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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The application of economic impact analysis: a case study of Fraser Port Tedder, Sinclair John


The purpose of this thesis is twofold: first, to review the literature on economic impact analysis in general, and port-economic impact literature in particular; and second, to use this background to undertake an economic impact assessment. The case study for this thesis is Fraser Port, which is located along the lower reaches of the Fraser River in British Columbia's Lower Mainland metropolitan region. The port is administered by the Fraser River Harbour Commission. This thesis is about production, people, and the economic significance of Fraser Port. This thesis is not an analysis of economic impact theory, but a review and application of port impact identification techniques. All data and impacts presented relate to 1992. Ports perform a necessary function in a nation's trading system by providing a transshipment connection between land and water modes of transport. As such, the port is strategically connected to the production of the many goods passing through its facilities. For this thesis, the impact of the various commodities passing through the port is termed port-associated. The port also manifests its presence through its daily operations and generates numerous employment opportunities both within and beyond the confines of the waterfront. The economic impact driven by this activity is termed port-industry and most closely reflects the impact of the working waterfront. To complete the impact assessment of the port-industry category, a survey was undertaken to collect sales revenue and employment information. This data was then aggregated into specific industry sectors and a total economic impact was estimated using appropriate economic multipliers. The result was a picture of direct, indirect, and induced activity resulting from the daily operations of the port. The port-associated category was assessed in a slightly different manner. The value of each cargo was determined and, where appropriate, was assessed for the economic activity related to its production. This activity is not generated by the port, but is associated with Fraser Port through the use of its transshipment services. The results of the assessment reveal that the port-industry category generates approximately one quarter of a billion dollars of provincial gross domestic product (GDP). This led to a total GDP impact across Canada of close to $275 million. Employment amounted to about 2,113 full-time equivalent positions in B.C. and nearly 3,400 across Canada. In 1992, the total value of import and export cargo passing through Fraser Port was approximately $6.1 billion, $3.8 billion of which was international imports. The remainder, $2.3 billion, was made up of domestic outbound and inbound cargoes, and international exports. It is important to recognize that these two categories of port activity are measures of different effects. The results of the port-industry and port-associated categories should not be added to produce a total Fraser Port impact. Adhering to this recommendation will ensure that the figures, and thus Fraser Port, will not be misrepresented to the public.

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