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Canada’s Gateways to Prosperity: Airports and Seaports in Focus

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Introduction

Canada’s logistical network plays a pivotal role in its economy, serving as a vital conduit for international trade, particularly with its second-largest trade partner, China. At the heart of this network are Canada’s major airports and seaports, which not only accommodate the vast flow of goods and commodities but also connect the vast country to global markets, facilitating economic growth and prosperity. Among these, Toronto Pearson, Vancouver International, and Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau stand out as primary air cargo hubs, while ports like Vancouver and Montreal are key maritime gateways. This intricate infrastructure supports a complex web of trade routes, highlighting Canada’s strategic position in global logistics and its capability to handle the demands of international commerce efficiently.

Major Airports in Canada

Canada has some major airports that handle lots of cargo, with Toronto Pearson International Airport at the top. It’s the busiest airport in Canada for both people and goods, moving around 48,000 tonnes of cargo every month. That’s a lot of stuff flying in and out, making it a key place for trade and transport.

Then there’s Vancouver International Airport, which is the second busiest. It’s a big point of entry for goods coming from and going to Asia, especially the Pacific side. About 30,000 tonnes of cargo pass through here each month. This airport connects Canada to lots of important markets in Asia.

Montreal’s airport, named after Pierre Elliott Trudeau, is third in line. It’s also busy with both passengers and cargo, handling about 17,000 tonnes of cargo monthly. These airports are like Canada’s front doors for trade, bringing in goods from all over, including lots of cargo flights from China. On average, about 90 cargo flights make the trip from China to Canada every week, showing just how close the trade ties are between the two countries. The exact amount of cargo can change because of different things like the time of year or how much stuff people need to move. But with China as one of Canada’s biggest trade partners, it’s clear that these flights are a big deal for business between the two.

Here is a list of the major international airports in Canada:

Toronto Pearson International Airport

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is an important cargo hub in Canada, handling over 400,000 tonnes of cargo annually. The airport offers a variety of cargo services, including air freight, ground handling, and customs clearance.

In terms of equipment and facilities, Toronto Pearson International Airport has a dedicated cargo terminal, the Cargo West facility, which spans over 260,000 square feet and offers state-of-the-art equipment and technology for handling various types of cargo. The airport also has numerous aircraft parking positions and cargo loading docks, as well as refrigerated and heated storage facilities for perishable and temperature-sensitive cargo.

The number of daily cargo flights varies, but on average, there are approximately 75 cargo flights departing from Toronto Pearson International Airport each day. These flights serve a variety of destinations around the world, including major hubs in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Internationally, Toronto Pearson International Airport is ranked as the 31st busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo tonnage, according to Airports Council International’s (ACI) 2020 World Airport Traffic Report. In its own continent, North America, it is ranked as the 7th busiest airport for cargo tonnage. Within Canada, it is the busiest airport for cargo shipments, handling nearly 40% of the country’s air cargo. Toronto Pearson International Airport plays a critical role in facilitating international trade and commerce, and its ranking reflects its importance as a global transportation hub.

General Information Details
IATA YYZ
ICAO CYYZ
City Toronto
Height 569 ft / 173 m
Runways 5
Longest Runway 13R/31L
Airlines Air Canada, WestJet, American Airlines, etc.
Destinations Domestic and International

Vancouver International Airport​

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is one of Canada’s busiest airports and an important cargo hub on the West Coast. YVR has a dedicated cargo terminal, the Air Cargo Centre, which offers a variety of cargo services, including air freight, ground handling, and customs clearance.

The Air Cargo Centre spans over 200,000 square feet and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment for handling various types of cargo. The facility also has refrigerated and heated storage areas for perishable and temperature-sensitive cargo.

YVR handles approximately 320,000 tonnes of cargo annually and has daily cargo flights to destinations around the world, including major hubs in Asia, Europe, and the United States. The airport is served by a variety of cargo airlines, including Cathay Pacific Cargo, FedEx, and UPS.

