Editorial: Municipal logistics chain reactions needed

Pre-election transportation focus was predictably on people movement throughout Metro Vancouver. Post-election, however, more focus needs to be on goods movement.

The people factor is where the votes are; the goods factor is where the economic backbone is.

So with votes safely in hand for what will largely be rookie political leadership in Metro Vancouver, it’s time for that leadership to think beyond currying voter favour and get down to the business of building business in the region.

For goods movement, the landscape is changing as rapidly as it is for people movement. Consider that a recent PwC report forecast the imminent arrival of autonomous vehicles in the trucking sector that will be “directed by a digitized supply chain, combining cabless trucks and delivery hubs staffed by robots.”

Applying its predictions to the European Union, PwC estimated that trucking logistics costs would fall 47% by 2030, delivery lead times would drop by 40% and trucks will be in use on roads 78% of the time instead of 29% – the current average in Europe.

In the port business, which is critical to economies dependent on Asia-Pacific trade in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia and across Canada, container shipping consolidation and larger ship proliferation are redrawing transpacific trade routes.

Metro Vancouver and other ports along North America’s West Coast have to be ready to accommodate the changes if they hope to remain in global trade’s major league and reap its employment and enterprise benefits. Failure to do so will be bad for local and regional economies and standards of living.

Long-term wealth can’t be built on real estate speculation. It needs enterprise that generates commerce, not capricious market bubbles.

Investment in port and other regional transportation infrastructure that will move more than people efficiently is fundamental to that enterprise. New councils need to tune into that reality now and ensure they’re doing their part in helping cultivate and maintain that vital investment.