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British Columbia faces transportation and technology challenges

by Tess Hutchinson

There is no doubt in Grant Stockwell’s voice:

“The future of carsharing is electric,” according to the director of mobility at BCAA, whose company offers roadside assistance, sells insurance products and operates Evo Car Share.

Evo, which is expected to have 1,900 cars in its fleet by September, rolled out its first electric vehicle (EV) in late 2021.

“And we would like to have [the entire fleet] electrified. But we’re not there yet, able to manage that fleet and be able to recharge it,” Stockton said at Friday’s transportation forum at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, where he was one of a dozen experts. tackling everything from urban mobility to supply chains. .

As British Columbia grapples with how the pandemic has quickly upended traditional transportation practices, forum experts repeatedly stressed the need for greater collaboration among stakeholders.

“Success would look like major transport industries and companies working more closely with BC’s tech sector,” said Transport Minister Rob Fleming, referring to how players will need to increasingly leverage more new innovations to move goods more efficiently through the economy.

Devan Fitch, director of infrastructure delivery at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, said the “chronic shortage” of industrial land is one of the biggest problems the region faces in competing with other jurisdictions.

“It really limits our ability to efficiently move goods around the region and it drives up costs for Canadian consumers of imported goods,” he said.

Those sentiments were echoed by Air Canada (TSX:AC) Vice President of Cargo Jason Berry, who noted that air cargo was on the decline before the recent e-commerce boom.

“There hadn’t been a lot of investment in cargo facilities at airports,” he said.

Lack of space means more backups getting goods to their final destinations.

And Fitch said it was imperative that stakeholders avoid tackling transport issues as if they were isolated issues. Instead, he said, they’re taking a more holistic approach with other parties.

As for Stockton’s efforts to introduce more electric vehicles into the Evo fleet, he said he turned to European counterparts in Norway and Germany who have had success in this area.

There, he said, stakeholders from Hamburg and Berlin were able to work closely with the government.

“But what was also interesting, what I hadn’t anticipated was the infrastructure and the business-to-business agreements,” Stockton said, adding that a chain of grocery stores offering charging stations to customers during the may be able to offset some of these costs by allowing car-sharing providers to charge into these empty parking lots at night.

Meanwhile, Sandra Philips, CEO of Vancouver-based Movmi Shared Transportation Services Inc., said the big ride-sharing players have slowly realized that they can’t take a “cookie-cutter approach.” piece” when offering their services in different jurisdictions. . What may have worked in one city does not automatically translate to another.

“They’re also starting to realize that transportation is actually very local and adjustments need to be made,” she said.



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