May 19, 2020

Canada's Busiest Ports Supply North American Commerce

Port Metro Vancouver
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Canada's Busiest Ports Supply North American Commerce
Most small to midsize enterprises today, in addition to multinational corporations, can strategically utilize importing or exporting operations thanks to the creation of international trade agreements and logistical technology advances.

In a global economy, businesses are practically required to import or export to stay viable and competitive.

Companies seeking to incorporate import or export operations must carefully consider a host of factors and weigh numerous options to determine optimal processes. The location of the company or the destined site of the product in proximity to the point of entry looms large.

Companies must also factor in transportation and supply chain solutions available in a given market, the qualities of the goods and products to be imported or exported and the nature of the countries or foreign businesses involved.

And finally, in Canada, companies entering the import/export business and even mature players must stay up to date on ever-evolving trade law, customs requirements and tariffs.

Careful consideration to all of these factors can enable a business, public or private, to offer customers better rates.

Port Metro Vancouver

Port Metro Vancouver is the largest port in Canada, the largest in the Pacific Northwest and the fourth largest in all of North America.

By the sheer volume of activity—$75 billion worth of goods from 130 countries— Port Metro Vancouver bridges the transpacific gap and connects North American business with the burgeoning Asian and Australasian markets.

Port Metro Vancouver offers 28 major marine cargo terminals and three Class 1 railroads. With nearly 95 per cent of the total volume dedicated to serving the Canadian import and export markets, any company would have to seriously consider Port Metro Vancouver.

Port Metro Vancouver handles the import and export needs of the automobile, breakbulk, bulk, container and cruise sectors, which gives the port the distinction as North America’s most diversified.

And just this year, Port Metro Vancouver along with Global Container Terminals officially opened the new $400 million Deltaport container terminal, bringing a 50 per cent increase in terminal capacity.

Port Metro Vancouver and its plethora of distribution tenants stand out as logical solution to any companies import/export needs.

Port of Montreal

Connecting the Northern European and Mediterranean markets with North America, the Port of Montreal is the largest inland port in the world, the largest container port Canada and the second busiest nationwide, behind Vancouver.

Port of Montreal is serviced by seven of the ten largest marine container shipping lines and includes Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, OOCL, Maersk Line, Senator Lines/Hanjin, CMA CGM and APL.

The shipping lines access the major markets in Central Canada, the U.S. Midwest and the U.S. Northeast faster and more directly than any other port along the North American East Coast can.

While the Port of Montreal is known for its container capacities, a high volume of traffic in breakbulk, dry and liquid bulk cargo also passes through via the four container terminals, two multipurpose containers and a grain terminal. The port features an easily accessible railway network for distribution.

Like Port Metro Vancouver, Port of Montreal also recently underwent renovations with a $10 million government investment to expand and renovate the Cast Terminal.

The investments will strengthen Montreal’s economic viability as make Port of Montreal even more desirable raw materials and finished goods point of entry.

The containerized shipping industry grew at an average yearly rate of 5.3 per cent for the past 10 years and all indications are that it will continue to be the preferred choice of import/export operators.


While maritime shipping continues to be the most cost effective and preferred method of importers and exporters, the logistic for specific circumstances ultimately define the solutions.

Air freight, less-than-truckload shipping and rail can prove to be the optimal form of transport depending on individual needs. Whether the goods are perishable, whether the client’s requirements are time sensitive and whether potential disruptions pose a risk are all valid points.

If a company would prefer not to handle importing and exporting duties internally, the Canadian Importers Database (CID) on the Industry Canada website provides the names of companies importing goods into Canada, by product, by city and by country of origin.

Port of Montreal lists carriers with operations at the port on the website. Conversely, no export database exists, but the Cross Border Services Agency does provide trade statistics.

Executives can utilize this search tool to locate potential trading and importing partners.

Importing and exporting can prove to be worthwhile financial endeavors for companies of all sizes. However, the choices are abundant.

Clearly defining an organization’s needs is the vital first step to developing a strategic import/export plan.

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