Port of Vancouver

Port of Vancouver


The Port of Vancouver, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, has expanded its market share in the competitive Pacific Northwest region of North America, which also includes the Port of Prince Rupert in Canada, and the Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma, in the US state of Washington. 

Canada’s largest port, Vancouver’s share of the region’s containerized imports from Asia has increased steadily. For decades, Vancouver has played a major role in ongoing initiatives developed by Canada’s federal, provincial and regional authorities to create an Asia-Pacific Gateway that facilitates trade not just between British Columbia and East Asia, but between Canada as a whole and East Asia.

The Port of Vancouver’s Centerm terminal, operated by DP World Vancouver, provides an operating system that tracks containerized cargo in real time. 

Deltaport terminal, operated by GCT Canada, is Canada’s largest container terminal. 

Vanterm, also operated by GCT Canada, handles containerized cargo, project cargo, and bulk oils. Both Deltaport and Vanterm have on-dock rail facilities. Fraser Surrey Docks is a multi-purpose terminal handling containerized, bulk and breakbulk products.

The Port of Vancouver is handled by three Class 1 railroads: CN Rail, CP Rail and BNSF. Of these, only CN Rail and CP Rail service the on-dock rail facilities at the port’s container and cargo terminals.  

Like many other ports worldwide, Vancouver has suffered from congestion and high terminal utilization rates. In an effort to reduce such congestion, which slows down supply chains that operate between East Asia and Vancouver, Ashcroft Terminal, a 320-acre inland port, located 343 kilometers (212 miles) northeast of Vancouver, has been expanding its scale of operation.

Ashcroft Terminal provides inland transloading and container storage facilities in a spacious rural location that has direct access to major highways and railways leading to and from the port of Vancouver. Adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway, Ashcroft Terminal is situated on the mainlines of both the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Canadian National Railway.

Ashcroft Terminal serves dozens of companies in the agricultural, forestry, mining, drilling and manufacturing sectors. In a sign of Ashcroft’s growing role in Asia-Canada trade, Singapore-based global terminal operator PSA International acquired a majority [60 percent] stake in Ashcroft in 2018, with an eye toward linking its transloading operations with potential markets in Asia and beyond.


