State of the port: Increasing resiliency and helping power Canada’s long-term trade success
President & Chief Executive Officer
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
Program: 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. PT
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CN is a world-class transportation leader and trade-enabler. Essential to the economy, to the customers, and to the communities it serves, CN safely transports more than 300 million tons of natural resources, manufactured products, and finished goods throughout North America every year. As the only railroad connecting Canada’s Eastern and Western coasts with the U.S. South through a 18,600-mile rail network, CN and its affiliates have been contributing to community prosperity and sustainable trade since 1919. CN is committed to programs supporting social responsibility and environmental stewardship.
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The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the federal agency tasked with enabling Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver.
For nearly three years, as pandemic-era shocks and congestion have strained global supply chains, the Port of Vancouver community and supply-chain partners have kept trade moving, powering Canada’s economy. Yet the challenges have been real. At Canada’s largest port, global dynamics have combined with more local challenges, including wildfires and the atmospheric river event in late 2021 that cut the port off completely from national supply chains for eight days, and impacted the supply chains through the port well into 2022. Combined with continuing strong Canadian consumer demand, this created a very challenging backdrop to the start of the year. Just as weather-related backlogs resolved, the supply chain faced a new curveball: congestion of east-bound supply chains, as a surge in volume through the network overwhelmed capacity in warehouses in Ontario and Quebec—and delayed cargo movement all the way back to the west coast.
Amidst today’s complex and layered supply-chain dynamics, the port authority continues to collaborate with the broader port community to develop and prepare the Port of Vancouver—one of Canada’s most strategic economic assets—to meet Canada’s growing trade needs and build further resiliency into national supply chains.
This year, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority president and CEO Robin Silvester’s 14th annual “State of the port” event with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) has been re-envisioned as a fireside chat. Join Robin and GVBOT president and CEO Bridgitte Anderson for a deep-dive conversation about key focus areas for the port authority; the “toughest nuts to crack” challenges at Canada’s largest port; and ultimately, the path to long-term strength and sustainability for this critical trade gateway.
About the speaker:
Robin Silvester leads the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the federal agency responsible for enabling Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, which is Canada’s largest port. The port handles approximately $200 billion in trade annually and sustains 115,000 jobs across Canada in the supply chain alone.
In just over a decade leading the port authority, Robin has overseen unprecedented port growth due to port authority-led infrastructure investments in Vancouver’s gateway, which have supported and catalyzed private-sector investments throughout the port. During Robin’s tenure, these investments in the gateway have helped drive more than 40% growth in international trade through the Port of Vancouver.
Under Robin’s leadership, the port authority set and is actively advancing a vision to make the Port of Vancouver the world’s most sustainable port—a port that is a global leader at delivering economic prosperity through trade, protecting the environment, and enabling thriving local communities.
Prior to joining the port authority, Robin served as chief executive for Australian property and facilities management business, United Group Services ANZ; held senior roles in Vancouver, London, and Sydney with P&O Ports, including acquiring and operating Centerm Terminal in Vancouver; and held business management and strategy roles in the U.K. steel and chemicals industries. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cambridge University and has completed a corporate finance program at the London Business School, and the ICD Directors Education Program.