04/22/2015 14:22 EDT | Updated 07/16/2015 17:59 EDT

Metro Vancouver looks to replace trucks with barges

One in four trucks leaving Port Metro Vancouver is carrying cargo that could be shipped by barge instead, according to a new Metro Vancouver report.

The report, prepared for a regional planning meeting this week, looked at the potential for more "short-sea shipping" in Metro Vancouver, and found 26 per cent of trucks leaving the port are heading to distribution centres in Metro Vancouver.

Taking those trucks off the road — an equivalent of 229,000 containers per year — would help reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.

Barges are estimated to be more than 3.7 times more fuel efficient than transportation by truck, the report notes.

But the report concludes more "short-sea shipping" is unlikely, in part because trucks are still cheaper, especially after the province built the new South Fraser Perimeter Road from the port in Delta to the Trans-Canada Highway in Surrey.