Vancouver Island Transportation Infrastructure


Transportation infrastructure allows for both travel and the efficient transportation of goods. Whether by sea, air, or land, travel to and around Vancouver Island is a holiday in itself.
Because of established air, land, and marine transportation infrastructure and available industrial land, Vancouver Island is the ideal location for the manufacturing and transportation of goods. Producers export cargo from Vancouver Island using short-sea and trans-ocean shipping, as well as the aforementioned air and land transportation systems. Learn more about trade and exporting through VIEA’s Foreign Trade Zone designation on Vancouver Island.



The Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 19) stretches the length of Vancouver Island’s east side and is the main North-South artery for travel and the transportation of goods. Various other two-lane highways connect inland and west coast communities on Vancouver Island. 





Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (SVI) provides rail freight services to customers on Vancouver Island and connects to the North American continental railway network. At this time, SVI only serves freight customers.


Airports & Float Plane Terminals


Vancouver Island has a number of airports serving both domestic and international destinations and featuring commercial airlines of all sizes. Airports on Vancouver Island also offer services for recreational pilots. 


Vancouver Island airports:


Vancouver Island floatplanes:

  • Gulf Island Seaplanes: serving Thetis Island, Decourcy Island, Gabriola Island, and Vancouver.
  • Harbour Air (and Saltspring Air): with full-service terminals in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Richmond (YVR South), Whistler, Seattle, Sechelt, Comox, and Saltspring Island, as well as pick-up and drop-off service to Maple Bay, Tofino, Egmont, Madeira Park and Blind Bay.
  • Seair Seaplanes: Serving Nanaimo, Vancouver Harbour, Richmond, Salt Spring Island, Pender Island, Thetis Island, Saturna Island, Mayne Island, and Galiano Island.
  • Sunshine Coast Air: serving Nanaimo, Sechelt, Vancouver Airport & Harbour, Pender Island, Victoria Airport, Pat Bay, and Tofino.
  • Vancouver Island Air: based in Campbell River, serving coastal Vancouver Island and the west coast of BC.





British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) is the largest marine transportation provider in BC. BC Ferries provides passenger and commercial service to 49 ports of call on Vancouver Island and the coastal mainland. The largest terminals on Vancouver Island are located at Swartz Bay (Victoria), Duke Point (Nanaimo) and Departure Bay (Nanaimo).


Other ferry services:


Port Authorities


The Nanaimo Port Authority has the mandate to administer, control, and manage the harbour, waters and foreshore of the Georgia Strait in an area adjacent to Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.
Port Alberni Port Authority was formed July 1,1999, as a continuation of the Port Alberni Harbour Commission. Under the Canada Marine Act, the Port Alberni Port Authority has mandated jurisdiction of the Alberni Inlet from the Somass River to Tzartus Island.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority was incorporated as a not-for-profit society in February 2002, and began operating its four port facilities, divested from Transport Canada, in April 2002. Acting as an advocate for the harbour, the GVHA is working to improve its function as a working harbour, and a marine transportation centre with a strong focus on tourism.

Vancouver Island Harbour Inventory


Moving Forward 2015 – Click here to enjoy this video regarding transportation on Vancouver Island, prepared for the 2015 Transportation Form.