Container shipments continue to be the fastest growing cargo type handled by Canadian ports. Alberta has seen a large increase in import and export container movements. In 2005 the port of Vancouver handled almost 1.8 million TEUs (20 foot equivalent units). This port, as well as the newly developing container port at Prince Rupert, continues to be Alberta's number one port for imports and exports. The total Canadian container market is estimated to be 4.6 million TEUs.

Transport Canada, along with the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba commissioned MariNova Consulting and partners to examine the use of containers in Canada. The report is intended to assess all aspects of container usage on a national basis with special consideration on the issue of empty container access and repositioning.

The overall objectives of the study are to:

  • describe the flow of international marine containers within Canada, focusing on empty container movements and repositioning, by region and province
  • identify "nodes" of container-based logistic activity, including volumes
  • provide a statistical analysis of inbound and outbound loaded and empty containers
  • identify key issues relating to the efficient use of empty containers and factors that limit full container backhaul movements, including cabotage and tariff restrictions
  • identify best practices as they exist in U.S. and Europe.

Use of Containers in Canada – Final Report (PDF, 7.6 MB)

Use of Containers in Canada – Appendices (PDF, 299 KB)