Vancouver, B.C. – March 6, 2013 – Canada should seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to become a transportation leader by creating a North American Gateway, argues a new report released today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada, www.asiapacific.ca). The authors contend that changing dynamics in the global economy combined with Canadian advantages in logistics and transportation infrastructure create a ‘nation-building’ opportunity for Canada to boost the effective delivery of goods from Asia and Europe to Central North America. To achieve deep collaboration to realize this initiative, however, means Canadian players will have to overcome the ‘culture of contentment’ that pervades the industry.
In ‘Seizing the Continent: Opportunities for a North American Gateway,’ authors George Stalk, Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group, and Charles McMillan, Professor at the Schulich School of Business, call for Canada to invest in a three-way national strategy that links the Pacific coast ports, the Atlantic coast ports and the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes corridor.
“The rapid growth of North American trade with Asia combined with the escalating infrastructure gridlock in the United States offers Canada a strategic opportunity to position itself as a key player in the global transportation supply chain offering lower costs, greater reliability and faster deliveries,” said George Stalk. “We believe that an effective North American Gateway could take 10% of volume from U.S. ports resulting in an estimated 50% increase in container volumes through Canadian ports.”
The authors say that Canada has natural competitive advantages over U.S. ports including being physically closer to Asia and Europe and railroads with limited capacity problems and the capability to expand. They argue that in addition to Canada’s physical advantages, Canada needs a collaborative platform to enable users and suppliers to cooperate in accessing Canadian infrastructure to most effectively and efficiently move containers in and out of North America.
Key elements of a North American Gateway include:
- Container handling capacity at the Port of Prince Rupert
- Improved water depth at the Port of Montreal and the St. Lawrence approaches to Montreal
- Better city-road bypasses in Halifax
- The continental rail systems of CN and CP
- A powerful collaborative IT platform containing access to participants, with info sharing agreed to by the participants. Participants would include a Canadian port, a terminal operator, and a series of shippers, exporters, and retailers.
- Online data analysis of tracking, placement and connectivity within the global supply
“An efficient and effective North America Gateway holds immense opportunities for Canadians, by way of job opportunities, new technologies and new forms of corporate collaboration,” said Charles McMillan. “If Canada gains even modest levels in container traffic, say five percent, estimates show 6,000 direct jobs, and many more increases in indirect jobs across Canada.”
The authors warn, however, that unlocking the North American Gateway potential will require stakeholders to abandon a ‘go-it-alone’ attitude that remains one of the key obstacles to realizing the full competitive potential of the North American Gateway Initiative.
To read the full report, click here.
About APF Canada
The Asia Pacific Foundation is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations. It promotes dialogue on economic, security, political and social issues, helping to inform public policy, the Canadian public and Canada’s Asia practitioners. The Foundation is funded principally through an endowment from the Government of Canada and by corporate and individual donors.
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Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada