Vancouver Port CEO Calls for the Protection of Industrial Land
Port Metro Vancouver is calling on provincial and regional leaders in Canada to embrace a shared responsibility for managing the growth of Vancouver’s trade gateway.
The port authority warned that without a collective approach to managing growth, the region’s economy, environment and quality of life will suffer, along with Canada’s ability to handle increasing levels of international trade.
In a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade, Port Metro Vancouver CEO Robin Silvester highlighted the shrinking supply of trade-enabling industrial land as the largest threat facing the Vancouver trade gateway and the region’s continued livability.
“The Asia-Pacific gateway is crucial to the future of British Columbia and Canada, and touches all our lives,” Silvester said. “Without a secure base of trade-enabling industrial land, we risk hitting an economic brick wall. The provincial government has always been a strong partner in the development of the gateway. We must now come together, along with local and regional government, to protect our land in a coordinated fashion.”
Port-related activities support 57,000 jobs, and between 2009 and 2025, an estimated $17 billion will be invested in related infrastructure in the region. Ongoing investments and the associated high-paying jobs are all at risk if there is insufficient land to support goods movement into the future, according to Silvester.
Industrial land located near major rail and road networks is needed for warehouses and distribution centers so that goods can be moved efficiently. Locating such facilities far from the port would mean increased truck traffic, more congestion, higher consumer prices, and environmental impacts, in addition to lost jobs, Silvester said.
Port Metro Vancouver and stakeholders from local communities, industry, and government have been engaging in a long-term planning exercise, called Port 2050, to identify these issues and others as a first step towards developing a shared vision for gateway growth.
“We need to take concrete steps together to ensure the Vancouver trade gateway remains sustainable, responsive to Canadian trade demands, and aligned with global market trends,” said Silvester. “But only through a collaborative approach will that be possible.”
Port Metro Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the third largest tonnage port in North America, enabling the trade of $187 billion in goods annually and generating 100,000 jobs, $6.1 billion in wages, and $9.7 billion in GDP across Canada.