Gateway Corridor News, Spring 2008

From Words to Action

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI) has moved quickly from words to action. In its first year, the Government of Canada partnered with British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the municipal and private sectors to announce strategic infrastructure projects worth more than $2.3 billion, including federal contributions of over $860 million. The Initiative is now in its second year, and is building on that momentum. Delivery on early commitments, further the development of the Gateway and Corridor System and a greater focus beyond infrastructure are all dimensions of ongoing action. The system-wide approach to multi-modal investment, policy and operations makes this public-private Initiative a top priority for Canada. Connecting North America and the Asia-Pacific more efficiently and reliably benefits local communities, the Canadian economy as well as Canada's trading partners.

Prince Rupert Opens Doors to the World

On October 30, 2007, the China Ocean Shipping Company container vessel, the ANTWERP, sailed into the Port of Prince Rupert, marking the arrival of the first container ship to dock at the new Fairview Terminal. Within 92 hours, following offloading and security checks, the 9,000-foot-long Canadian National train carried 360 containers to Chicago. The speed and efficiency with which these first containers were moved from Asia to the North American Midwest surpassed expectations, arriving in Chicago only 12 days after leaving the port of Yokohama, Japan.

Along with the growing Vancouver port facilities in BC Lower Mainland, the new Fairview Terminal is part of the APGCI vision - a world-class transportation system that links Asia to the economic heartland of North America. APGCI funding of $28 million was provided for a Customs Marine Container Program at Fairview Terminal to ensure secure and efficient border services. The Government of Canada also provided $30 million for construction of the terminal, through Western Economic Diversification. The grand opening of the new terminal included the signing of a friendship agreement between the Port of Prince Rupert and the Port of Ningbo, one of China's most important ports. This agreement will guide economic and technical information exchange related to logistics, technology, training and the development of shipping opportunities.

Air Services Sector and the APGCI

In January 2008, Minister Emerson led a second APGCI delegation to Hong Kong and Beijing, focusing this time on the air services sector. Similar to his January 2007 mission, the delegation broke new ground, bringing together representatives from the entire air services sector - nine airports from across Canada, Air Canada, the Air Transport Association of Canada and Bombardier Inc. This united front contributed to the success of the mission and the promotion of major opportunities for Canada in China for both passenger traffic and air-cargo services. Canada's world-class airports are well positioned and are growing as the air destination of choice for Asian stakeholders.

Canada Signs Air Transport Agreement with the Republic of Singapore

In November 2007, the Government of Canada signed a bilateral air transport agreement with the Republic of Singapore, a key business hub for South Asia. This agreement allows air carriers from either country to operate non-stop all-cargo scheduled air services as frequently as desired, between any cities in Canada and Singapore. It provides airlines with the stability they need to invest in new air services and provides a greater flexibility for the prices they offer between Canada and Singapore. This new air agreement will further contribute to making Canada a gateway of choice between North America and Asia.

Minister Emerson Addresses the Canada China Business Council in Beijing

Minister Emerson delivered a keynote speech to the Canada China Business Council on the growing partnership in trade, in investment, in innovation and in the Asia-Pacific Gateway. He emphasized Canada's commitment to continue building a competitive gateway and he reported on significant progress to date.

"We are also boosting our competitive position through a strategic focus on globally connected transportation and logistics systems. We're putting the infrastructure, the technology and the regulatory framework in place to become a fast, efficient gateway to the entire North American continent-that's a market of 440 million, not just 34 million Canadians" - Minister Emerson, Beijing, January 2008

Deepening International Gateway Cooperation

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by David Emerson, Canada's Minister for the Pacific Gateway, and Li Shenglin, Minister of Communications for the People's Republic of China, on January 16, 2007, is a key element in building deeper international linkages. It opened the door to cooperation on trade gateways and corridors between Canada and China and signalled the commitment to work closely together and exchange expertise to strengthen respective approaches. A multi-year Action Plan is expected to provide a framework for joint transport-related initiatives, including cooperation on research, technical exchanges and business networking. Collaboration on focused issues will inform policy development and foster opportunities for the private sector.

