PORT OF VANCOUVER (VAS)
Canada’s largest port extends from Roberts Bank and the Fraser River up to and including Burrard Inlet. Home to 27 marine terminals, the Port of Vancouver handles the most diversified range of cargo in North America: automobiles, bulk, breakbulk, container, and cruise. As our country’s gateway to over 170 trading economies around the world, the port handles $1 of every $3 of Canada’s trade in goods outside of North America enabling the trade of approximately $200 billion in goods.
Lumber exports ruled supreme during latter half of the 19th century as sawmills popped up on both the North and South shores of Burrard Inlet. Exports increased significantly with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1887 and the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Low freight rates in the early 20th century resulted in Vancouver becoming a more feasible shipping hub to Europe and Asia for bulk commodities such as grain and later coal, potash, and sulphur. With the advent of “Unitized Freight Transportation” in the 1960s, the port expanded from breakbulk (forest products, steel, machinery and cargo) into the container market with an annual capacity of nearly three million 20-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs). Finally, for more than 45 years, Vancouver has been a homeport for Alaska cruises as well as cruises through the scenic Inside Passage along B.C.’s West Coast.
The port’s Vancouver waterfront infrastructure has evolved over time. The CPR Pier B-C (the current site of Canada Place cruise ship terminal), Ballantyne Pier, CenTerm container terminal, Lapointe Pier, and the Canadian government grain terminal and elevators are all locations where Walter E. Frost took many of his iconic photographs and Holland-America Line’s freighters and cruise ships have docked since starting its North Pacific Coast cargo and passenger service in 1920.
VAS – radio callsign of the former Vancouver Harbour Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centre