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Profiles of Excellence: Squamish Terminals

For almost 50 years, Squamish Terminals has been the Sea to Sky’s gateway to global trade, moving essential goods around the world to and from its shores.
For almost 50 years, Squamish Terminals has been the Sea to Sky’s gateway to global trade.

For almost 50 years, Squamish Terminals has been the Sea to Sky’s gateway to global trade, moving essential goods around the world to and from its shores.

Large break-bulk vessels, loaded with cargo, travel back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, slowly heading to the majestic northern shores of Howe Sound and back out again. This dynamic operation plays a critical role in Canada’s export/import business, fuelling the economy close to home and further afield.

On average, up to 60 vessels each year load and discharge cargo from Squamish Terminals. Often they arrive in the middle of the night, tugs on either side guiding them safely to the berths where cargo is quickly and safely transferred into or out of warehouses and lay down yards.

Squamish’s natural environment, as well as its evolution as a logging town, has created the ideal location as a hub of international trade—where ocean, highway and rail meet on a 65-acre piece of waterfront land with deep-water access to accommodate the ocean-going vessels.

“Squamish Terminals really is a gateway to trade,” says Terminal Manager Paul Morris. “The terminal is a big part of not just Squamish but complements the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.”

When operations began in 1972, 99 per cent of the business was export forest products. Squamish Terminals is still known as one of the largest pulp break-bulk terminals in North America. Over the years, however, it has diversified its cargo mix and today, Squamish Terminals is as much about importing goods as it is about exporting Canada’s forest products. That much is clear by the massive steel coils packed inside the three large warehouses and the long stretches of rebar stacked on the dock. Steel cargo is a significant part of what passes through here, fuelling the Lower Mainland’s construction industry.

“A lot of this steel is actually going right into your neighbourhood and homes,” explains Paul of the steel for the construction industry.

In the past 47 years, upwards of 50 million tonnes of cargo have moved through the terminal, leaving no doubt that Squamish Terminals is one of the biggest companies in the area, with more than 100 full-time equivalent jobs. The team at Squamish Terminals is highly experienced, knowledgeable and skilled in operations and administration.

Squamish Terminals is also dedicated to the community, as highlighted in a 2018 economic impact study outlining a combined contribution of 10,000 volunteer hours from the company’s employees every year. To add to this, since 2011, Squamish Terminals is proud to host the annual Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up which always brings out a large group of community volunteers, explains Community Relations Manager Erin Yeo.

Additionally, Squamish Terminals donates the equivalent of 1 per cent of its net income locally through the Squamish Community Foundation in support of youth and environmental initiatives.

The Western Stevedoring Group of Companies, which owns Squamish Terminals, recently launched a Community Campaign called ‘Tackling COVID-19 Together’, focused on supporting those most affected by this pandemic. Squamish Terminals chose the recently established Squamish Community Foundation Emergency Response Fund, which is aimed at supporting local not-for-profits who provide front-line services in Squamish including the Squamish Food Bank, Helping Hands and the Howe Sound Women’s Shelter.

For more information about Squamish Terminals, visit the website at