In 2017, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority commissioned CJI to carry out a study of Western Canadian Inland Terminals in the marine container supply chain.  Significant inland terminals exist at Ashcroft, BC, Calgary and Edmonton Alberta, Regina Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg Manitoba.  The objective of this study was to identify key success factors related to their growth and expansion; the relationship between inland terminals and marine port terminal services; and economic and logistics trends in the Western Canadian maritime trade supply chain as they relate to inland terminals.

Scope of Services

CJI carried out an Inventory and economic assessment of role of Inland Terminals in Canada’s container freight industry. The study arrived at three key insights related to the role of Inland Ports in Canada’s freight logistics sector:

  • The Inbound leg of container supply chain (“head-haul”) is creating the Canadian supply chain structure. In response, market forces are generating value for Canadian exporters wherever access to empty containers results;

  • Canada’s thin population is a challenge to the critical mass seen in other jurisdictions related to inland distribution network development. As a result, Canada’s inland terminals represent unique and entrepreneurial market developments, and make important contributions to the economy. Their wide replication appears unlikely at present; and

  • Greater Marine throughput is supporting market segmentation and specialization, which in turn provides increased opportunity for entrepreneurial supply chain innovation which can give rise to expanded export opportunities.

Key Wins

  • First broad descriptive economic and functional characterization of a key emerging component of Canada’s marine container supply chain.

  • Facilitation, based on key learnings, of a clarification and re-framing of narrative regarding role of Canada’s Inland Terminals in Canada’s marine container supply chain.

  • Broadening mutual understanding of respective roles of supply chain players, and as a result, facilitating Inland Terminal support for VFPA marine terminal investment initiatives.


The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority


Vancouver, BC


June – October 2017


Ian Rokeby, David Crozier