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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Analysis of the drop trailer traffic between the B.C. Mainland and Vancouver Island Hinds, Scott Douglas


This thesis provides an analysis of the drop trailer traffic moving between the B.C. Mainland and Vancouver Island. Drop trailers are semi trailers which are literally dropped at the ferry terminal to be transported across the Strait of Georgia without the accompaniment of the power unit and driver. This specialized service is provided only by the British Columbia Coastal Steamship Service, a subsidiary of CP. Rail. One objective of the thesis is to analyze the economics of shipping via drop trailer as opposed to a live unit, or one that includes the driver and tractor unit such as is provided by the B.C. Ferries. A second objective is to determine the size and importance of the market, and to forecast future requirements. A third objective is to analyze the physical facilities available to determine their capacity and possibilities for expansion. The B.C.C.S.S. facility in downtown Vancouver is under pressure from various groups to relocate to a more suitable location. Thus a final objective is an analysis of the benefits and costs of relocating the B.C.C.S.S. terminal to the north Richmond area. Since the drop trailer industry is very specialized, and captive to the B.C.C.S.S., very little information is published or available concerning it. Thus the author has had to rely primarily on discussions with all the parties involved, namely the B.C.C.S.S., City of Vancouver, and numerous carriers. One of the by-products of the thesis is a body of information and data pertaining to the drop trailer industry, that can be used for future research in related topics. The analysis of the economics of shipping via drop trailer shows a substantial savings potential, even though the actual ferry cost is greater. The savings are generated by the elimination of idle driver and tractor time. This saving was estimated at $49.20 per one way trip. During the past decade the volume of drop trailer traffic has been increasing steadily even though railcar traffic has been on the decline. This increase is causing the B.C.C.S.S. to approach the capacity of the present system. Political and physical pressures have raised the issue of relocating the terminal A benefit-cost analysis of a particular alternative, a partial relocation to the north Richmond area shows there can be substantial benefits for carrier as well as the B.C.C.S.S.

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