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Economic Impact of Port of Vancouver


Vancouver, BC

Service Area

Economics & Finance

Downtown Vancouver port and shipping.

Project Brief

Initially, InterVISTAS was commissioned by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to conduct an economic impact study based on the Port’s 2007 operations. InterVISTAS completed a comprehensive economic impact study for the amalgamated ports to determine its local, provincial and national economic impacts. 

Port of Vancouver (formerly Port Metro Vancouver) commissioned an update to the 2007 study in both 2012 and again in 2016. This study examined the economic impacts of the operations and activities of the Port in 2016 on the Province of British Columbia and Canada. The economic impact of cruise ship spending was also included as part of the study. The three major components of economic impact (classified as direct, indirect and induced impacts) were estimated, which capture the economic impact of the port across Canada’s economy. The study revealed that Port of Vancouver activities had a wide array of economic impacts on Canadian supply chains, extending to the Prairies and the rest of Canada. 

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has used the results of the economic impact study in a number of ways, including general public relations, government communication and advocacy efforts and as a tool for public education about the port and its economic benefits to the community.

Container ship on water in Vancouver.
A series of containers and container cranes in Vancouver.


To obtain the necessary information to complete the study, InterVISTAS relied on a number of different sources, techniques and applications. Specifically, this involved working with a number of marine transportation stakeholders, including the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and all Port of Vancouver users and tenants. Example techniques to collect data included detailed survey design, telephone interviews and detailed stakeholder consultations.

Using multiplier analysis, direct, indirect and induced economic impacts were assessed. The multipliers used in this study were based on the 2010 Input-Output multipliers maintained by Statistics Canada for each of the provinces and Canada nationwide. Specific impacts examined included gross output, GDP, employment levels, wages and government revenue.

These impacts were assessed across a variety of different groups relevant to the marine transport sector, including: 

  • Maritime Cargo; 
  • Bulk Cargo; 
  • Containers; 
  • Breakbulk Cargo; 
  • Automobiles; and 
  • Cruise Ship Services.

The study also involved assessing the future economic impacts associated with the Ports planned capital related expenditures, in addition to the Ports tenants planned capital expenditures through the 2026 fiscal year.


The Port of Vancouver is an important facilitator of economic development in Canada. Its economic importance is reflected in the estimated 44,800 full-time equivalents (FTEs) of employment that is directly supported or facilitated by the port and the $4.6 billion directly contributed to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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