Port of Vancouver volume increased last year despite pandemic, supply chain disruptions and flooding

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority says cargo volumes rose 1% to 146 million tonnes last year despite the pandemic, global supply chain challenges and extreme weather in British Columbia at the end of the year.

The country’s largest port says record container and foreign bulk volumes have helped maintain cargo volumes despite trade difficulties in a year in which the cruise season was canceled due to COVID -19.

Grain volumes were down 13% after eight consecutive record years due to drought in Western Canada in the second half of the year.

The number of shipping containers passing through the port increased by 6% to reach 3.7 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 2021, a record for the fifth consecutive year.

Amid increased container trade, a high number of empty containers put pressure on Canadian exporters as containers were rushed back to Asia to meet strong consumer demand in North America.

Limited port space

The port warns that serious supply chain problems will occur in a few years as container terminals on the west coast are expected to run out of capacity by the end of the decade.

“Vancouver’s port community has risen to challenge after challenge in 2021 – sometimes working around the clock – to keep the port connected to national supply chains and goods moving for Canadians,” said Robin Silvester, President and CEO. of the management of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the federal authority responsible for the Port of Vancouver.

General cargo increased 18%, with log volumes up 23%, base metals 51% and wood pulp 10%.

Dry bulk freight increased by 1%, coal by 19%, grain by 10%, potash by 13% and sulfur by 14%.

Liquid bulk tonnage fell 8% due to a 30% drop in canola oil, a 12% drop in crude oil and a 14% drop in chemicals.