Traffic up, but earnings down at Port of Vancouver

Vancouver port traffic up

Canada’s largest port has been experiencing difficult times over the past two years with a decline in revenue and earnings and only a minimal increase in traffic last year, according to port data. 

In 2021, total tonnage through the Port of Vancouver grew by 0.7 per cent to 146 million tonnes from 145 million tonnes in 2020.

The Port of Vancouver reported a 7.5 per cent decline in container traffic to 24.6 million tonnes in 2021 from 26.6 million tonnes in 2020.

This decline was offset by growth in smaller categories, including an 18.3 per cent increase in breakbulk goods to 19.8 million tonnes in 2021 from 16.7 million tonnes in 2021. 

For the majority of the traffic, bulk goods, traffic remained relatively unchanged. 

Despite the increase in port traffic, the Port of Vancouver’s revenue has declined over the past two years, mostly as the result of an 8.8 per cent decline in 2020 followed by a relatively stable year in 2021. 

While revenue has dropped since 2019, operating expenses at the port are up 17.3 per cent over the past year and up 31.6 per cent over the past five years.

With revenue falling and operating expenses growing, it’s unsurprising that earnings for the Port of Vancouver have also declined. They fell 14.73 per cent to $135.2 million in 2021 from $158.5 million in 2020.

Capital investments at the port have also declined by 34.2 per cent over the past year; however, they have grown by 23.4 per cent over the past five years. 

Meanwhile, container traffic through the Port of Prince Rupert fell eight per cent to 10.5 million tonnes in 2021 from 11.4 million tonnes in 2020. The total amount of foreign cargo through Prince Rupert fell 23 per cent over the past year to 25 million tonnes in 2021 from 32.4 million tonnes in 2022. 

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