Port of Vancouver growing ‘logistical nightmare’ for Canadian auto deliveries

BE desk

Delays of as much as a era on the Port of Vancouver, pushed by way of heightened automobile imports and a dearth of railcars, are prompting automakers that send cars in the course of the West Coast logistics hub to enact elaborate contingency plans to get cars to Canadian sellers.

Dealing with weeks of ready at Vancouver’s Annacis Auto Terminal, Hyundai Auto Canada, for one, has begun diverting vessels to ports in the US, the place cars are offloaded, put on railcars and shipped around the border into Canada.

The bypass isn’t any easy job, stated corporate CEO Don Romano, but it surely beats a era of idling off the coast of Vancouver, particularly when the send is due again around the Pacific Ocean to pick out up any other load.

“It’s a sad state of affairs,” Romano stated.

“You have to be very efficient. A ship has to depart and berth on a very specific timeframe so it can get back and pick up more and then deliver more. The margin of error is just too small.”

For now, the automaker is choosing up the tab for the logistical gymnastics, he added. If the problems persist, the prices will all be labored into Hyundai’s automobile pricing, that means customers will finally end up paying for Vancouver’s port issues.

David Adams, president of the World Automakers of Canada, stated part a lot of the out of the country automakers the group represents have flagged the similar factor.


“In some cases [they] don’t even have a date where they’re going to be allowed to land. So, they end up diverting those shipments down to the U.S., and it creates a whole other logistical nightmare in terms of getting the vehicles from the port in the U.S. to where they need to be here in Canada.”

As of mid-June, Romano stated one send encumbered with about 4,000 automobiles was once ready off Vancouver, date any other vessel was once en path to Canada. He stated 89 consistent with cent of the cars Hyundai sells in Canada are imported from South Korea, with the steadiness inbuilt the US.

The vast majority of Hyundai’s trans-Pacific imports are nonetheless arriving at Canadian sellers by the use of Vancouver, Romano stated. However the delays, which were ongoing since large flood wreaked havoc on British Columbia’s infrastructure in past due 2021, have brought on the corporate to redirect shipments that face longer wait instances.

Date shoppers have change into familiar with delays since COVID-19, the Port of Vancouver is now the most important impediment for Canadian sellers having a look to spice up automobile inventories, stated Huw Williams, folk affairs director on the Canadian Automotive Sellers Affiliation.

The delays, Williams stated, harm each productiveness and competitiveness, particularly at a generation when call for for cars remainder increased.   

“We don’t want further delays. We want to be in a position to meet that customer demand.”

The Port of Vancouver, which encompasses 29 detached terminals sprawled around the Burrard Inlet and Fraser River that encircle downtown Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond, has two auto terminals. The bigger of the 2 is on Annacis Island within the Fraser River, the alternative is in close by Richmond. In combination, they account for just about 100 consistent with cent of the cars shipped to Canada from Asia.


Each auto terminals are federally owned, however operated by way of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics.

Dan Emerson, vice-president of Canadian operations on the world delivery corporate, stated the delays, and stated the 2 terminals are optical “extremely high volumes” as auto shipments climb from their pandemic lows.

“All OEMs are trying to restock their dealers at the same time, within a very short time frame of a few months, so we are experiencing increased vessel calls with very large volumes per call,” he wrote in an e mail.

A national railcar dearth, Emerson stated, is exacerbating the defect, fighting offloaded cars from being successfully transported out of the terminals. Automakers govern their oaths with railroads without delay, Emerson added, so Wallenius Wilhelmsen performs a coordination function however “does not control the railcar supply.”

The corporate is “working tirelessly” to govern the quantity via liaising with the automakers, vessel operators, railroads and trucking corporations concerned, Emerson stated.


Delays on the two auto terminals also are only one merchandise on a laundry checklist of issues at Canada’s busiest port. A Might file from the International Storehouse and S&P World Marketplace Understanding, ranked the Port of Vancouver 347th on potency out of 348 container ports assessed globally.

Andrew Wynn-Williams, divisional vice-president for British Columbia with business crew Canadian Producers and Exporters, stated problems on the port have been worsened as a result of the pandemic and B.C.’s 2021 floods.

Shortfalls within the delivery hub’s underlying infrastructure, on the other hand, are the actual supply of the issues, he added. He pointed to a number of railway chokepoints and a deficit of attic dimension in land-strapped Metro Vancouver as two of the important thing issues the government and native stakeholders are running to handle.

“There’s no quick fix. If someone’s expecting the port to improve right now, that’s not going to happen,” he informed Car Information Canada.


Some vacay for automakers, at the alternative hand, seems to be at the horizon.

The Annacis terminal is halfway via a variety venture that can upload additional automobile capability as import volumes from Asia keep growing. The venture, not off course to be finished after month, will spice up capability to 480,000 cars consistent with month, from 352,000, in keeping with Alex Munro, a spokesperson for the Port of Vancouver.

However the considerably upper capability on the island terminal following the growth depends on railcar provide, Emerson warned, that means if the dearth of railcars isn’t solved the web page gained’t achieve its nameplate throughput.

The seasonality of the car trade additionally creates demanding situations, Emerson stated.

“We can use support from the OEM’s to better manage vessels flows into Canada by providing a balanced volume throughout the year versus shipping extreme volumes over five to six months.”

Romano stated the auto trade is these days at “peak seasonality,” and stated delays on the port must abate in the second one part of the month as volumes abatement. Longer-term, on the other hand, he stated he fears the delays may just persist as imports from Asia tick up over the after 5 to ten years.

“We’re seeing more vehicles coming from Asian countries like Vietnam and China. Tesla’s now shipping from China to Canada. So, we’re seeing lots more trans-Pacific activity.”

As volumes climb, the government will have to assure Canada’s port infrastructure can hold up, he added. This would cruel ongoing enhancements in Vancouver, or added terminals in a position to dealing with cars at alternative West Coast hubs, akin to Prince Rupert, Romano stated.

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