Canada’s economy is currently experiencing one of its fastest growth rates since 2014. Its open-market system has allowed it to sustain the economic competitiveness it enjoys in the world. Trade forms a massive 65% of total GDP. That said, ocean freight to Canada forms an important part of its economy.
Over half of Canadian imports come from the US, amounting to a $219 billion worth of goods in 2015. Its total exports reached $405 billion, with machines forming the bulk of its exports, followed by transportation.
When dealing with ocean freight to Canada, one of the most important things you need to consider is whether to ship a Full Container Load (FCL) or a Less than a Container Load (FCL). If you wish to have an entire container to yourself, FCL is the one to go for. Whether you choose a 20-foot or 40-foot FCL would largely depend on the amount of cargo you have. A 20-foot container carries 10 standard American pallets whereas a 40-foot container carries 21. The standard American pallet measures 47.24 by 39.37 inches. The general rule to go by is to opt for an FCL if you think you’ll be occupying more than half of the entire container space. This is more cost beneficial for you and it carries a lower risk of damages and contamination.
If you don’t have that much cargo, LCL would be the way to go. Sharing container space with other shippers means a lower cost. This is recommended if you have durable cargo that is more resistant to damages and contamination.
The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and also the Pacific Northwest’s. Located on the North American West Coast, it’s strategically placed to handle trade from Asia. That said, it handles over 50% of all container merchandise moving through the country on a regular basis. It operates vessels and transports cargoes of all types, including container ships, passenger cars, LCL shipment, and general goods. Because of that, it’s largely considered to be the most divert in North America. In 2016, it handled over 1.1 million TEUs - a 3.3% increase from 2015.
The Port of Montreal is Canada’s second busiest port and accounts for 3.7% of the total North American market share. Located just some 1,600 kilometres from the Atlantic, it grants easy access to both Canadian and American consumers. It’s extremely well-connected, to more than a hundred countries sitting on five different continents. It also has direct access to some of the most important ports in northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Thanks to the presence of some of the biggest freight forwarders at the port, container handling at the Port of Montreal proceeds rather smoothly.
Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Port of Halifax is strategically known as North America’s first inbound and last outbound point. Compared with other North American East Coast port, it is able to reach Europe two days faster and Asia one day faster thanks to the Suez Canal. It handled over 200,000 TEUs in 2016, a 5.6% increase from 2015. It serves transshipment and feeder ship services and provides direct access to the Canadian National Railway. It makes ocean freight to/from Canada easy as it is connected to over 150 countries worldwide.
"Shippers should plan as far in advance as possible. With COVID on the map and lack of space, this season will be more unpredictable than the previous one, with rates never seen"
Klaus Lydsal, vice president of operations at iContainers