Port Metro Vancouver released its 2011 year-end results, with strong, stable numbers showing continued growth in key sectors. The 2011 year-end statistics report shows that Port Metro Vancouver handled 122.5 million tonnes of cargo, a 3.4% increase over 2010.

The port saw continued growth in laden export containers, a key indicator of the demand for Canadian cargo by Asian economies. Canada’s natural resources volumes continue to show strong growth, with new records set in coal, potash and forest products exports.

“What we have seen in 2011 is ­resiliency in the Canadian export market; and as international economies continue to face many difficult challenges, Canada’s natural resources sectors stand as a cornerstone of the Canadian economy,” said Robin Silvester, Pres­ident and Chief Executive Officer, Port Metro Vancouver. “Our natural geographical advantage as the closest major gateway to Asia Pacific eco­nomies presents continuing opportunities for growth in the coming years.”

Total foreign tonnage at Port Metro Vancouver posted a 2.5% increase with 95.6 million tonnes. Total domestic tonnage increased by 7% to 26.9 million tonnes.

Auto volumes dropped 22%, a reflection of international challenges resulting from the major disruption of manufacturing in Japan due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March. By the fourth quarter, volumes were rebounding and the Port anticipates a stronger 2012.

Breakbulk cargo is down 4.4% overall; however, foreign breakbulk imports have posted a 30% increase due to the strength in Canadian demand for foreign steel and construction materials. Breakbulk lumber exports rose 107%, primarily due to strong demand from China.

Bulk volumes set records with dry-bulk cargoes like coal up 7.8% overall, with thermal coal exports rising 46% to a record 11.7 million tonnes, and potash posting a 30% increase and setting a new record of 7.2 million tonnes. Liquid bulk cargo ended the year down 20%, largely due to lack of capacity at the terminal.

Container traffic at Port Metro Vancouver has continued to keep pace with a record setting 2010, with volumes unchanged at 2.5 million TEUs, supported by a 6% increase in containerized exports.

Cruise voyage and passenger numbers have increased with 199 cruise calls and 663,425 passengers in 2011 representing a 15% increase.