British Columbia’s strategic location on the west coast of North America and our reliable transportation systems make it efficient and cost-competitive to ship products and travel to leading global markets. Our integrated system cuts costs when developing and delivering natural resources in North America and around the world.

A Reliable Integrated System

Our air, marine, and ground transportation systems are among the world’s most advanced and we continue to expand highways, rapid transit, and road infrastructure. 

The Pacific Gateway Alliance is a unique partnership among the key transportation providers in British Columbia. Governments work with port, rail, and air services to create an integrated, efficient, reliable supply chain.  Class 1 rail lines provide service to ports to expedite imported and exported containers. 

Air Travel and Cargo Transport

We have 38 certified airports, providing fast transportation options for passengers and freight in every corner of British Columbia and around the world. More than 300 additional airports, heliports, and water terminals provide access to remote communities.

Six international airports have completed multi-million dollar expansions to improve efficiency: Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George, Kelowna, Abbotsford, and Cranbrook.

Vancouver and Prince George International Airports are also sites for foreign trade zones, which interested companies can set up under Canada’s tariff laws. This allows imported goods to be stored duty-free and tax-free before they are exported from Canada.

Prince George International Airport (YXS) is located on trans-Pacific flight paths, providing a convenient alternative to Anchorage, Alaska for refuelling and cargo handling. This airport has the third longest commercial runway in Canada and can accommodate the wide-body cargo carriers that travel between Asia and North America.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is Canada’s busiest passenger and freight air link to Asia. In 2010, YVR completed a $1.4 billion expansion. In 2012, two new international air services were added: Virgin Atlantic and Sichuan Airlines. Over the next ten years, YVR will invest $1.8 billion to ensure the airport remains globally competitive.

Vancouver International Airport: Key Facts

  • YVR services 100 destinations around the world.
  • 62 passenger airlines fly into the airport regularly.
  • 80 flights fly directly to U.S. destinations daily.
  • Each week, there are 99 flights to the Asia-Pacific, 63 to Europe, and 33 to Mexico.
  • Approximately 17 million passengers traveled through YVR in 2011.
  • Conde Nast Traveler named YVR the second favourite airport in the world.
  • U.K.-based Skytrax ranked YVR the top airport in North America and number eight in the world.
  • YVR is a growing freight distribution hub. Seven of the top 10 air cargo carriers provide non-stop scheduled service to 39 international and 23 U.S. destinations.

Ground Transport

Our terminals ensure efficient global access. You can move natural resources by truck to a transload facility or directly to port by rail. Our ports can efficiently move containers from rail to ship, or ship to rail or truck, based on the destination.

Truck and rail systems are integrated with air and water transportation, ensuring that cargo can be efficiently transported to U.S. and Canadian markets quickly and affordably.
  • Truck freight from Vancouver reaches the San Francisco Bay area in 24 hours.
  • Train freight from Vancouver reaches Toronto or Chicago in four days. 

Port Connections

Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Kitimat, and Stewart are Asia’s closest ports of entry on the west coast of North America.

Port Metro Vancouver

Port Metro Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the gateway to the Asia Pacific. It has 28 major marine cargo terminals, Super Post-Panamax capacity (for vessels of about 22 or more containers wide), extensive on-dock rail facilities, three Class 1 railroads and a full range of services to support shippers.


The Port offers four container terminals with extensive on-dock rail and features the only quad lift cranes in North and South America. Quad lift cranes can lift four 20-foot containers or two 40-foot containers in a single lift, and increase handling capacity by up to 40 per cent.


Port Metro Vancouver serves as the Pacific Northwest’s major consolidation centre for breakbulk cargo, such as forest products, steel, machinery, and project cargo.


Port Metro Vancouver handles a wide range of dry and liquid bulk cargoes, including coal, grain, sulphur, potash, and petroleum products.


Port of Prince Rupert

The Port of Prince Rupert is the closest bulk and container facility linking Asia and North America . It is one of the deepest natural harbours in the world. With a channel depth of 35 metres and terminal berths of 17 metres, it can handle the largest vessels deployed in transpacific trade.

Terminals at the Port of Prince Rupert connect directly to major roads and to the transcontinental CN rail line. CN provides service to ports on the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

At the Port of Prince Rupert, Canada and the United States have cooperatively developed a harmonized approach to screening inbound cargo. This has resulted in increased security and expedited movement of secure cargo across the Canada-United States border, under the principle “cleared once, accepted twice.”

Labour Stability

Port operations in British Columbia have the labour stability of an eight-year agreement with the unionized dock workers. Canadian Pacific rail lines signed a three-year agreement with its conductors, engineers and rail traffic controllers. Other Canadian Pacific unions have five-year agreements.