Gateway Corridor News, Spring 2010
Reaching New Milestones
The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI) is approaching a significant milestone as the mid-way point of the Initiative draws near and over $1 billion in federal funds have been committed to strategic projects:
- The opening of the Simon Fraser Bridge (August 2009);
- Opening of Pitt River Bridge to traffic (October 2009);
- New shipping berth at Deltaport, Canada’s largest container terminal (January 2010) This third berth increases the capacity of the Port Metro Vancouver facility by 50 percent;
- Major investments in the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor to help ensure the efficient flow of containers to and from the Port Metro Vancouver.
Also, the new shipping berth at Deltaport, Canada’s largest container terminal is an important achievement. Opened in January 2010, this third berth increases the capacity of the Port Metro Vancouver facility by 50 percent.
The new decade sets the stage for Canada to continue this momentum and prosper as the global economy recovers. By delivering on commitments and developing the Gateway system, the APGCI’s forward-looking investments, together with those of public and private sector partners, are producing concrete results:
- Contributing to Canada’s competitiveness
- Improving efficiency of the transportation system
- Promoting greater use of the Asia-Pacific Gateway internationally
Canada, now more than ever, is prepared to take advantage of the benefits associated with increased Asia-Pacific trade. This impetus must not be lost, which is why the next phase of the APGCI is so critical. Strong action and continued collaboration is required at all levels to seize economic opportunities and secure Canada’s competitive advantages.
2010 – Canada’s Year on the World Stage
As hosts of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the G-8, the G-20 and the North American Leaders’ Summit in 2010, Canada is harnessing its leadership role among international players this year.
On January 3, Prime Minister Stephen Harper highlighted Canada’s important role in these events, which follows his 2009 visits to India, China and South Korea. These and several Ministerial missions to Asia have helped build momentum and raise Canada’s profile internationally, further leveraging APGCI international outreach efforts.
As the Minister responsible for the Pacific Gateway, the Hon. Stockwell Day actively promoted the Pacific Gateway’s advantages during his visits to countries such as China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Brazil among others.
Canada is also proud to hold the Presidency of the International Transport Forum this year in Leipzig, Germany; continues to chair the APEC Port Services Network; and will have a strong presence at the Shanghai World Expo, an event expected to attract over 70 million people between May and October 2010.
Continuing our Success
Opening of the New Pitt River Bridge
The new seven-lane Pitt River Bridge, which will improve the safety and reliability of the area's rapidly growing transportation corridor, was officially opened to traffic on October 27, 2009 by Premier Gordon Campbell and Randy Kamp, Member of Parliament for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, on behalf of Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway Minister, Stockwell Day.
The Canadian Government provided $90 million in APGCI funding to the $198-million project, with the remainder coming from the Province of British Columbia.
Trickling Up: The Benefits of Shortsea Shipping
As a multimodal activity, shortsea shipping incorporates the marine movement of cargo between points that are relatively close to one another without crossing an ocean, such as along rivers and coastlines, and within lakes.
It helps make better use of Canada’s waterways by alleviating road and rail congestion, facilitating trade, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing overall transportation efficiency.
This is why the Government of Canada is investing in five shortsea shipping projects in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. In early 2010, Minister Day announced completion of the first shortsea shipping project. A Southern Railway of BC rail barge ramp, at the marine rail terminal on Annacis Island in Delta, was made possible by $4.6 million in federal funding under the APGCI.
Twinning of the Simon Fraser Bridge
The twinned Simon Fraser Bridge in Prince George now boasts four lanes - an improvement that will reduce traffic congestion, increase highway safety and save travel time for personal and commercial vehicles crossing the bridge.
As well, it bolsters connections between the Prince George Inland Container Terminal, the Prince George Airport and the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.
Greater Flexibility for Shippers
The Government of Canada amended the Customs Tariff regulations to facilitate container movements within Canada and to harmonize the treatment of imported containers with that of the United States.
The changes, which took effect on December 15, 2009, increase the period of time a temporarily imported container can stay in Canada duty-free from 30 to 365 days and remove the restriction that such containers may only be used for one point-to-point transport of goods within Canada.
Deepening Relations with China
China, which became the world’s largest exporter in 2009, has been an important partner for the APGCI since the launch of the initiative, both at the public and private sector level. In April 2009, Minister Day travelled to Beijing and signed two agreements which have already generated significant activity.
1. Trade Logistics Agreement
This agreement aims to strengthen trade and transportation linkages between the two countries through:
- Annual meetings among policy-makers;
- A logistics exchange program to support learning and business development in the private sector
The exchange program allows key private sector participants to visit various facilities and meet with potential business partners. Led by the Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Canada, the first Chinese delegation visited Canada in April-May 2009 and was followed by a reciprocal Canadian delegation to China in December 2009. Another round of exchanges is planned for 2010.
For more information, visit Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Canada’s website: www.sclcanada.org
2. Action Plan on Gateway Cooperation
Minister Day also signed an action plan on gateway cooperation which has already yielded significant progress in the area of advanced technology applications. Following workshops in Beijing and Toronto last year, both countries have since agreed to work on projects related to:
- Supply chain management;
- Cold climate technologies;
- Safety and road infrastructure through an exchange of information, shared activities and joint reporting.
Over the long-term, these projects will benefit Canadian companies engaged in trade through the gateways by increasing efficiencies in supply chain management and providing additional tools in the development of Smart Corridors and Smart Border Crossings.
These actions were further strengthened by Canada’s Transport Minister, John Baird’s visit to China in July 2009. This was the first meeting between Canada’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and his Chinese counterpart, Minister Li. The two Ministers discussed means of furthering the bilateral relationship.
