Port of Vancouver focused on evolving to future demand

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The Port of Vancouver enables the trade of approximately $200 billion in goods, and sustains $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada. It’s forecasted to grow at about 3.5 per cent annually, and there is much to do to prepare for that level of growth.

“We’re very busy — have been very busy, looking 10-20 years out, into what major projects we need to be focused on to ensure that flow continues,” says Doug Mills, senior account representative with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

One of the projects underway is the development of a major terminal, which has been in the works for eight years, says Mills.

“The processes for getting approvals on environment, et cetera, just are very arduous, and in some cases for good reason, but that’s why we’re so focused so far out in the future, is to bring that kind of big infrastructure on…takes a lot of planning and forecasting.”

Beyond the time it takes to receive environmental approvals and construction permits, the port is also challenged by limited available industrial land; and that’s one reason the port authority runs demand forecasts based on new trade agreements, as well as new or maturing supply chains. A limited area means the port has to work efficiently. Continues below video player.

One of the ways the port is working to enhance efficiency is through the Supply Chain Visibility Project, a project aimed to help identify bottlenecks by looking at the real-time movement of cargo by land, road, rail, terminals and ships.

Mills says in talks with the Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, the ask is strategic, and it’s about projects like the Supply Chain Visibility Project.

“It’s about those pieces of infrastructure that are outside of our jurisdiction, that the government might help partner to fund — like the Supply Chain Visibility Project — to augment the capacity that is outside of our jurisdiction.”

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