Columbia's large highway network provides all-weather access to most regions of
the province. There are approximately 23,710 paved kilometres of provincial highway
in BC, 18,730 unpaved kilometres, and 2,727 bridges. This network supports the
efficient movement of resource products and opens up the province to residents
With 135 public and private ports, British Columbia is a maritime province. The
main trading ports are the Port Metro Vancouver, and the Port of Prince Rupert,
which account for more than 95 per cent of the international trade moving through
the province’s port system. Many other ports such as Squamish, Powell River, Kitimat
and Stewart also play important roles in the resource economy.
its naturally deep harbour, year-round ice-free access and links to rail, road
and other transportation systems, the Port of Vancouver handles more foreign exports
than any other port in Canada, and has the highest cargo volume on the west coast
of North America. China, Japan and South Korea are the main destinations for cargo
loaded for export in Vancouver. The Port of Vancouver handled over 100 million
tonnes of cargo (bulk, breakbulk and containers) in 2009. Prince Rupert, another
naturally deep harbour, is handling a growing amount of freight headed for Asia.
Vancouver is also
a common stop for cruise ship traffic headed to or from Alaska, with 900,000 cruise
ship passengers embarking or disembarking in Vancouver in 2009. Victoria and Prince
Rupert, together with other coastal communities, also welcome cruise ships that
travel between Alaska and the rest of the US.
BC Ferries operates one of the largest ferry systems in the world. The fleet consists
of 36 vessels serving 47 ports of call between the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island
and other coastal points. In 2009/2010 fiscal, it carried more than 21 million
passengers and over 8 million vehicles.
The provincial railways are operated by VIA Rail Canada, BC Railway Company and
CN Rail. Amtrak runs between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver. The SkyTrain,
a light rail rapid-transit system, and West Coast Express provide commuter rail
services in the Greater Vancouver area.
Local, regional and national air carriers operating throughout British Columbia
provide scheduled and charter services to domestic and foreign destinations. They
use a network of more than 290 land-based airports, water-based facilities and
domestic and international air service is provided by Air Canada and WestJet.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Canada’s second busiest airport, is served
by 69 airlines including scheduled carriers, charters, and cargo carriers. In
2009, YVR was the gateway for about 198,000 tonnes of cargo and had 258,000 runway
takeoffs and landings. Vancouver International Airport enplaned and deplaned over
161 million domestic, transborder (US) and international passengers in 2009, and
Victoria International Airport over 1.5 million.
services have been pivotal to the province's economic development over the years.
The fact that most large cities are located near a major port or on an important
trade route is no accident. Airports, port facilities, rail lines and highways
have all contributed to the growth of cities. They have also led to the development
of related industries that provide goods and services used by these facilities,
or which depend on good access to shipping routes.
Nine out of ten workers in the transportation and warehousing industry are employed
full-time. In the economy as a whole, eight out of ten people work full-time (at
least 30 hours a week). The
industry is highly unionized. Fifty-three percent of workers have union coverage,
well above the 33% average for all industries in the province. Among other industries,
only public administration, education, utilities, and health care and social assistance
have higher rates of union coverage.
Most (79%) of the people who work in this industry are men. Transportation and
warehousing is the only industry in the service sector with such a high percentage
of male workers. Some of the jobs in this industry can be physically demanding,
or require workers to spend long stretches of time on the road, and this might
make them less appealing to some women.