Port Metro Vancouver 2008 statistics reflect bright spots despite worldwide economic conditions



    METRO VANCOUVER, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - 2008 end-of-year cargo statistics
released today by Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) illustrate that while
unprecedented worldwide economic difficulties have had a significant effect on
global trade, the Port has demonstrated stability and resiliency during this
period.
    While overall tonnage of 114,559,973 metric tonnes declined 10% compared
to 2007, the auto and container sectors were stable, in contrast to other West
Coast ports. Commodities such as coal, potash and petroleum products
experienced moderate increases. In contrast, breakbulk, mineral and forest
product volumes were significantly lower.
    "Our Port's statistics clearly reflect the interconnectedness of global
trade," said Captain Gordon Houston, President and CEO, Port Metro Vancouver.
"We are certainly not immune to the effects of current economic conditions,
but at the same time a number of factors, such as our high degree of
diversification and focus on the Canadian market, have allowed Port volumes to
remain relatively stable compared to many of the Port's competitors."
    Bright spots included coal volumes that increased by 3% to 25,930,257
tonnes in a volatile market. The growing thermal coal market offset declines
in metallurgical coal volumes. Petroleum products increased by 14% to
7,274,857 tonnes. Among the products in that sector, crude oil exports
experienced a modest increase of 3%, while gasoline surged by almost 50%. In
sharp contrast to the declining trend in the overall global market for
automobiles, auto imports remained steady at 456,442 vehicles.
    Port Metro Vancouver remained the leader in container traffic among
Pacific Northwest ports with a 38% market share. Overall container statistics
for the Port were largely unchanged from the previous year, at 2,492,107 TEU
(twenty-foot-equivalent unit). The ongoing downturn in the economy and erosion
of consumer confidence led to a decline in container imports in the latter
part of the year, while wavering demand and letters of credit issues had an
effect on containerized exports of forest products and specialty crops.
    Market conditions had varying effects on grain moving thought the Port,
which at 13,580,273 tonnes declined 7%. High prices early in the year led to a
depletion of stockpiles. A late harvest combined with lower prices late in the
year resulted in a 12% decline in wheat exports, while letters of credit
issues negatively affected specialty crops such as pulses, corn, oats and rye.
Conversely, canola increased 16% in response to strong market demand.
    Results in the fertilizer sector were mixed. The sulphur market
experienced radical changes in price, demand and supply, with exports ending
the year down by 11%. Demand for potash, which had a very strong year until
December, began to lower as producers controlled supply to maintain prices,
but finished the year in positive territory at 6,451,228 tonnes.
    A substantial decline in metals and minerals was largely attributable to
weakness in the market for aggregates brought on by the slowdown in the
construction industry.
    Breakbulk volumes experienced the most significant decline, at 25%, due
in large part to challenges related to the forestry sector.
    The cruise sector remained stable. A decline from 2007 was essentially
due to a vessel re-deployment, and both sailings and revenue passenger numbers
reverted to the trend line from previous years.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Port Metro Vancouver: 2008 End-of-Year Stats

    (in metric tonnes except Cruise category)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cargo Totals                        2008              2007     Change (%)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Tonnage                114,559,973       127,844,035          -10%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CARGO TYPE

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Autos (units)                    456,442           457,358            0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Breakbulk                     20,561,396        27,389,057          -25%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bulk - Dry                    63,107,176        69,495,722           -9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bulk - Liquid                  9,973,784         9,450,967           +6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Containerized                 20,461,174        21,050,931           -3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    COMMODITY HIGHLIGHTS

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Forest Products               25,184,979        31,256,396          -19%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Coal                          25,930,257        25,240,923           +3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chemicals/Metals/Minerals     15,357,840        19,931,616          -23%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Grain, Special Crops, Feed    13,580,273        14,564,770           -7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Potash                         6,451,228         6,367,969           +1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sulphur                        4,757,844         5,345,907          -11%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Petroleum Products             7,274,857         6,385,969          +14%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Container TEU            2,492,107         2,495,522            0%

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Laden TEU                2,153,815         2,195,087           -2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Import Laden TEU               1,238,350         1,262,297           -2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Export Laden TEU                 915,465           932,790           -2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cruise Ship

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Revenue Passengers               854,493           960,554          -11%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sailings                             254               275           -8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Port Metro Vancouver is Canada's largest and North America's most
diversified port, trading $75 billion in goods with more than 130 trading
economies annually. Port activities generate 129,500 total jobs across Canada,
$10.5 billion in GDP and $22 billion in economic output.





For further information:

For further information: Anne McMullin, Director, Corporate
Communications & Public Affairs, Port Metro Vancouver, Telephone: (604)
665-9069, Cellular: (778) 231-6978, Email:
anne.mcmullin@portmetrovancouver.com

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