(Vancouver) The Vancouver-Fraser Port Authority said Monday that overall cargo volumes fell 3% last year as the global economy began to show signs of slowing.

The authority, which oversees Canada’s largest port in Vancouver, says grain and fertilizer exports jumped in the second half, but the gains were not enough to offset a sluggish start due to a poor harvest and supply chain issues.

Container imports also fell 4% due to weaker consumer demand and excess inventory.

Despite the decline, Port Authority chief executive Robin Silvester argued there was an urgent need to build a new container terminal, which received federal cabinet approval last month but still requires various permits to move forward.

Mr Silvester pointed out that the decline in containerized freight that began in December was providing much-needed relief to an overburdened port.

Cruises were one of the activities to see a strong comeback after a two-year pandemic hiatus, with a record 307 ships anchoring in the city.