Internationally, YVR is ranked as the 51st busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo tonnage, according to Airports Council International’s (ACI) 2020 World Airport Traffic Report. In its own continent, North America, it is ranked as the 10th busiest airport for cargo tonnage. Within Canada, it is the second busiest airport for cargo shipments, handling approximately 15% of the country’s air cargo. YVR’s ranking reflects its importance as a key player in the global transportation industry and its critical role in facilitating international trade and commerce.

General Information Details
IATA YVR
ICAO CYVR
City Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Height 14 ft / 4 m (ASL)
Runways 3
Longest Runway 12,972 ft / 3,954 m
Airlines Over 70 airlines operate at YVR, including Air Canada, WestJet, and Delta Air Lines
Destinations YVR serves over 135 non-stop destinations worldwide. Some popular destinations include Tokyo, London, and Los Angeles.

Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)​

Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is one of Canada’s busiest airports and an important cargo hub on the East Coast. YUL has a dedicated cargo terminal, the Air Canada Cargo facility, which offers a variety of cargo services, including air freight, ground handling, and customs clearance.

The Air Canada Cargo facility spans over 138,000 square feet and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment for handling various types of cargo. The facility also has refrigerated and heated storage areas for perishable and temperature-sensitive cargo.

YUL handles approximately 200,000 tonnes of cargo annually and has daily cargo flights to destinations around the world, including major hubs in Asia, Europe, and the United States. The airport is served by a variety of cargo airlines, including Air Canada Cargo, FedEx, and DHL.

Internationally, YUL is ranked as the 91st busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo tonnage, according to Airports Council International’s (ACI) 2020 World Airport Traffic Report. In its own continent, North America, it is ranked as the 21st busiest airport for cargo tonnage. Within Canada, it is the third busiest airport for cargo shipments, handling approximately 13% of the country’s air cargo. YUL’s ranking reflects its importance as a key player in the global transportation industry and its critical role in facilitating international trade and commerce.

General Information Details
IATA YUL
ICAO CYUL
City Montreal
Height 118 ft (36 m)
Runways 2
Longest Runway 11,000 ft (3,353 m)
Airlines Air Canada, Air Transat, WestJet, Porter Airlines, and more
Destinations Domestic and international destinations including Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Paris, London, and more

Calgary International Airport (YYC)​​

Calgary International Airport (YYC) is located in Calgary, Alberta, and is one of Canada’s busiest airports. It is also an important cargo hub, handling over 140,000 tonnes of cargo annually.

YYC has a dedicated cargo terminal, the Cargo Village, which offers a variety of cargo services, including air freight, ground handling, and customs clearance. The Cargo Village spans over 100,000 square feet and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment for handling various types of cargo.

The airport has daily cargo flights to destinations around the world, including major hubs in Asia, Europe, and the United States. The airport is served by a variety of cargo airlines, including Air Canada Cargo, FedEx, and UPS.

Internationally, YYC is ranked as the 137th busiest airport in the world in terms of cargo tonnage, according to Airports Council International’s (ACI) 2020 World Airport Traffic Report. Within Canada, it is the fourth busiest airport for cargo shipments, handling approximately 5% of the country’s air cargo.

YYC’s ranking reflects its growing importance as a key player in the global transportation industry and its critical role in facilitating international trade and commerce. The airport continues to invest in its cargo facilities and services to meet the growing demand for air freight and maintain its position as an important cargo hub in Canada.

