In 2016, Ocean Shipping Consultants developed a container traffic forecast for the west coast of Canada. This report considered emerging global economic trends and data, and forecasted that container demand through the Port of Vancouver and Port of Prince Rupert would be 7.35 million TEUs in 2035 (base case), with 6.36 million TEUs and 8.59 million TEUs as the low case and high case, respectively.

The 2016 Ocean Shipping Consultants forecast shows continued growth in container trade through the west coast of Canada at a compound annual growth rate of about 4 percent, and reinforces the need for planned increases of capacity to ship goods in containers through the existing Deltaport and Centerm terminals in Vancouver and the Fairview Terminal in Prince Rupert. The 2016 Ocean Shipping Consultants forecast also confirms that the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project will be needed by the mid-2020s.

Forecasts undertaken since 2011 show demand for container traffic on Canada’s west coast is expected to keep growing. These forecasts consider many factors that influence container traffic demand, including:

  • Gross Domestic Product growth;
  • World demand for Canadian resources;
  • Increased consumer demand for trade with Asia;
  • Opening of the expanded Panama Canal;
  • Planned container terminal expansion at the Port of Prince Rupert;
  • Macroeconomic trends in North America;
  • North American container port demand and competitive developments;
  • Trends in container shipping; and
  • Vancouver’s competitive position compared to other North American ports.

The graph below shows the 2016 forecast and planned container capacity increases on the west coast of Canada, which are overlaid with the maximum and practical capacity levels resulting from current and proposed capacity improvements. Practical capacity is calculated as 85 per cent of maximum capacity, and is used for planning purposes to indicate when additional capacity will be required to accommodate future growth. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s analysis concludes that the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is the only viable alternative to provide capacity to meet forecasted demand. Based on the current Project schedule, subject to regulatory approvals and a final investment decision, the Project could be operational by the mid-2020s.




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