Vancouver Port Authority (VPA) President & CEO Captain Gordon Houston is leading a 25-member delegation from the Port of Vancouver on a seven city Asian trade mission this week to visit the Port of Vancouver’s most important customers and business partners and to discuss emerging issues and opportunities.
The mission is part of a broader strategy to capitalize on growing Asia-Pacific trade for the benefit of Canadian exporters and importers, as well as transportation industries, say port officials.
“Back in 1994, we were the first North American port to establish a sales office in Beijing,” Houston said. “At that time, we saw the potential that China offered to our business and to Canada’s international trade.
“We’re proud of the pioneering work the Port of Vancouver has done to open up Asia for Canadian exporters and importers. In fact, I believe the greatest benefits of the work we began a decade ago are still ahead of us,” he said.
The rapid expansion of China and other Asian economies is driving growth in shipments of Canadian resource commodities from the Port of Vancouver including coal, sulphur, potash and other mineral products, as well as grain, petrochemical and forest products.
At the same time, the port says it is experiencing unprecedented growth in its Asia-Pacific container volumes, and forecasts a near tripling of container traffic over the next 15 years.
“We’re working extremely hard with all of our port stakeholders – including rail, trucking, labour and terminals to ensure we develop the terminal capacity and the intermodal efficiencies necessary to capture greater share of the rapidly expanding North American container market,” said Capt. Norman Stark, President & CEO of TSI Terminals Systems Inc.
“Trade missions like this one are very important in that regard. Not only do they allow us to promote Vancouver as the port of choice on the west coast of North America, they allow us time to meet with our customers and business partners to discuss their current and future service requirements.”
The 14-day trade mission will visit the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan; Seoul, Korea; Beijing and Shanghai, China; Taipei, Taiwan; and Hong Kong (SAR). The Port of Vancouver delegation includes representatives of the VPA, coal, grain, forest product and container terminal operators, port unions and employers, railways and the provincial government.
The trip coincides with the tenth anniversary of the VPA sales office established in Beijing in 1994. The Port of Vancouver delegation says it will host a reception in that city to celebrate the successful business relationships over the past 10 years.