General Information Details
IATA YYC
ICAO CYYC
City Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Height 3,557 ft (1,084 m)
Runways 2
Longest Runway 12,675 ft (3,864 m)
Airlines Air Canada, WestJet, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and others
Destinations Domestic and international

Other Airports in Canada

Canada has several other major airports that handle a significant amount of air cargo. Here are some of them listed:

  • Calgary International Airport (YYC) – Located in Alberta, it serves as an important freight hub for central and western Canada.
  • Edmonton International Airport (YEG) – Also in Alberta, it’s a key airport for cargo operations, including shipments to and from the northern territories.
  • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW) – The airport in the nation’s capital, it handles a variety of cargo, serving eastern Ontario and nearby regions.
  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) – Located in Nova Scotia, it is a significant airport for cargo entering and leaving the Atlantic region.
  • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG) – This airport in Manitoba is a central cargo hub for the prairies.
  • Hamilton John C. Munro International Airport (YHM) – Situated in Ontario, this airport is strategically located and specializes in cargo flights.
  • Victoria International Airport (YYJ) – While primarily a passenger airport, it also manages cargo flights, located in British Columbia.
  • Kelowna International Airport (YLW) – In British Columbia, it handles cargo traffic for the interior of the province.
  • Regina International Airport (YQR) – This airport in Saskatchewan provides services for both passengers and cargo.
    Saskatoon John G.
  • Diefenbaker International Airport (YXE) – Another important airport in Saskatchewan for cargo services.

Major Seaports in Canada

Seaports are super important for letting China and Canada trade with each other. They’re the places where big ships that carry cargo come and go. At these ports, containers full of goods are loaded and unloaded, and then those goods are sent to places inside the country.

Canada has some big seaports like Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, and Prince Rupert. These places are really well-equipped to handle a lot of cargo and can take care of big ships that come in.

In simple terms, these seaports are a big deal for Canada and China doing business together. They help bring in all sorts of things that people and businesses need. As the world keeps buying and selling more and more stuff, these seaports are going to stay really important for moving things around the globe.

Port of Vancouver​

The Port of Vancouver is the largest port in Canada and the third-largest in North America, located in the western province of British Columbia. It plays a vital role in trade between China and Canada, serving as a major gateway for imports and exports between the two countries. In 2020, the Port of Vancouver handled a total of 144.1 million tonnes of cargo, with imports accounting for 51.3% and exports accounting for 48.7%.

The Port of Vancouver is operated by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, with the terminal operated by DP World. It is a major hub for container shipping, with 29 container terminals, and is also a key port for bulk cargo such as grain, coal, and petroleum products.

Information Details
Address 100 The Pointe, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC, V6C 3T4
Port Authority Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
Phone -10268
Fax -10302
Email info@portvancouver.com
Coordinates 49.2883° N, 123.1119° W
Decimal Coordinates 49.2883, -123.1119
UN/LOCODE CAVAN
Port Type Seaport
Port Size Large
Website https://www.portvancouver.com/
Terminal Operator DP World

Port of Montreal

The Port of Montreal is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and is the second-largest port in the country. It is a major gateway for trade between North America, Europe, and Asia, and handles a diverse range of cargo, including containerized goods, bulk cargo, and project cargo.

In terms of containerized cargo, the Port of Montreal has been experiencing strong growth in recent years, with a record 1.75 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) handled in 2019. This represents a 4.1% increase from the previous year.

The Port of Montreal is a key hub for trade between China and Canada, with numerous shipping lines offering regular services between the two countries. It is also well-connected to other major ports in North America and Europe, making it a popular choice for companies looking to move goods across multiple regions.

Address 2100 Pierre-Dupuy Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Port Authority Montreal Port Authority
Phone +1 514-283-7011
Fax +1 514-283-0829
Email info@port-montreal.com
Coordinates 45.4973° N, 73.5377° W
Decimal 45.4973, -73.5377
UN/LOCODE CAMTR
Port Type Seaport
Port Size Large
Website https://www.port-montreal.com/
Terminal Maisonneuve Terminal

Port of Prince Rupert​

The Port of Prince Rupert is located on the west coast of Canada, in the province of British Columbia. It is a relatively new port, having opened in 2007, but it has quickly become an important hub for trade between Asia and North America. The port is capable of handling a wide range of cargo, including containers, bulk cargo, and specialized cargo like cars and forest products.

The Port of Prince Rupert has a number of advantages that make it an attractive option for shipping from China to Canada. For example, it has deep water access, which allows it to accommodate larger vessels than some other ports. It is also located closer to Asia than most other North American ports, which can reduce transit times and costs.

