The International Mobility and Trade Corridor Program

Shortsea Shipping Study

Status: Completed in 2007


IMTC participating agencies completed a study of shortsea shipping to determine the potential of shortsea shipping to serve a meaningful share of the expected growth in West Coast cross-border freight traffic; describe the most feasible service types; and  suggest supporting actions that governments could take.


The study area included the Puget Sound region as a whole, but focused on freight that could be diverted from crossing the border through the Cascade Gateway ports-of-entry.

Why this project was needed

As congestion on highways has worsened, Canada and the United States have acknowledged the need to jointly explore shortsea shipping’s potential to play a larger role in our continent’s transportation system.


Phase I

In March, 2004, Transport Canada commissioned Phase I of the study—1) a profile of existing, West Coast cross-border coastal marine services and 2) an assessment of the factors that will affect the ability of coastal marine services to participate in the movement of cross-border freight.

Summary of Phase I findings

Phase I final report

Phase II

As part of the overall goal of this two-phase study to determine if worsening congestion on highways and at land-border crossings can be reduced by shifting portions of current and/or future highway freight-flows to the marine mode, Phase II of this study completed an analysis of north-south commodity flow on the West Coast of North America. The study assessed the current and future viability of shortsea shipping alongside other modes serving this geography and completed more detailed analysis for the cross-border region of Washington State and British Columbia as well as other West Coast sub-regions that exhibit a potential to benefit from increased shortsea marine freight transportation..

Phase II final report



Funding & Partnerships

This project was funded by: