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Gainers and decliners lead Port Metro Vancouver to 'steady' 2015

Last Updated Feb 19, 2016 at 7:21 am PDT

(Courtesy Port Metro Vancouver)

The Port says last year was a record-setter in several categories

Fewer cruise ships came through the Port

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) -Port Metro Vancouver reports 2015 was a record year in several categories, helping to offset declines in some areas, resulting in overall volume that was down one per cent from a year earlier at 138 million tonnes.

It handled 4.9 per cent more container volume, 15.6 per cent more potash and 20 per cent more specialty crops — all records. There was also a 9 per cent increase in the volume of autos imported through Vancouver, part of a record year for vehicle sales in Canada.

Port Metro says exports of forest products were down five per cent, while coal was down eight per cent.

“The falloff is in thermal coal which is principally coming up from the US, and we’ve actually seen about a 20 per cent drop in thermal coal exports” as Chinese imports of it through Vancouver “switched off completely in 2015,” says CEO Robin Silvester.

Wheat exports rose 20 per cent after railways were ordered by the federal government to speed their handling of the previous year’s bumper crop.

Vancouver welcomed six per cent fewer cruise ships, a total of 228, but just one per cent fewer passengers due to larger ships.

Silvester says Port Metro Vancouver in the last five years it has grown by about the same as the entire Port of Montreal’s tonnage for one year, adding “If you look over the next five years we’re expecting to see that same kind of growth” but “In the next couple of years we’re thinking things will be a little bit flatter.”