Despite the looming Canadian recession and slowdown in the Chinese economy, cargo volumes at Canada’s largest port have grown in the first half of 2015.
Port Metro Vancouver’s mid-year update indicates total cargo volumes to date have increased by 1.5 per cent, compared to the first six months of 2014, to 70.3 million metric tonnes.
Container unit numbers increased by eight per cent during the same period, and growth is expected to continue into the 2030s. Automobile volumes also rose by seven per cent, with over 212,000 vehicles recorded to date in 2015. The largest increases were from wheat (32%), sulphur (18%) and potash (19%).
The low Canadian dollar and ongoing labour disruptions at American ports on the West Coast, compounded with steady consumer demand, have contributed to this year’s stable growth. But it should also be noted that volume results for last year’s first six months, the benchmark for this year’s growth comparison, were deflated because of the month-long labour dispute with truckers.
“We are seeing continued growth of trade through Port Metro Vancouver as Canadian demand for foreign products and international demand for Canadian resources continue to increase,” said Robin Silvester, Port Metro Vancouver President and CEO, in a statement.
“Our status as North America’s most diversified port is significant as overall cargo grew in the first half of 2015 despite some softening markets and global economic uncertainty.”
However, a decline in Chinese industrial activity has caused declines in some areas of Port Metro Vancouver’s shipment activity. Thermal coal for power plants fell by 6.6 per cent, mining ores and concentrates fell by 12 per cent, and crude oil dropped by 20 per cent.
With the Port’s seasonal cruise season, strong numbers are projected – on par with previous years – with approximately 805,000 passengers on 228 visits by 32 vessels.