Blue Skies Ahead: Expanding Air Agreements
Canada-EU Air Transport Agreement
Minister Baird recently signed, on behalf of Canada, a historic air transport agreement with the European Union (EU), Canada's second largest international aviation, trade and investment market.
The agreement opens access to all 27 EU Member States for Canadian carriers and all points in Canada for EU carriers.
The new traffic rights are now available to Canadian and EU airlines and any new air service that may result would benefit travellers and shippers by providing more choices in terms of destinations, flights and routes, and the potential for lower fares.
The agreement is Canada's most comprehensive air services accord to date.
Canada-South Korea Air Transport Agreement
Canada concluded an "Open Skies"–type air transport agreement with the Republic of South Korea in 2009, which allows any number of air carriers from either country to operate scheduled passenger and all-cargo air services as frequently as desired, to and from any point in either country's territory.
"It [the agreement] marks another step towards the successful implementation of the Blue Sky policy with countries in the Asia-Pacific region," said Canada’s Transport Minister John Baird.
Canada-Japan Air Transport Agreement
Canada also significantly expanded its agreement with Japan in 2009, which now allows any Japanese or Canadian carrier to offer a direct passenger or all-cargo service to any city in either country (except the two Tokyo airports) as frequently as desired.
Transit Without Visa
The Canadian Government introduced the Transit Without Visa program in July 2009 to facilitate travel through Canadian airports.
Intended to achieve a balance between ensuring security and facilitating the movement of genuine travellers to the US, the Transit Without Visa program is being implemented at the Vancouver International Airport following a successful pilot project. Other major Canadian airports will now be able to apply for similar status.
For more information on this program, visit: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca
Minister Day and Gary Doer, former Manitoba Premier, announced in October 2009, $3.5 million to assist with the start-up and operation of CentrePort Canada, an inland port which will leverage Manitoba's role as a hub for international transportation, manufacturing, distribution and warehousing, to create jobs. Funding for CentrePort comes from federal and provincial governments and other stakeholders.
Two new pilot projects were also launched:
- A task force to provide simplified one-stop shopping for businesses interacting with CentrePort Canada.
- A project to explain Canada's tax and duty relief advantages to businesses in Western Canada and raise awareness of policies supporting international trade.
Enhancing Vancouver’s South Shore Trade Area
In October 2009, Prime Minister Harper announced federal funding for two new South Shore Trade Area projects. These complement the five North Shore Trade Area projects announced in March 2009.
These projects will enhance rail, truck and port operations, accommodate anticipated growth in rail and road traffic, enhance local quality of life, and provide environmental benefits to the region.
"The South Shore Trade Area is essential to the trade that flows between Western Canada and our Pacific trading partners," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the official announcement in October 2009. "These improvements along Burrard Inlet will create jobs for Canadians and increase the efficiency of Canada's Pacific Gateway, ensuring that we are well positioned to meet the needs of our trading agreements."
The Government of Canada, which is contributing up to $49.7 million of the $125 million investment, is partnering with Port Metro Vancouver, the City of Vancouver, Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway to fund the infrastructure projects.
Skills Development in British Columbia
To ensure that Canada is a critical link in the supply chain between Asia and North America, the Government of Canada is supporting an industry driven skills development organization and providing up to $3 million, under the APGCI, to support specific projects identified by the Skills Table.
"Our government’s support for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Skills Table will help BC workers develop the skills needed to meet the challenges of a highly competitive global market," said the Hon. Stockwell Day, Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway.
The Asia-Pacific Gateway Skills Table was established in the Fall of 2008 with an investment of $1.5 million under Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s Sector Council Program. This organization will develop projects to address the recruitment, retention and skills development needs for the transportation system of the future, as well as today.
For more information on the Skills Table, visit: www.apgst.ca
Promoting the Advantages of the Asia-Pacific Gateway Abroad...
To better promote the advantages of the Asia-Pacific Gateway abroad, Minister Day launched (June 2009) an international advertising campaign. These ads appeared in marine and air shipping trade publications in the United States, Japan, Korea and China, including the Journal of Commerce, Logistics Management, Air Cargo World and Payload Asia, among others.
Successful journalist visits from the United States, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan have also taken place in 2009. Over 40 articles have been published including one television news program, reaching over six million targeted industry leaders, decision-makers and potential investors in Asia and the US. Return journalist visits from these countries are planned for 2010-2011 as well as a media mission with Korean journalists in 2010.
The Government of Canada was also present at the World Route Development Forum (Routes) in Beijing in September 2009. This forum was an excellent platform to promote Canada on the international aviation scene and helped build stronger ties between Canadian airports and key air route decision-makers. Attended by more than 2,500 delegates, Routes is the world’s most significant route development and planning forum.
...and at Home: Seeing the Advantages First-hand
In September 2009, a delegation made up of business decision-makers from Japan, Taiwan and Korea were invited to tour Port Metro Vancouver, the Port of Prince Rupert and other Pacific Gateway facilities. Business-to-business meetings with key stakeholders were arranged where Canada’s Pacific Gateway was showcased as a fast, cost effective and reliable means of shipping cargo between Asia and North America.
Operating some of the largest supply chain networks in the world, these decision-makers are responsible for shipping a combined total of over 730,000 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) worldwide per year. Having these decision makers visit Canadian West Coast ports was a unique opportunity to further promote Canada’s Pacific Gateway and to secure additional North American-bound traffic.
To see the APGCI’s promotional video, which was launched by Minister Day on January 15, visit: www.asiapacificgateway.gc.ca
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