HONGKONG investors have expressed interest in investing in a $1 billion container terminal project in Vancouver, says a senior Canadian ports official. Mr Jean Michel Tessier, president and chief executive officer of the Canada Ports Corporation, said: ''At this stage, we are negotiating with potential partners and there are already people in Hongkong who are interested in operating in Vancouver.'' He hoped that more people would be interested in investing in the project, but declined to provide details. Mr Tessier, who was invited to Hongkong last week to lecture at the Hongkong University, said the project would materialise only if it proved viable. Plans for the new container terminal include two berths, each measuring 330 metres. Mr Tessier, who met several Hongkong shipping community members during his visit, said Vancouver could serve as a cargo gateway to North America and Mexico for cargo from the Far East. Cargo transported via Canada's cost-effective inter-modal system would gain from reduced costs and improved levels of service, he said. ''Instead of everyone working in isolation, resulting in higher costs, the railways and ports have committed to work together to eliminate all those barriers to be more efficient,'' Mr Tessier said. As the railways improved their efficiency by investing in container facilities to enhance their stack-car facility, so also would the port's efficiency improve, he said. Other Canadian officials have visited Hongkong recently seeking to attract more investors to their country, emphasising that Canada had attracted more than $20 billion in investments in the past three years. Canada launched ''Advantage Canada'' as a national transportation initiative last year to create a seamless transportation system. In 1991, about 182 million tonnes of cargo was handled by the 15 Canada ports, including most of the water-borne bulk liquid shipments, nearly 80 per cent of grain exports, more than 60 per cent of water-borne traffic of coal, alumina and bauxite and about 50 per cent of all iron ore traffic. In the same year, Canadian overseas trade with Asia represented 42 per cent of total overseas traffic, compared with 38 per cent for Western Europe, five per cent for Central America and four per cent for South America. Mr Tessier said Canada's economy had emerged from recession although its progress was slow. He pointed out that the economic downturn had positive effects in that it had forced some people to be more entrepreneurial and inspired others to change their style of doing business. Although Canada had gone through a recession, the country had managed to attract more than C$100 million (HK$615 million) from Japan, Germany, Holland, Austria and from within the country in port infrastructure. Mr Tessier said in today's world the main issue was not technology, as many countries could produce identical products of good quality, but rather it was in the difference on landed costs. He explained that the ability to bring products to the market at a better price was the main issue facing the global transportation system.