International shipping activities serve the needs of all Canadian consumers, manufacturers and communities and is valued at $205 billion. More than 80% of Canada’s marine trade volume is with countries outside of North America, making marine shipping critical to Canada’s economic security and independence.  

In a recent study published by the Council of Canadian Academies for Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, the national economic impact of commercial marine shipping is said to equal approximately 1.8% of the Canadian economy, or nearly $30 billion. Marine shipping transports about 20% of Canadian exports and imports by dollar value.  The learn about the value of commercial marine shipping to Canada, view the report released in May 2017 at

Ports in British Columbia are the busiest and most diversified in Canada as they offer the shortest transit times to and from major trading partners in Asia.  Annually over 3500 international cargo and passenger vessel arrive and depart ports and private terminals located in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the North Coast.

From the Port of Vancouver on average 135 million metric tonnes of cargo moves through its tenants' facilities and in the north where growth continues at a steady pace, the Port of Prince Rupert moves on average 1.8 million metric tonnes of cargo each year.  

According to a 2016 Economic Impact Study conducted by InterVistas, activities of the Port of Vancouver terminals and tenants alone generate annually:

  • $24.2 billion in economic output
  • $11.9 billion in GDP
  • $7 billion in wages
  • 115,300 jobs in Canada
  • 96,200 jobs in B.C.
  • $67,900 average wage for direct job versus $44,000 average wage in Canada
  • $1.4 billion per year in tax revenues: federal: $860 million; provincial: $441 million; municipal: $129 million


To learn more about how British Columbia ports and terminals, download the last edition of the British Columbia Ports Handbook released in 2014 (pdf file 85Mb).