BC Ports and Shipping Industry are Global Leaders

January 28, 2014
Denise Mullen

The shipping industry is one of the oldest in the world but is not well known -- even though many immigrants arrived by boat to North America. Settlers relied on ships to move supplies to the New World from the Old World. Today, shipping is still a fundamental means of conducting trade and transporting goods from place to place. In Canada, shipping represents the dominant mode of bulk deliveries for both exports and imports to and from markets other than the United States.[1]

As Canada’s biggest and most diversified port, Port Metro Vancouver ranks in the top 50 ports in the world. It is #4 in North America by millions of TEUs,[2] and along with the Port of Prince Rupert, can handle ~3.3 million TEU capacity, worth more than $75 billion per year.[3] Together, these two BC ports also happen to be role models in environmental management, in particular around managing emissions, both local sources of NOx and SO2 but also greenhouse gases.

According the World Ports Climate Initiative, RightShip and the Carbon War Room, which are all organizations that are independent of ship owners and ports, British Columbia is FIRST in the world in terms of both encouraging and rewarding ship owners for reducing air emissions. Using the Environmental Ship Index, a voluntary measure of environmental performance, BC ports have shown leadership within the highly competitive global shipping industry.

We don’t often talk about the good things we do in this province, and sometimes talk as if our industries are pariahs. This is a really good news story. For more information on the programs at each port, see Eco Action and Green Wave.

This blog was updated on February 4, 2014

[1] Statistics Canada, Transportation in Canada 2011, tables EC12 Canada's Imports by Origin, Destination and Mode of Transport, 2011

[2] TEU is Twenty foot equivalent units.

[3] World Shipping Council, 2012.

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