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Japan's post-tsunami industrial recovery driving local port jobs

Metro Vancouver port's auto cargo volumes up nearly 50% this year
The surge in auto cargo being shipped through Vancouver's port is driving employment on Annacis Island

A rebound in vehicle cargo through Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) is stimulating local jobs, according to the port's president and CEO.

PMV boss Robin Silvester told Business in Vancouver that the port's year-to-date auto cargo volumes have increased 47% compared with the same period last year.

"I think we're seeing some strong catchup from the loss of the business due to the tsunami."

Silvester added that the port's auto cargo is good for local employment because a lot of the finishing work on the imported vehicles is done locally.

"If you go into a dealer and buy a new car and you specify a certain type of spoiler and a certain type of radio, that's fitted quite often in the automotive terminal down in Annacis Island."

But Silvester noted that auto cargo volumes have yet to reach pre-recession levels.

"If we go back to 2008, we had 240,000 vehicles [compared with 223,000 this year]. So we're not quite up to the peak level – but we've had the strongest half since that time."

The rebound in vehicle deliveries contributed to the port's 6% growth in cargo volume this year compared with 2011's first six months.

Silvester said the port's mid-year stats indicate that PMV growth is accelerating over last year, when port cargo volumes grew 3.4%.

He added that container and cargo volumes through the port in the year's first six months were at record levels.

Silvester added that the stats bode well for continued growth through 2012.

"If we wind back to 2008, we had a great half-year but by the end of the year things were really slowing down. We don't see any signs of that at this stage, and so we're seeing that accelerating first half and hopefully we're going to see that through into the second half. As things look at the moment, barring anything unforeseen, this should be a strong year." •