By Mata Press Service
Vancouver’s quest to be global maritime business hub is making waves in Asia as the shipping industry predicts India and China will quadruple their freight volumes by 2050.
“The future of global shipping is tied to Asia’s resource demands and Vancouver offers the closest and most diversified port in the North American market”, said Kaity Arsoniadis-Stein, the Executive Director of the Vancouver International Maritime Centre.
“This is not just about more ships at our port and on our waterways but the corporate activity behind global trade,” she said.
Arsoniadis-Stein credited strong support from both the federal and provincial governments which fund’s VIMC efforts to share the advantages of Vancouver globally as a maritime business hub.
Currently, 10 global companies are working with VIMC staff to open up local branches in Vancouver while another 50 have expressed interest in setting up operations in the city.
The taxpayer investment of $5 million into VIMC so far has already yielded about $40 million into the local economy. VIMC’s five-year projection for just two new shipping business entrants in Vancouver predicts a further $250 injection into BC’s economy.
Buoyed by its success, the provincial budget 2017 stated continued support for the VIMC as the province continues to support the creation of a maritime cluster by attracting “more shipping companies and their head offices to Vancouver creating long term sustainable high paying jobs while further building the Gateway between North America and Asia”.
“The B.C. government is proud to help VIMC bring new investment to our shipping industry,” said Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism.
“Our trade and investment representatives are located in key markets to help businesses make connections and promote the benefits of doing business in B.C.,” she said after a VIMC outreach mission to Asia last year where it hosted more than 100 shipping industry representatives in Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“With the closest shipping times to Asia, a highly skilled and multi-lingual workforce and a competitive business environment, it makes sense that the international shipping industry is looking to our province as one of the best locations in North America to live and invest,” said Wat.
After the mission, last September, Singapore-based AAL Shipping announced the opening of its Vancouver office. AAL is a leading global ocean transport operator.
With its popular ‘Pacific Service’, connecting North Asia with North America’s West Coast and Canada, through scheduled monthly liner sailings, it is already enjoyed a growing presence and reputation in the Canadian market. The establishment of AAL Canada enables the company to enhance its services further to the region’s key industry sectors, including LNG, oil, mining and forestry.
‘The launch of AAL Canada brings our brand closer to local shippers and provides them with greater levels of communication, competitiveness and partnership, with the ability to respond to their needs in an efficient, cost-effective, safe and reliable manner,” said Bernard Huizenga, Business Development Manager for AAL Canada.
The VIMC’s push strategy to attract shipping management operations to Vancouver is also getting attention in Europe.
Along with Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Shanghai, Vancouver is providing fierce international competition as a location for shipping activities, said a European Union shipping competitiveness study this month, that was commissioned by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations.
“The main competitive driver for Vancouver is the attractive fiscal regime for non-resident companies involved in international shipping activities,” said the authors of the report, Deloitte.
Next month, Vancouver will be featured for the first time, in the biannual Leading Maritime Capitals of the World study, the shipping world’s main reference for benchmarking maritime cities.
This report by Menon Economics, a Norwegian consultancy firm, is expected to be released in Singapore in at Sea Asia, the premier maritime and offshore conference and exhibition in Asia.
Looking five years into the future, global maritime experts predict that Singapore will keep its position as the global leader, while Shanghai is expected to increase its importance and become the second most important maritime city.
The race to become the leading maritime city in Europe is still open, between the big four – Oslo, Rotterdam, Athens and London. Dubai is predicted to take the step from being the leading maritime city in the Middle East to one of the leading maritime capitals of the world.
On the West Coast of North America, where there is no maritime hub, Vancouver with its strategic Pacific Rim location, a competitive international tax regime, sound banking system, liveability quotient, high-tech capacity and world-class universities, powers the city to compete better than ever with the maritime hubs of the world.
"People often ask: 'Why Vancouver for this?'," said Resource Works executive director Stewart Muir. "The number one reason is that the city is already the transportation hub for the most diversified provincial economy in Canada, in terms of international export markets. What VIMC is doing builds on more than a century of success."
He added: "Everyone is facing pressure to grow their economy while enhancing green values, and Vancouver is a place that is finding the right balance."
How Vancouver stacks up with other major global shipping hubs
EU shipping competitiveness study
International benchmark analysis
Study commissioned by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations 27 January 2017
VIMC by the numbers
$6 million – The Vancouver International Maritime Centre (VIMC) was established in September 2015 with a $6-million federal-provincial plan to promote, foster and encourage the development of Vancouver as a location for the ownership, central control and management of international shipping firms.
200 – The number of shipping companies that engaged with the Vancouver International Maritime Centre (VIMC) last year on the benefits of Asia-Pacific and North American operations based out of Vancouver.
50 – The number of shipping-related companies that are actively pursuing moving to Vancouver with the help of VIMC.
$18 million - By marketing Canada's strategic location and business opportunities, VIMC aims to attract up to eight regional headquarters or branch offices, $18 million in investments and approximately 200 direct and indirect professional jobs in three years.
80 - 80 per cent of the world’s global trade by volume is carried by sea. The Port of Vancouver is the largest in Canada and the third largest in North America by total tonnage of goods shipped.
16,000 – The number of students at the University of the Aegean which has signed a signed a Bilateral Agreement with the VIMC to develop faculty and student exchange programs as well as marine-related training initiatives between Greece and Canada
8 months – the time it takes for a company to go from initial awareness of VIMC and Canada’s value proposition to deciding to set up office in Vancouver.
0 – There is no maritime hub on the west coast of North America.
$510 million – The amount of cargo that moves through the Port of Vancouver every day. The Vancouver port sustains an estimated 100,000 supply-chain jobs, $6.1 billion in wages, and $9.7 billion in GDP across Canada.