Port of Vancouver generating ‘logistical nightmare’ for Canadian vehicle deliveries

Delays of up to a month at the Port of Vancouver, driven by heightened motor vehicle imports and a lack of railcars, are prompting automakers that ship autos by means of the West Coastline logistics hub to enact elaborate contingency plans to get motor vehicles to Canadian dealers.

Struggling with weeks of ready at Vancouver’s Annacis Automobile Terminal, Hyundai Car Canada, for just one, has started diverting vessels to ports in the United States, the place vehicles are offloaded, placed on railcars and delivered throughout the border into Canada.

The rerouting is no straightforward process, explained business CEO Don Romano, but it beats a month of idling off the coast of Vancouver, primarily when the ship is thanks back throughout the Pacific Ocean to decide up a further load.

“It’s a sad point out of affairs,” Romano explained.

“You have to be extremely productive. A ship has to depart and berth on a incredibly certain timeframe so it can get back and choose up a lot more and then provide much more. The margin of error is just much too little.”

For now, the automaker is finding up the tab for the logistical gymnastics, he extra. If the challenges persist, the charges will all be labored into Hyundai’s motor vehicle pricing, this means consumers will end up shelling out for Vancouver’s port complications.

David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, reported 50 percent a dozen of the abroad automakers the organization signifies have flagged the same situation.

Automobiles ‘NEED TO BE Right here IN CANADA’

“In some situations [they] do not even have a day exactly where they are heading to be allowed to land. So, they conclusion up diverting those shipments down to the U.S., and it makes a whole other logistical nightmare in phrases of receiving the motor vehicles from the port in the U.S. to in which they require to be in this article in Canada.”

As of mid-June, Romano reported a person ship laden with about 4,000 cars and trucks was ready off Vancouver, although another vessel was en route to Canada. He reported 89 per cent of the motor vehicles Hyundai sells in Canada are imported from South Korea, with the balance developed in the United States.

The the greater part of Hyundai’s trans-Pacific imports are nevertheless arriving at Canadian dealers through Vancouver, Romano reported. But the delays, which have been ongoing considering the fact that major flooding wreaked havoc on British Columbia’s infrastructure in late 2021, have prompted the organization to redirect shipments that deal with for a longer time wait moments.

Whilst consumers have grow to be accustomed to delays considering that COVID-19, the Port of Vancouver is now the most important obstacle for Canadian dealers on the lookout to increase car inventories, explained Huw Williams, community affairs director at the Canadian Auto Dealers Affiliation.

The delays, Williams claimed, damage both of those productivity and competitiveness, particularly at a time when need for cars remains elevated.   

“We do not want more delays. We want to be in a situation to fulfill that shopper need.”

The Port of Vancouver, which encompasses 29 different terminals sprawled throughout the Burrard Inlet and Fraser River that encircle downtown Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond, has two vehicle terminals. The bigger of the two is on Annacis Island in the Fraser River, the other is in close by Richmond. Collectively, they account for almost 100 per cent of the cars transported to Canada from Asia.


Both vehicle terminals are federally owned, but operated by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics.

Dan Emerson, vice-president of Canadian functions at the global shipping and delivery firm, acknowledged the delays, and claimed the two terminals are viewing “extremely higher volumes” as car shipments climb from their pandemic lows.

“All OEMs are trying to restock their dealers at the identical time, within a extremely brief time frame of a couple of months, so we are going through increased vessel calls with really huge volumes for every simply call,” he wrote in an e-mail.

A nationwide railcar shortage, Emerson reported, is exacerbating the dilemma, stopping offloaded vehicles from staying effectively transported out of the terminals. Automakers manage their agreements with railroads straight, Emerson additional, so Wallenius Wilhelmsen performs a coordination function but “does not manage the railcar source.”

The organization is “working tirelessly” to handle the quantity by way of liaising with the automakers, vessel operators, railroads and trucking organizations included, Emerson said.


Delays at the two auto terminals are also just one item on a laundry list of issues at Canada’s busiest port. A May possibly report from the Entire world Financial institution and S&P World-wide Sector Intelligence, ranked the Port of Vancouver 347th on performance out of 348 container ports assessed globally.

Andrew Wynn-Williams, divisional vice-president for British Columbia with industry team Canadian Producers and Exporters, said concerns at the port were worsened mainly because of the pandemic and B.C.’s 2021 floods.

Shortfalls in the shipping hub’s underlying infrastructure, on the other hand, are the actual supply of the problems, he added. He pointed to several railway chokepoints and a lack of storage space in land-strapped Metro Vancouver as two of the vital problems the federal governing administration and neighborhood stakeholders are performing to tackle.

“There’s no speedy resolve. If someone’s expecting the port to make improvements to appropriate now, that is not heading to materialize,” he advised Automotive Information Canada.


Some reduction for automakers, on the other hand, seems to be on the horizon.

The Annacis terminal is halfway via an expansion venture that will include further more vehicle capability as import volumes from Asia go on to expand. The task, on observe to be finished following yr, will improve ability to 480,000 autos per year, from 352,000, according to Alex Munro, a spokesperson for the Port of Vancouver.

But the appreciably greater potential at the island terminal pursuing the expansion is dependent on railcar source, Emerson warned, which means if the shortage of railcars is not solved the web site will not reach its nameplate throughput.

The seasonality of the automotive business also results in challenges, Emerson reported.

“We can use guidance from the OEM’s to far better manage vessels flows into Canada by furnishing a well balanced quantity through the year versus shipping intense volumes more than five to six months.”

Romano acknowledged the motor vehicle organization is currently at “peak seasonality,” and reported delays at the port should really subside in the 2nd half of the 12 months as volumes decrease. More time-term, nevertheless, he said he fears the delays could persist as imports from Asia tick up about the following 5 to 10 years.

“We’re observing a lot more autos coming from Asian nations around the world like Vietnam and China. Tesla’s now shipping from China to Canada. So, we’re seeing tons additional trans-Pacific exercise.”

As volumes climb, the federal government must ensure Canada’s port infrastructure can retain up, he extra. This could indicate ongoing advancements in Vancouver, or additional terminals able of handling motor vehicles at other West Coastline hubs, these types of as Prince Rupert, Romano claimed.