18 Nov 2022
Canada’s transport regulator has introduced a new bill that would give the government more authority to monitor port activity and address rail issues faster.
09 Nov 2022
Canada is reconsidering how its port system operates in the wake of disruption tied to the pandemic and amid inland hub congestion putting upstream pressure on its Pacific Coast ports.
19 Oct 2022
Maersk and Wan Hai are throttling back their capacity into the US West Coast amid a severe drop in container freight rates that could lead to even more vessel cuts as the fourth quarter progresses.
12 Sep 2022
About 20 percent of the 1,800 vehicles serving the Port of Vancouver would be phased out under the clean truck program that has been delayed for a second time.
16 Aug 2022
The modernization of Vancouver's Centerm terminal provides a lesson for other land-constrained terminals looking to speed up truck turns and rail cargo flow to, ultimately, create more functional container capacity, writes JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi.
15 Aug 2022
Canadian National Railway is looking to pare down the backlog of import containers at Vancouver and Prince Rupert port terminals by shuttling boxes to “relief” yards near Toronto and Montreal.
05 Jul 2022
Older container trucks serving the Port of Vancouver will begin to be phased out from mid-September as the port looks to replenish the fleet with cleaner-running vehicles.
23 May 2022
Major carriers are skipping port calls and changing around schedules for services into Canada and the US East Coast amid high congestion and vessel delays.
09 May 2022
Only four of the JOC Top 25 North American Container Ports handled fewer imports in 2021, but growth at major West Coast gateways lagged that of their East Coast competitors, resulting in a shift in market share.
03 Mar 2022
The launch of a new Canadian Pacific service between Vancouver and Ashcroft Terminal serving Canadian Tire and agricultural exporters taps inland port potential.
14 Jan 2022
Plagued by vessel bunching, terminal congestion, and equipment shortages for much of last year, North America’s West Coast ports are cautioned that these conditions are likely to persist well into 2022 even if imports slow from the double-digit gains in 2021.
07 Dec 2021
The use of drivers accustomed to hauling 53-foot containers to pick up 20-foot and 40-foot boxes shows how US retail giants are pulling every lever to get truck power into the ports.
29 Nov 2021
Marine terminals and truckers are bracing for weeks of delays at the Port of Vancouver as another heavy rainstorm hits the region just two weeks after floods and mudslides cut Canada’s largest port off from the British Columbia interior.
22 Nov 2021
Canadian Pacific said it expects intermodal service to and from Canada’s largest port will resume sooner than expected after it works to complete flood-related repairs.
19 Nov 2021
The Port of Vancouver was stranded from inland rail service and trucking was limited due to damage from last weekend’s widespread flooding.
17 Nov 2021
After severe weather last weekend caused flooding and mudslides, Vancouver port stakeholders hope that rail service can be restored this weekend to the port, a key entry point for US imports.
12 Aug 2021
By transloading railed goods from ocean containers into domestic containers at Ashcroft inland port, Canadian Tire aims to take greater control of its import flows through the Port of Vancouver.
16 Jul 2021
Canadian National Railway services to Vancouver are sporadic as wildfires slow trains and imports pile up at Port of Vancouver docks. Three out of the four marine terminals are reporting container dwell times that are on average 10 days or more.
13 Jul 2021
Intermodal service through Vancouver dropped by nearly 20 percent after a wildfire forced Canada’s two Class 1 railroads to divert all freight service to one track.
07 Jul 2021
A fire that destroyed a British Columbia town is causing a backlog of intermodal and other rail freight at the Port of Vancouver that will result in delays of up to four days.
18 Jun 2021
The six busiest North American ports eked out gains in import market share during 2020 thanks to the surge in inbound container volumes at the biggest gateways.
29 Jan 2021
The British Columbia ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, as well as US East and Gulf Coast ports, will be looking to further increase their share of US imports from Asia in 2021.
09 Nov 2020
A short-sea sailing on Oct. 20 marked the first cabotage shipment on the Montreal-Toronto route since the early 1980s, while DP World plans to expand its short-sea network in the greater Vancouver area.
06 Oct 2020
How the dueling Vancouver port projects proceed is critical to how the largest Canadian gateway meets the demand for roughly 2 million TEU in capacity within approximately 10 years.
15 Sep 2020
A deal to build and operate a transload and distribution facility in Vancouver advances CP’s efforts to deepen its presence at its sole western Canadian port gateway, and Maersk’s evolution into a so-called global integrator by expanding its reach beyond port-to-port shipping.
22 Jul 2020
Pacific Northwest ports in the US and Canada are focusing on terminal expansion projects to prepare for what they hope will be a return to growth after the COVID-19 crisis subsides.
04 May 2020
The years-long market share bleed from North America’s traditional West Coast container gateways continued in 2019, with Savannah, Houston and Prince Rupert the main beneficiaries.
01 Apr 2020
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and its largest tenant, GCT Canada, agree that Vancouver risks a scenario in which marine terminals will be clogged within roughly 10 years, but they disagree on how to add capacity.
05 Mar 2020
The $300 million project allows GCT Deltaport to build longer trains faster and with less human accident risk, and boosts the Vancouver terminal’s annual capacity from 1.8 million TEU to 2.4 million.
25 Feb 2020
The Dubai-based operator’s acquisition of the Fraser Surrey Docks, which handled 350,000 TEU last year, was completed with partner Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a pension fund.
US West Coast ports competing through infrastructure, technology
30 Dec 2019
Seaports on the US West Coast aim to regain some of the market share they have lost over the past five years to the East and Gulf coasts by building infrastructure and implementing technology needed to move cargo cheaper and faster.
24 Dec 2019
The Pacific Northwest ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert are moving forward with short-term marine terminal, rail, and roadway infrastructure projects, while on the East Coast, Halifax is extending a container terminal berth to handle larger ships and Montreal is increasing annual container handling capacity.
Top 50 Global Container Ports 2018
09 Aug 2019
Asian gateways continued to dominate the global port market in 2018, handling more than three-quarters of the total throughput of the top 50 container ports worldwide.
23 Jul 2019
The government of Canada commits $102 million to improve cargo velocity and terminal fluidity at the west coast ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.
Canadian ports drive Pacific Northwest market share growth
18 Jul 2019
After strong cargo growth in 2018 due in part to diversions from Southern California, North America’s Pacific Northwest region is using a slower 2019 to implement process improvements and infrastructure developments needed to handle future growth.
US ports running smoothly ahead of expected ‘normal’ peak
05 Jul 2019
North America’s major gateways are operating efficiently as the eastbound trans-Pacific prepares for what is projected to be a “normal” peak season in August through October.