DP World has expanded rapidly in Canada and now boasts the largest container terminal operation in the country.

A maritime industry veteran with considerable experience in international trade, Douglas Smith this summer took over the helm of DP World Canada as new CEO with the key assignment of expanding its supply chain solutions from a network that has become the largest terminal operation in the country. He has succeeded Maksim Mihic under whose stewardship DP World grew from one terminal in Vancouver (Centerm) to five with the additions of the Fraser Surrey, Nanaimo, Saint John, and Prince Rupert locations. The challenges ahead have been underscored by current trends showing declining US-bound container cargo through the Canadian West Coast ports.

Having most recently served as joint president and CEO of Mundra and Tuna Ports at Adani Ports in India, Smith made his first public address to industry circles in Canada at last September’s annual conference of the Association of Canadian Ports Authorities (ACPA) – and emphasized a pragmatic approach to expansion based on constant collaboration with stakeholders and in-depth analysis.

Centerm terminal, Port of Montreal
DP World recently completed a US$260 million expansion of its Centerm terminal in Vancouver.

“Container Specific”

As keynote speaker, Smith offered what he termed a largely “container-specific presentation” focused on maritime developments around the world and on priorities for Canada.

Looking back at the dramatic growth in global container capacity, he indicated that “20 years ago, there were 380 million TEUs, and last year the total came to 1.2 billion TEUs.” And a containership size of 4,500 TEUs is not big by today’s standards of vessels carrying 24,000 TEUs. The DP World network of over 80 terminals in 40 countries is geared to efficiently integrate into the current mega-capacity era.

With trade routes to North America changing and various supply disruptions taking place, Smith stressed the need for constant collaboration between all stakeholders to increase trade and ensure smooth cargo flows.

In an apparent reference to such waterfront labour conflicts as this past July’s docker strikes in British Columbia, he suggested that firms should in fact devote more attention to planning alternative actions in the event of “agitations in the system.”

He also asked this question: “Do we spend more time collecting data rather than using data?”

Touching on corporate thinking behind the enlargement of a terminal network, he stated: “We have to optimize everything we have before we start to expand. You can’t build a terminal in 30 days. It is not an ‘if’ question but a ‘when’ question.”

Douglas Smith
Douglas Smith courtesy of Association of Canadian Port Authorities

Developments at Five Terminals on the East and West Coasts

DP World, Smith continued, was determined to contribute to the growth of the Canadian economy through its terminals in Prince Rupert, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Fraser Surrey, and Saint John.

Earlier this year, in May, DP World celebrated the completion of the C$350 million (US$260 million) Centerm Expansion Project which increases…

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