Showcasing Canada's Commitment Abroad

The international profile of the APGCI continues to grow. Last year, the Government of Canada welcomed key foreign stakeholders and journalists who were able to see the changes and significant investments that are taking place within Canada's transportation infrastructure. Resulting media coverage reached an impressive combined readership of 6 million in more than 132 countries, which include targeted industry leaders, decision-makers and potential investors. International promotional initiatives by the Government of Canada will continue in the United States and Asia through Canada's Trade Commissioner Services, trade missions and participation at key international events.

These efforts will not only continue to inform business leaders, government officials and industry experts of the improvements to Canada's transportation infrastructure, but will also build awareness of the broader advantages of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor for investment and trade access to North America.

Vancouver-Fraser: Ports Amalgamation Completed

The new Vancouver-Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) became a reality on January 1, 2008. As the growth in Asia-Pacific trade reshapes global trade flows and increases freight through Canada's west coast, the new VFPA will be able to better respond to competitive pressures and take advantage of emerging opportunities. The idea of a single, integrated port authority in the British Columbia Lower Mainland has been the subject of discussion for decades. Having received the support of stakeholders, Transport Canada and leaders of the Vancouver, Fraser River and North Fraser port authorities worked together on the amalgamation.

"The integration of the Lower Mainland ports is a key policy measure that will position these ports to enhance investment opportunities in the region," said Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "It will contribute to our competitiveness in the global market by maximizing port efficiencies and optimizing port planning."

The Value-Added Gateway

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is exploring opportunities in value-added services, from intermodal transportation, transhipping, warehousing and logistics to information and communications technologies, finance and skills development. Value-added services are an increasingly important piece of today's global value chains and of competitiveness of national economies. Canada is continuing its work to deepen the APGCI and go beyond physical infrastructure and trade volumes to better meet business needs and offer a world-class gateway for Asia-Pacific trade.

Infrastructure Projects Strengthen the APGCI

Since its launch in October 2006, the APGCI has made its mark in all four western Canadian provinces (see map on reverse). Recent infrastructure projects range from road/rail grade separations to intermodal access improvements and freeway interchange upgrades. Addressing emerging bottlenecks and intermodal transfer points, these strategic projects, valued at over $2.3 billion with over $860 million in federal contributions, will enhance the capacity and efficiency of the entire Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor transportation system.

Recently announced APGCI projects in BC are:

  • Trans-Canada Highway Upgrade between the communities of Sorrento and Salmon Arm: $8 million;
  • Twinning of the Simon Fraser Bridge, Prince George: $18 million;
  • Highway Improvements near Vanderhoof: $1.05 million; and
  • Highway Upgrades near Prince George: $4.2 million.
  • Additional priority projects in the prairie provinces have been identified for funding. They are:
  • Highway Interchange and Grade Separation in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba: $21 million
  • Relocation of Canadian Pacific Railway's inter-modal terminal outside the City of Regina and improved road access to the new larger capacity terminal: $27 million

Award for the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Study

Employees from Transport Canada's Pacific Region recently received the prestigious Institute of Transportation Engineers 2006 Bill Curtis Technical Achievement Award for their work on the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC) study.

The Government of Canada contributed $75 million to the RBRC project, which leveraged a combined investment of nearly $360 million, cost-shared among various partners. This successful public private collaboration results in a package of road-rail grade separations and road reconfigurations enhancing efficiency and safety of rail operations. It will also improve the flow of international trade traffic and better manage quality of life impacts on Lower Mainland communities. Transport Canada, BC Ministry of Transportation, Translink, Vancouver Port Authority, Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, British Columbia Railway, the municipalities of Delta, Surrey, Langley and Langley Township and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council are the key contributors to the RBRC.

APGCI at the BC-Canada Pavilion

The APGCI will be prominently featured around the BC-Canada Pavilion in Beijing. The Pavilion will showcase Canadian business, innovation, culture and tourism before and during the 2008 Summer Olympics. APGCI-related events this spring will bring together governments and industry leaders from China and Canada to discuss topics including growing backhaul volumes to China and other trade, transportation and logistics opportunities between the two countries.

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Gateway Corridor News, May 2008

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Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway