The recent opening of a new North American outpost in Vancouver of an international shipping enterprise marks another milestone in the efforts of the Vancouver International Maritime Centre (VIMC) to bolster the global maritime hub ambitions of Canada’s biggest port city. China Navigation Co (CNCo) has opened its doors at new offices in Vancouver.
Based in Singapore, CNCo is a leading provider of sustainable shipping solutions under parent company John Swire & Sons headquartered in the U.K. The company has three business divisions: Swire Bulk (dry bulk shipping), Swire Shipping (multipurpose liner services) and Swire Bulk logistics (marine solution specialists). It owns and operates a fleet of over 130 vessels.
“Canada is known for its strong modern economy, universal healthcare system, stable political environment, world-leading banks, high caliber business support services, high-tech capacity as well as easy access to capital markets in North America, commented Kaity Arsoniadis-Stein, VIMC Executive Director. “We are thrilled to be welcoming CNCo to Vancouver and we are committed to continuing to assist them as they grow their operations in Vancouver.”
The Province of British Columbia partnered with the federal government of Canada and the International Shipowners Alliance of Canada to invest in the VIMC to attract new investments, such as CNCo, which has chosen Vancouver to expand its global footprint into the North American market.
The VIMC has promoted Vancouver – widely recognized as one of the world’s most livable cities - as a location of choice for international shipping firms. By marketing Canada’s strategic location and business opportunities, the 3-year VIMC project has exceeded all its targets and has had an economic impact of over $18 million by attracting over 8 international companies and creating over 200 jobs.
For a number of years, driving forces behind the VIMC have included Teekay Corporation and Seaspan Corporation and, more recently, leading breakbulk operator AAL Shipping. Among other benefits, non-resident companies operating in Vancouver with Canadian management are not subject to Canadian tax on their income. There are no flagging requirements or vessel ownership restrictions.
Renewed funding for the VIMC, notably from the minority NDP government elected in May 2017, is being sought for the pilot program that expired earlier this year and was supported by the previous B.C. Liberal government.
“We welcome The China Navigation Company to Vancouver and look forward to their continued success as they expand globally,” said Bruce Ralston, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology on the occasion of the ribbon-cutting ceremony in August. “The shipping industry provides nearly 12,000 people with good jobs up and down the B.C. coast.”
“There has never been a better time to invest in Canada,” said federal Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr. “The China Navigation Company’s new Vancouver offices are yet another example of success in attracting international businesses to this country, recognizing unparalleled innovation and providing fresh capital.”
Swire Shipping’s Americas Strategy
“Over the years Vancouver has been a significant regional hub for North America’s shipping activities, with its deep-rooted history in the forestry and mining sectors, along with its role as the main export point for Canada’s vast grain and potash exports to Asia and the rest of the world,” said Robert Heal, general manager commercial, Swire Bulk West Coast Americas.
“Through the VIMC, we have learned of Canada’s business advantages and globally competitive standards. With an office in Vancouver, CNCo is able to service our customers in both the liner and dry bulk sectors. CNCo’s Vancouver office will be focusing on four main sectors: dry bulk handysize, supra/ultramax and parcelling as well as a bulk/break bulk container liner service from the west coast to Australia and New Zealand servicing our client base operating in the Americas.”
“Through our global network, we connected with James Woodrow and his team in Singapore during Singapore Maritime Week 2016 and have since been working with them closely to set up an office in Canada, noted VIMC founding chairman Graham Clarke.
“We look forward to increasing the economies of scale by attracting more shipping companies, like CNCo Swire to Vancouver.”