Peter Xotta, President and CEO, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
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Peter Xotta, President and CEO, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

It was telling that out of the four key projects we advanced at the Port of Vancouver in 2023 to increase capacity and service reliability, two involve building new landmass for container terminals and two focus on digital tools and data sharing needed to get the most out of existing infrastructure.

The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port by any measure and in 2022 handled 50% of Canada’s containers by TEU. It also sits in what has become one of North America’s most land-constrained regions. Throughout 2023, the industrial land vacancy rate in Metro Vancouver hovered at under 1%, one of the lowest in North America, which contributed to average land costs tripling over five years.

While the expansion of the DP World-operated Centerm port terminal to 1.5 million TEUs and federal government approval of the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (2.4 million TEUs) were major strides in adding physical capacity to the port, it is important to remain focused on gains that can also be made through digital innovation, collaboration and data sharing.

Our focus as a port authority has also long been on collaborating with terminals, supply chain partners and governments to both maximize existing land use and use data and digital tools to squeeze everything we can out of infrastructure. The other two key projects we advanced are a result of this work.

Connect+ became our new one-stop-shop to facilitate data exchange and develop digital innovations in collaboration with port stakeholders and governments. We launched the first stage of a new centralized scheduling system to better coordinate commercial ship traffic and improve ship turnaround times and cargo volumes.

To be effective, digital and data sharing innovations need to stretch our reach beyond the docks. We invite all our partners, customers and stakeholders to join us in building the infrastructure needed — both on the ground and online — to keep cargo moving efficiently, reliably and affordably.