Inside Logistics

Vancouver to develop vessel traffic flow system

The system will reduce congestion and manage marine traffic in the busiest, most confined waters of the port


August 17, 2021
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The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is going to design and implement a system to manage marine vessel traffic and prevent bottlenecks.

Marine traffic management systems are analogous to air traffic control for airports, regulating the arrival and departures of ships and ensuring their safety.

The system will reduce congestion and manage marine traffic in the busiest, most confined waters of the port. It will also help to reduce environmental impacts on the Southern Resident killer whale population by limiting unnecessary vessel movements, and reduce the negative effects of vessel movements on local residents.

As Canada’s largest port, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority handles $1 out of every $3 of Canada’s trade in goods transiting outside North America, accounting for almost $240 billion in goods and more than 2,700 foreign vessel calls annually.

The goal is to have the system designed by March 31, 2022.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will develop the implementation plan for the new system. This plan will include approaches to policies, procedures, practices, incentives, technologies, information, and data-sharing needed to deliver a traffic management system that creates benefits for all partners. This approach will reflect best practices seen in some leading ports around the world.

Marine traffic management plans are a best practice in large ports around the world. They support marine safety but also, through increased information-sharing and collaboration across the port community, enable more predictable and reliable supply chain performance for businesses.

“We are proud to collaborate with port partners, stakeholders, Indigenous groups, and government on this new marine vessel traffic management system that will not only improve and optimize the efficient movement of goods through our port system, but also reduce the environmental and community impacts of trade activity in our gateway,” said Robin Silvester, president and CEO of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Transport Canada will be available to provide technical expertise and help ensure key objectives are achieved. The department will also consider any potential regulatory changes that would support the development of this new system, and will ensure the outcomes of this work are reflected in the Ports Modernization initiative currently underway.