Vancouver’s industrial businesses face increasing pressures. Many are at risk of being displaced from the city as the cost of doing business increases, the availability of industrial operating space diminishes, and finding and retaining qualified staff gets more difficult.
Industrial businesses form an important economic infrastructure that underpins all of our economic sectors while contributing to the overall economic resilience of Vancouver. As part of our work to better understand and serve them, the Vancouver Economic Commission conducted a citywide survey, and interviewed dozens of industry supporters.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of industrial businesses in Vancouver
- Are less than 20 years old
- Anticipate expanding in the next 2 years
- Have been in their current space less than 5 years
Several trends are impacting demands on industrial space in Vancouver, including
- An increasing global demand for specialty goods & services
- The relocalization of supply chains and reurbanization of manufacturing
- The integration of new technologies into industrial operations
The biggest challenges faced by industrial businesses include
- Rising costs of doing business (taxes, fuel, wages, permitting & licensing fees)
- Finding and retaining qualified staff
- Finding appropriate and affordable operating spaces
If we don’t address the challenges facing industrial operators
- Up to 50% of industrial businesses could be displaced from the city in the next 5 years, taking with them 30,000 jobs, $3.6 billion in annual revenues, and $1.2 billion in annual wages
- The cost of goods and services in the city will rise as services move further from the urban core
- Traffic congestion and GHG emissions in the region will worsen
- We will lose diverse ethnic and social employment opportunities, such as middle-income jobs requiring diverse educational backgrounds
- The composition and impacts of Vancouver’s industrial business sectors
- The trends influencing industrial operations and impacts they are having on industrial space needs
- The challenges industrial businesses are facing and how these are likely to impact Vancouver’s economy
- Opportunities for addressing some of the issues preventing industrial operators from scaling throughout the region
This research is made possible by the support of our partners.