The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority says overall cargo volumes fell by three per cent last year, as the global economy began to show signs of a slowdown.
The authority, which overseas Canada’s largest port in Vancouver, says grain and fertilizer exports surged in the second half of the year, but the gains were not enough to offset a sputtering start caused by a weak harvest and supply chain problems.
Container imports also fell by four per cent amid softer consumer demand and overstocked inventories.
Despite the decrease, Vancouver port authority CEO Robin Silvester says the need is urgent for a new container terminal, which received federal cabinet approval last month but still requires various permits to proceed.
Silvester says the decline in container cargo that began in December is providing much-needed relief to an overburdened port.
Cruises were one area to come roaring back after a two-year hiatus, with a record 307 vessels dropping anchor in the city.