home links Greater Vancouver - Gateway to Asia About the Council Vision - the system in 2030 Realizing the vision Economic impacts Publications  

The System 2030          

The System in 2030 - Water Routes

Waterborne transportation is an essential component of the Gateway domestic logistics system. In addition to 33 million tonnes of bulk cargo moved by tug and barge on the Fraser River, 13.5 million passengers and 3.6 million vehicles are moved (2004) by:

BC Ferries connecting the Gateway to Vancouver Island:
11 million passengers and 3.5 million vehicles (automobiles, buses and trucks)
Containerized cargo services (short sea shipping) between the seaports and inter-modal facilities: up to 100,000 TEU’s (trailers and railcars)
TransLink Seabus service in Burrard Inlet: 2.5 million passengers

Short Sea Shipping

Short Sea Shipping (SSS) refers to the movement of containerized freight on coastal and inland waterways. Coastal SSS includes both the movement of truck trailer combinations by BC Ferry Services and trailers and railcars by Seaspan Coastal Intermodal ferries between Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Container traffic to Vancouver Island (typically traveling via drop trailer), is expected to grow as overseas container movements through the Vancouver Gateway increase, and as the population of Vancouver Island expands.

SSS on inland waterways would move containers by barge between deep-sea terminals and large freight forwarders, third party logistics providers, import distribution companies and export consolidators. Presently 35% of Gateway container traffic moves by heavy truck on an increasingly congested urban road system. Recent studies indicate that a significant proportion of this traffic could be shifted economically to SSS routes, provided traffic densities could be increased sufficiently and other issues, such as property taxation on gateway facilities and the availability and cost of industrial lands, are resolved.

Container Operations Centres

By combining an efficient short-sea transfer and storage terminal operation with efficient barge service to the deep-sea terminals; and a rail inter-modal yard capable of transferring domestic and marine containers directly to/from railcars, sufficient economies of scale could be realized to allow commercially viable SSS operations. The availability of industrial waterfront lands is a critical factor for the growth of SSS shipping in the Gateway.