Strong, Stable 2011 at Port Metro Vancouver

Sustainability, capacity and efficiency keep port moving

METRO VANCOUVER, Feb. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's largest and most diverse port has released its 2011 year-end results, with strong, stable numbers showing continued growth in key sectors. The 2011 year-end statistics report shows that Port Metro Vancouver handled 122.5 million tonnes of cargo, a 3.4 per cent increase over 2010.

The 2011 throughput volumes reflect the strength of Port Metro Vancouver's diversity, moving goods and passengers across five business sectors, and building further on several records set in 2010. The Port saw continued growth in laden export containers, a key indicator of the demand for Canadian cargo by Asian economies. Canada's natural resources volumes continue to show strong growth, with new records set in coal, potash and forest products exports.

"What we have seen in 2011 is resiliency in the Canadian export market; and as international economies continue to face many difficult challenges, Canada's natural resources sectors stand as a cornerstone of the Canadian economy," said Robin Silvester, President and Chief Executive Officer, Port Metro Vancouver. "Our natural geographical advantage as the closest major Gateway to Asia Pacific economies presents continuing opportunities for growth in the coming years."

Total foreign tonnage at Port Metro Vancouver posted a 2.5 per cent increase with 95.6 million tonnes.

"Port Metro Vancouver's strong growth in moving exports to priority markets in the Asian-Pacific region demonstrates clearly how the Federal Government's strategic investments and partnerships in building the Asia-Pacific Gateway continue to help strengthen our economy by positioning Canada as the gateway of choice between Asia and North America," said the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. "With one in five Canadian jobs generated by trade, deepening Canada's trade and investment ties in priority markets around the world is a key part of our plan to create jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers, businesses and families."

Total domestic tonnage increased by 7 per cent to 26.9 million tonnes.

"I would like to congratulate Port Metro Vancouver for its continued growth and success," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom. "PMV is a vital part of Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan. PMV is a key player in getting B.C. and Canadian goods to market through Canada's Pacific Gateway - the preferred gateway for business to and from Asia and North America."

Port Metro Vancouver trades $75 billion in goods annually with more than 160 trading economies, generating across Canada an estimated 129,500 jobs, $6.1 billion in wages, and $10.5 billion in GDP. For full details, please read Port Metro Vancouver's Statistics Overview 2011.

Port Metro Vancouver 2011 Year-end Stats Backgrounder

Strong, Stable Performance: Key Sectors

Auto volumes dropped 22 per cent, a reflection of international challenges resulting from the major disruption of manufacturing in Japan due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March. By the fourth quarter, volumes were rebounding and the Port anticipates a stronger 2012.

Breakbulk cargo is down 4.4 per cent overall; however, foreign breakbulk imports have posted a 30 per cent increase due to the strength in Canadian demand for foreign steel and construction materials. Breakbulk lumber exports rose 107 per cent, primarily due to strong demand from China.

Bulk volumes set records with dry bulk cargoes like coal up 7.8 per cent overall, with thermal coal exports rising 46 per cent to a record 11.7 million metric tonnes, and potash posting a 30 per cent increase and setting a new record of 7.2 million metric tonnes. Liquid bulk cargo ended the year down 20 per cent, largely due to lack of capacity at the terminal.

Container traffic at Port Metro Vancouver has continued to keep pace with a record setting 2010, with volumes flat at 2.5 million TEUs*, supported by a 6 per cent increase in containerized exports.

Cruise voyage and passenger numbers have increased with 199 cruise calls and 663,425 passengers in 2011 representing a 15 per cent increase.

*Twenty-foot equivalent unit containers

Sustainability and Stability Achievements

In 2011, Port Metro Vancouver advanced a long-term visioning exercise, Port 2050, which has provided a strategic framework for conversations and discussions to inform the update of land use plan now taking place.  The Port also released its first ever Sustainability Report: The Way Forward, underscoring the importance of each of economic, social and environmental initiatives to growth and prosperity.

Spring 2011 saw the unprecedented eight year labour agreement between the BC Maritime Employers Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, representing stability at Port Metro Vancouver as a key competitive advantage.

SOURCE Port Metro Vancouver

For further information:

Barbara Joy-Kinsella, Media Relations

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