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Greater Vancouver is the nexus of an established and innovative commercial transportation network in Western Canada. Around the clock movement of commercial ships, trains and trucks make this one of North America’s most vibrant trading centres. Innovative planning and expanded government and private sector investments are bolstering Vancouver’s position as the main Canadian gateway for trade between Asia and North America.
Vancouver’s port is one of the world’s best deep-water harbours and one of the closest ports in North America to Asia. Shipping to Asian ports from Vancouver saves at least one day compared to other West Coast ports. Vancouver is the top port for foreign export tonnage in North America and has the third most foreign container traffic on the West Coast.
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Vancouver’s competitive position in transportation and logistics is buttressed by strong transportation infrastructure, emerging logistics capacity, and major public and private investments in the region’s role as a trade gateway to Asia.
Three major railways link Vancouver to key Canadian, American and Mexican markets. Commercial railroad operators have “on-dock” access to Vancouver’s shipping terminals, allowing for fast and more efficient movement of goods.
The U.S.-Canadian border is within an hour’s drive from the port for commercial truckers. Most of North America’s consumer markets can be serviced by truck from Vancouver within three to four days. Under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), firms located in B.C. have duty-free access to U.S. and Mexican markets, while materials and equipment can be sourced duty free from the U.S. and Mexico. Canada has the lowest transportation costs among NAFTA countries.
The Vancouver International Airport provides a high-quality, low-cost gateway for passengers and cargo. It is the second largest international passenger gateway on North America’s west coast and has the lowest landing fees in Canada.
Vancouver’s vibrant commercial transportation network is tied together by strong trucking, logistics, warehousing and distribution firms. These firms offer the hi-tech and efficient services global businesses need to meet customers “just in time” needs. Major global freight-forwarding and air cargo firms have offices in Vancouver, which is also a regional hub for FedEx and UPS.
The federal and provincial governments and the commercial transportation industry are investing more than $13 billion to triple container flow through Vancouver by 2020, as well as doubling air freight. These investments include major expansions of port and airport capacity as well as upgrades to enhance commercial truck and rail traffic flow through the region. An additional $7 billion investment in transit improvements is further reducing traffic congestion.
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The International Maritime Centre offers tax incentives to shipping companies, while an Export Distribution Centre at Vancouver’s international airport allows duty and tax-free storage of imported goods prior to export from Canada.
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Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
National research group that works to strengthen Canada-Asia ties.
Asia Pacific Gateway Skils Table
Brings together business, labour and educational institutions to develop solutions to the skills shortages anticipated in the construction and operation of Vancouver's trade corrider.
B.C. Ministry of Economic Development
Provincial government department that promotes commerce and investment in B.C. and administers B.C.’s venture capital programs.
B.C. Trucking Association
Industry association of commercial trucking firms in B.C., whose members employ 26,000 people and operate 14,000 motor carriers.
Canada Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Canadian government department responsible for promoting international trade.
Chamber of Shipping of B.C.
Advocacy organization representing 150 maritime companies and related entities in Western Canada. The Chamber includes the International Maritime Centre which leverages tax and regulatory policies to attract head offices of maritime shipping companies to B.C. and Canada.
City of Vancouver
The City’s Engineering Services department provides information on current transportation system performance and plans for the future.
Government of British Columbia Pacific Gateway Initiative
British Columbia’s contribution to a unique partnership of industries and governments working to improve goods flow through the region.
Greater Vancouver Gateway Council
Non-profit organization of senior executives from industry, government and academia focused on expanding Vancouver’s position as a trade and tourism gateway.
Translink – South Coast B.C. Transportation Authority
Government organization responsible for the regional road and transit network.
University of British Columbia Centre for Transportation Studies
Research centre focused on economics, management and policy issues within the transportation and logistics sector.
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
Three Vancouver area port authorities were amalgamated into this authority in 2008, significantly increasing efficiency and competitiveness.
Vancouver International Airport Authority
Operator of Vancouver’s award-winning international airport.
Photo Credit: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority