Connecting Canada to the world

The Port of Vancouver provides Canada with the ability to export and import goods in shipping containers to and from about 170 trading economies worldwide, the largest of which are China, Japan and Korea.

With Canada’s container trade on a long-term growth trajectory, west coast marine container terminals are forecast to hit capacity by the mid- to late-2020s.

Delivering for Canada's trade future

Roberts Bank Terminal 2 is a future marine container terminal on Canada’s west coast led by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. The terminal will be a critical link for Canada’s supply chains, increasing container terminal capacity by more than 30% on Canada’s west coast, supporting competition in the gateway, and strengthening reliable access to goods Canadians use every day. The project will also play a key role in supporting Canadian exporters who increasingly want to trade with economies around the world.

Canada—the trading nation

Canada has a long history as a trading nation. For thousands of years, the Coast Salish Peoples had complex systems for trade and commerce in the Salish Sea, Burrard Inlet and Fraser River, long before European explorers recognized the area as an ideal deep-water port.

Canada’s trade ambitions remain strong. The future of Canada’s economic prosperity depends on being able to get goods and resources to and from other markets efficiently and reliably, a sentiment echoed by governments at all levels.

Connecting Canada to the global economy

Ongoing access to foreign markets is also critical to small and medium-sized businesses in Canada. These businesses contribute more than half of the value added to the country’s output and produce 41% of the total value of exported goods (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada 2020). This means that Canada Port Authorities, like the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, must thoughtfully plan how to efficiently move these goods through our country’s ports to support Canada’s trade future.

Containers – how Canada moves its goods

Canadians rely on items imported in containers like clothing, electronics, food, furniture and household goods, while Canadian goods exported in containers include pulp, lumber, crops, grain, and specialty items like craft beer. Roberts Bank Terminal 2 will help connect small and large businesses across the country to international markets.

Container traffic to and from the West Coast is growing

As part of our work to ensure there is enough space for growing trade on Canada’s west coast, the port authority has commissioned a series of expert, third-party container traffic forecasts that consider long-term trends in global markets and trade, as well as a range of other drivers of container traffic demand. The findings of these forecasts conclude that container volumes to and from the West Coast are expected to grow significantly, well into the future.

Based on our container traffic and capacity forecasts, the entire capacity of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is needed to ensure Canada is able to meet trade plans and objectives through to the mid-to-late 2030s.

For more information

Read the full Project Rationale document.