Media releases

Record grain and containers boost mid-year results at the Port of Vancouver

August 15, 2017

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority today released its 2017 mid-year statistics for trade through the Port of Vancouver. Overall cargo through the Port of Vancouver has increased four per cent to 69 million metric tonnes (MMT) over the same time last year with mid-year records in bulk grain and containers.

Container quantities (measured by TEUs or twenty-foot equivalents) increased by 9.6 per cent compared to mid-year 2016 to a record 1.6 million TEUs as a result of the strengthening economy as well as global demand for Canadian products shipped in containers and Canadian demand for consumer and manufacturing goods from Asia.

“Our record mid-year container results demonstrate the continued confidence of shippers in the Port of Vancouver and our ability to handle the growing demand for goods shipped in containers,” said Robin Silvester, president and chief executive officer of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Strong overseas demand for Canadian grain products resulted in a steep increase in wheat, canola and specialty crop exports, which include pulses and lentils (up 55 per cent). This is the Port of Vancouver’s sixth consecutive year of record mid-year volumes of bulk grain at 12.5 MMT in 2017, a 12.9 per cent increase over mid last year.

“The global demand for Canadian agricultural products continues to be strong in 2017 and is reflected in the record grain volumes through the Port of Vancouver over the first half of the year,” added Silvester.

“The long-term outlook for Canadian trade is one of growth and the Port of Vancouver is working hard to ensure we will be ready to handle increased volumes through Canada’s West Coast. We’d like to thank all of our terminal partners for their investments in new technology and infrastructure that are helping to increase capacity, and provide a more efficient and reliable goods movement supply chain,” added Robin.

Additional cargo categories

Overall coal volumes are up seven per cent in 2017. Metallurgical coal volumes are steady at 12.3 MMT. While this represents a two per cent decrease from 2016, it is the fifth consecutive year of metallurgical coal export volumes reaching more than 12 million tonnes at the mid-year point. Thermal coal volumes increased 43 per cent increase over last year due to a partial price recovery, but volumes are still down 18 per cent when compared with the previous record.

In the auto sector, unit numbers increased 3.1 per cent by mid-year 2017 to 218,000 over mid-year 2016. Canadian sales for the port’s automaker customers are up three per cent for this period versus last year. Total Canadian sales had set a new mid-year record in 2017.


Overall cargo traded through the Port of Vancouver increased in the first half of 2017, posting a four per cent increase to 69 MMT compared with the first half of 2016.

Auto unit numbers increased by 3.1 per cent compared to mid-year 2016, with 218,000 units moved through the port in the first half of 2017.

Breakbulk cargo declined one per cent to 7.7 MMT compared to mid-year 2016, mainly attributable to a 3.6 per cent decrease in domestic traffic.

Bulk dry cargo volumes increased five per cent in large part due to increases in grain, specialty crops and feed, which are up 13 per cent over 2016. Large increases in specialty crop exports (up 55 per cent), wheat (up five per cent), and coal (up seven per cent) offset decreases in sulphur (down 15 per cent), bulk forest products (down four per cent), and potash (down three per cent).

Bulk liquid tonnage was down by three per cent over mid-year 2016. This is due to an eight per cent decline in petroleum product cargo, which had risen sharply the year prior in response to the Alberta wildfires.

Container quantities increased by 9.6 per cent to 1.6 million TEUs due to a stronger economy and solid export traffic.

Cruise passenger traffic is down 6 per cent over mid-year 2016.

Foreign vessel calls for the first half of the year were up by 8.4 per cent over mid-2016 at 1,623 calls.

More information

2017 mid-year cargo statistics [PDF]

About the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is responsible for the stewardship of the federal port lands in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. It is accountable to the federal minister of transport and operates pursuant to the Canada Marine Act. The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest, and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo, facilitating trade between Canada and more than 170 world economies. Located in a naturally beautiful setting on Canada’s west coast, the port authority and port terminals and tenants are responsible for the efficient and reliable movement of goods and passengers, integrating environmental, social and economic sustainability initiatives into all areas of port operations. Enabling the trade of approximately $200 billion in goods, port activities sustain 115,300 jobs, $7 billion in wages, and $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada.

Media contact

Danielle Jang
Media Relations Advisor
[email protected]

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