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Port of Vancouver increases container market share in 2001

Port of Vancouver cargo totalled 72.8mn tonnes in 2001, down only 5% from the previous year's record tonnage, according to figures released recently by the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA).

"Everyone at Canada's largest port has worked very hard to meet recent challenges, and we are proud that our gateway is viewed by the world's largest shipping lines as an efficient place to do business," said David Stowe, Chairman, Vancouver Port Authority.

"Our container numbers, in particular, reflect continued consumer demand in Canada and have helped to offset recent losses in other port business sectors," said Stowe. Total container traffic decreased 1 per cent to 1.15mn TEU. Total inbound TEUs grew 1% to 551,195 TEUs. However, full import container traffic grew a healthy 7% to 494,229 TEUs. The Port of Vancouver continued to increase its market share throughout 2001 and ranks number one in the Pacific Northwest and number 3 on the North American West Coast for full foreign containers. Total export TEUs, meanwhile, dipped 4% to 595,382 with full exports decreasing 2% to 539,896 TEUs. Continued soft demand in Asia accounted for the decline.

"The Port of Vancouver continues to be buoyant in the face of current market uncertainties and, in turn, will continue to drive significant economic benefits for the city, region and country in the form of jobs, taxes and other revenue," said Captain Gordon Houston, President and CEO, Vancouver Port Authority. "Competitiveness is what our business is built upon, and in 2002 we will sharpen our edge with improved facilities and services."

Total forest products shipments declined 13% to 7.2mn tonnes due to weak Asian demand. Shipments of lumber closed down 14% to 1.8mn tonnes. Wood pulp volumes staged a comeback in the second half of the year, ending with a 3% decline to 3.6mn tonnes, recovering slightly from midyear. In the dry bulk sector, total dry bulk shipments declined 6% to 52.9mn tonnes. Shipments of coal, the port's single largest commodity, were down 1% from last years solid performance to 27.2mn tonnes.

"Balanced supply and demand coupled with efforts by the coal industry to diversify selling to Europe and South America sustained shipments this year," said Houston.

Total shipments of grain, meanwhile, were off 10% with 11.6mn tonnes shipped. Wheat saw a decline of 14% to 7.3mn tonnes due to a poor harvest and low prices. Shipments of canola grew 1% to 3.4mn tonnes. Liquid bulk gained 1% with 6.3mn tonnes shipped. Petroleum shipments saw a gain of 15% with 3.6mn tonnes shipped. However, total chemical volumes were down 11% with 2.3mn tonnes shipped.

Last year was the 19th consecutive season of growth in the cruise industry. In 2001, there were 331 sailings and a record 1,060,383 revenue passengers, a 1% increase over 2000.

The Port of Vancouver is Canada's largest and most diversified port, trading more than $29bn in goods with more than 90 nations. Port activities generate 62,000 jobs in total with $1.6bn in Gross Domestic Product and $3.5bn in economic.