In terms of cargo volume, the Port of Prince Rupert has experienced significant growth in recent years. In 2020, it handled 32.4 million tonnes of cargo, an increase of 7% from the previous year. The port has also been recognized for its environmental sustainability efforts, including the use of renewable energy sources and efforts to reduce emissions.

Address 200-215 Cow Bay Road, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1A2, Canada
Port Authority Prince Rupert Port Authority
Phone +1 250-624-2002
Fax +1 250-624-3700
Email info@rupertport.com
Coordinates 54.3065° N, 130.3275° W
Decimal 54.3065, -130.3275
UN/LOCODE CAPRR
Port Type Deep-water seaport
Port Size Medium
Website www.rupertport.com
Terminal Fairview Container Terminal, Ridley Terminals Inc., Westview Wood Pellet Terminal, Prince Rupert Grain Terminal, AltaGas Propane Terminal

Other seaports in Canada

Here is a list of some other seaports in Canada use when shipping from China to Canada:

  1. Port of Halifax: Located in Nova Scotia, the Port of Halifax is the eastern gateway to North America and is strategically positioned on the shortest shipping route between Europe and North America.
  2. Port of Quebec: Located in Quebec City, the Port of Quebec is the second largest port in Canada and is a major hub for bulk and breakbulk cargo, as well as containerized cargo.
  3. Port of Saint John: Located in New Brunswick, the Port of Saint John is Canada’s third largest port on the east coast and is a vital gateway for trade between North America, Europe, and Asia.
  4. Port of Vancouver Island: Located in British Columbia, the Port of Vancouver Island is a regional gateway that provides access to North American and global markets.
  5. Port of Sept-Îles: Located in Quebec, the Port of Sept-Îles is one of the largest ore-handling ports in North America and is a key player in the global iron ore industry.
  6. Port of Saguenay: Located in Quebec, the Port of Saguenay is a deep-water port that handles bulk and breakbulk cargo, as well as cruise ships.
  7. Port of Thunder Bay: Located in Ontario, the Port of Thunder Bay is the largest outbound grain port in North America and handles a range of other bulk and general cargo.
  8. Port of Prince Edward Island: Located in Charlottetown, the Port of Prince Edward Island is a small port that primarily handles bulk cargo such as petroleum and construction materials.

Conclusion

Canada’s major airports and seaports are indispensable assets in the global trade ecosystem, providing essential links between the North American country and international markets, especially China. These facilities not only exemplify Canada’s logistical prowess but also its commitment to maintaining and expanding its role in global commerce. As trade volumes continue to grow and the demands on infrastructure evolve, Canada’s investment in its transportation and logistical networks will remain crucial. By ensuring the efficiency, sustainability, and capacity of its major ports and airports, Canada not only secures its economic future but also strengthens its position as a key player in international trade.

FAQ

Canada's airports and seaports are vital to its economy, serving as the main gateways for international trade. They facilitate the import and export of goods, connecting Canada to global markets, and are crucial for the movement of high-value, time-sensitive, and perishable goods.

The major airports in Canada for cargo include Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, and Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. These airports are equipped to handle large volumes of cargo, playing key roles in Canada's air freight logistics.

Canada's seaports, particularly the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Montreal, are essential for trade with China, facilitating the bulk of maritime trade between the two countries. They handle a wide range of commodities, including natural resources, consumer goods, and raw materials, contributing significantly to the trade volume with China.

Yes, Canada's major airports and ports have specialized facilities to handle various types of cargo, including perishables, pharmaceuticals, and dangerous goods. For instance, temperature-controlled warehouses for perishable goods and secure areas for high-value items ensure the safe and efficient handling of specialized cargo.

The infrastructure of Canada's ports and airports supports the economy by enabling efficient import and export operations, reducing transportation costs, and facilitating timely access to global markets. This infrastructure is critical for sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and retail, which rely on the swift movement of goods.

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