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 is cost effective for 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, rail, and road infrastructure. 

The Pacific Gateway Alliance is a unique partnership among the key transportation providers in British Columbia and Canada. Governments work with port services and national rail companies to create an integrated, efficient, reliable supply chain. 

Air Travel and Cargo Transport

B.C. is well-positioned with its access to European, North American, and Asian markets. A system of some 39 certified airports provides fast transportation options for passengers and freight in every corner of British Columbia and around the world. In total, B.C.'s aviation sector includes more than 39 certified airports, and many heliports, airstrips and water aerodromes that connect passengers and freight to their destinations and provide important community services such as medevac and forest fire protection.

Vancouver International Airport is B.C.'s primary facility for international passenger travel and cargo movement. Several other B.C. airports, including Prince George, Kelowna, Kamloops, Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox, Abbotsford, and Cranbrook, have completed infrastructure investments to grow their international traffic as market opportunities develop. Canada was ranked #1 on air transport infrastructure in the World Economic Forum 2017 report on Travel and Tourism Competitiveness, for the second year in a row.

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 fourth 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. YVR will invest $5.6 billion on expanded terminals, new taxiways and improved roads and bridges to attract new carriers, improve the travel experience and more effectively move cargo over the next twenty years.

Vancouver International Airport: Key Facts

  • YVR services 110 non-stop destinations around the world.
  • 47 airlines serve YVR.
  • More than 630 flights fly directly to U.S. destinations weekly.
  • Each week there are 164 flights to the Asia-Pacific, 86 to Europe, and 58 to Mexico.
  • More than 22 million passengers travelled through YVR in 2016.
  • U.K.-based Skytrax ranked YVR the top airport in North America in 2017 for a record eight years in a row.
  • YVR is a growing freight distribution hub moving more than 281,000 tonnes of cargo in 2016.

North American Network of Roads & Railway

Our marine and air terminals ensure efficient access to global markets. Natural resources can be shipped by truck to a transload facility or driven directly to a port. The extensive rail network in British Columbia provides other options for the mining, forestry, and agriculture sectors. Many industries have started to use containers for shipping which provides greater flexibility in transportation options. 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 or Price Rupert reaches Toronto or Chicago in four days. 

Port Connections

Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Stewart, Nanaimo and Port Alberni are Asia’s closest ports of entry on the west coast of North America. A full list of ports in British Columbia can be found here.

Port Metro Vancouver

Port Metro Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the gateway to the Asia Pacific. It has 27 major marine cargo terminals, Super Post-Panamax capacity (for vessels of about 22 or more containers wide), extensive on-dock rail facilities, and a full range of services to support shippers. It also has service from three Class 1 railroads.


The Port offers four container terminals with extensive on-dock rail and facilities. Three inter-continental rail lines offer service to North America's east coast and south to Mexico. Trucks have direct access to the Trans-Canada Highway and direct routes to the United States. The integrated Cargo Security Strategy is a cooperative program between Canada Border Services and the United States that more efficiently clears cargo for entry into the United States.

Break bulk

Break bulk cargo, such as forest products, steel, machinery, and project cargo are handled by two marine terminals. British Columbia has developed specific routes for overweight and overdimensional cargo to facilitate mining operations, pipeline, and manufacturing plant construction.


Port Metro Vancouver handles a wide range of dry and liquid bulk cargoes, including coal, grain, sulphur, potash, canola oil, 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 Canadian National (CN) rail line. CN provides service to ports on the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The port has also welcomed a new roll-on roll-off facility that is designed to handle project cargo needed for building power projects, wind farms, and mines.

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.”