Toronto, ON – Canadian ports are cautiously optimistic even in the face of Donald Trump’s threats of a trade war.
“We’re forecasting 3.6 per cent cargo growth annually over the next five years,” said Peter Xotta, vice president planning and operations at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, at the JOC Canada Trade Conference in Toronto.
Some of that confidence stems from efforts to increase trade with Europe and Asia and reduce reliance on the U.S.
“Asia represents about 25 per cent of our business,” said Tony Boemi, vice president of growth and development at the Port of Montreal. “This is a big change from 10 or 12 years ago, when we didn’t do any Asia business,” he said. “We’re developing new markets in Latin America and the Middle East.”
But with that growth comes the requisite need for capacity, something Vancouver is going to run short of in the near future, says Xotta.
“We’re having great success in overshooting our estimates,” he said, citing the recent announcement by the Port of Prince Rupert that its Fairview Terminal will be starting the Phase 2B expansion that will increase annual throughput capacity at Canada’s second largest container terminal to 1.8 million TEUs when complete in 2022.
“We’re concerned that we’re behind and that’s why we are pursuing the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project. We need to be delivering additional capacity by the mid-2020s.”