The $200,000 Onassis Prizes are awarded once every three years to leading researchers of shipping, finance and international trade. Professor Emeritus Heaver is sharing the shipping award this year with globally renowned maritime economist Martin Stopford. Heaver’s win marks the first time the award has gone to an academic in Canada.


“Heaver has long been a highly valued and distinguished member of Sauder’s research community and this recognition is very well deserved,” says Sauder’s Dean Robert Helsley, Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy. Heaver introduced courses on international shipping and logistics to the University of British Columbia in the 1960s and has conducted extensive research on the railway industry and transport policy as well as shipping and logistics.

Heaver is widely recognized in the field of transport economics and logistics. He was a founding member of the World Conference on Transport Research  and of the International Association of Maritime Economists. Having represented UBC as chairman and president of the two bodies, he helped elevate the global stature of UBC and Vancouver in the field. He was elected a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and although retired, he has undertaken teaching and research assignments in Australia, South Africa, and Europe.

“I am particularly pleased to receive this award as an academic based at UBC,” says Heaver. “It reflects a belief that I and others have had since the 1970s that maritime economics is a global industry requiring a truly global community of researchers and academics. I am very glad to have helped bring this vision to reality. I have enjoyed the support of colleagues and enthusiastic students at UBC and of the maritime industry and federal government programs. This support was essential to establish Vancouver as an internationally recognized centre for maritime economics. The leadership of former students in corporate management, and of broad economic rather than corporate interests, led to the policy changes enabling international shipping to be based in Vancouver. It was an innovation from which we still benefit,” he said.

Heaver also notes that the recognition helps him to advocate for continued innovation and related supply chains in Canada. “I would like to see Canada step up its innovation in logistics and in collaboration among governments, industry and universities. It is my hope that the current review of the Canada Transportation Act, chaired by the Honourable David Emerson, will examine the leadership of government in transport and logistics innovation and find that targeted, collaborative research initiatives are warranted.”

The winners of the three Onassis Prizes – in shipping, finance and international trade – were announced March 20 in London, U.K. The prize is awarded by the Cass Business School in London and sponsored by the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, bestowed by shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in memory of his son Alexander. The award was judged by a panel of highly regarded academics that included two Nobel laureates.