UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Analysis of potential container traffic in the port of Vancouver Rees, Gordon Stanway


The primary purpose of the thesis is to evaluate the need for a container handling facility in the Port of Vancouver. During the late 1960's, the shipping industry has been urging construction of a container berth to protect its position against losing traffic to nearby ports which already have container facilities in operation. The National Harbours Board, on the other hand, has been reluctant to commit funds to a long-term project for construction and operating of a facility when the need for a facility is still poorly defined. The majority of claims by either the shipping industry or the port authority have been based on observation and in no instance has an in-depth study been presented covering all aspects that would support the contentions of either side. The study reviews the history of containerization in world trade and describes the developments in containerization at major seaports. Criteria for port planning are discussed, followed by a review of containerization taking place in Canadian ports. Recent studies undertaken to forecast potential containerizable cargo were examined to determine the significance of containerization in the intermodal systems and to highlight developments in world trade, fleet expansion, and in port planning. The studies also provided a framework in which to develop the method for determining the potential container traffic in Vancouver. The method, described herein as a Container Calculation Model, determines the potential containerizable tonnage and number of containerloads in major trade routes serving Vancouver. Input data for all import-export commodities on a route-by-route basis were obtained from the National Harbours Board. Each commodity was classified by its suitability to containerization by using both economic and physical criteria. Results of the Container Calculation Model showed the maximum number of loaded containers which would have been handled in the Port of Vancouver during 1967 would have been 87,700 20-foot containers. This includes both inbound and outbound traffic for all classes of containerization. In terms of total potential tonnage, the port would have handled 785,000 tons import, and 381,000 tons export in containers. Total import tons amounted to 1,969,000 tons of which 39.9 per cent was potentially containerizable. Only 3.5 per cent of 12,130,000 tons outbound was suitable for containerization. In the study, only 'Prime' commodities are used as the basis of evaluation of a container facility. During 1967, 43,100 units would have been handled on thirteen major trade routes. Japan, Europe, and Southeast Asia account for the majority of traffic. In terms of containerloads, the overall imbalance is almost 5:1 in favour of inbound traffic. On the Orient route, the imbalance is 10:1. Results of the computer analysis for potential containerized cargo was compared with the volume of actual container traffic during 1967, 1968 and early 1969. In 1967, only about two per cent of the potential was being realized. In terms of both container tonnage and number of containerloads, the study concluded that there is a definite potential for increased container traffic in the Port of Vancouver 'Prime' container traffic is sufficient to consider one container berth, served by one container crane, and thirty acres of backup area. One container berth would be sufficient to handle port requirements up until at least the mid 1970's.

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