B.C. port’s mid-year totals

VANCOUVER — Port Metro Vancouver showed significant growth in coal, potash, and container volumes during the first half of 2008, but overall tonnage dropped slightly from the same period last year.

Influenced strongly by forest product market conditions, overall cargo volumes dropped five percent to about 58.5 million tons.

On the plus side, coal exports increased 10 percent to about 13 million tons, largely thanks to the strength in energy markets along with offshore supply issues, particularly in Australia.

High global demand for fertilizer boosted potash volumes by 10 percent to about 3.4 million tons and increased sulphur exports by seven percent to around 2.7 million tons.

“Our Port activity strongly reflects both international market trends and the relative strength of the Canadian economy,” said Captain Gordon Houston, president and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver. “These statistics, and the economic depth and diversity they echo, demonstrate the vital role that Canada’s largest port plays in the country’s economic well-being.”

Total container traffic increased by 4 percent at the port reaching 1.2 million TEUs. Port Metro Vancouver continues to rank third among North American west coast ports in terms of foreign laden container traffic, registering a six percent increase.

The strong growth in potash exports supports the Neptune Bulk Terminal expansion in North Vancouver recently announced by Canpotex as part of its plan to nearly double annual potash exports through the West Coast.

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