A Secure, Sustainable and Competitive Gateway
On July 30, 2007, the governments of Canada, Ontario and Quebec signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the development of an Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor.
This event followed the 2006 Cooperation Protocol signed by Ontario and Quebec to promote the development of the Ontario-Quebec Trade Corridor and to improve its efficiency in all modes, while the federal government was developing its National Policy Framework for Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors.
The goal of the federal-provincial partnership is to maintain and build upon Ontario and Quebec’s world-class transportation system so that it remains a key driver of international trade and economic growth for the future.
The Continental Gateway initiative is focused on developing a sustainable, secure and efficient multimodal transportation system that keeps Canada’s economic heartland competitive, attractive for investment and essential for trade.
Over the next two years, Ontario, Quebec and the federal government will work with the private sector and other key public sector stakeholders to develop a comprehensive infrastructure, policy, and regulatory strategy with recommendations for the short, medium and longer term - to support international trade through the Continental Gateway.
What is the Continental Gateway?
The Continental Gateway is a key component of Canada’s multimodal transportation system. The central location of the Continental Gateway facilitates international trade and the domestic inputs towards foreign trade with the United States and other key trading partners. The Continental Gateway includes strategic ports, airports, intermodal facilities and border crossings as well as essential road, rail and marine infrastructure that ensures this transportation system’s connection to, and seamless integration with, Canada’s other gateways: Asia-Pacific and Atlantic.
Quick Facts on the Continental Gateway - 2007
Ontario and Quebec’s total international trade was worth approximately $600 billion, accounting for 71 per cent of Canada’s international trade.
Ontario and Quebec accounted for 66 per cent ($138 billion) of Canada’s international trade with Asia and Europe.
Over $400 billion worth of goods were traded between Ontario and Quebec and their main trading partner, the United States.
The top five Canada-United States border crossings are located along the Ontario-Quebec corridor. This represents almost 65 per cent of total trucks crossing the Canada-United States border.
A Great Place to do Business
Ontario and Quebec’s strategic assets include their central geographic location in Canada and their transportation systems that are fully integrated within North American networks.
The Continental Gateway is the key point of entry for international trade with the United States’ economic heartland and large consumer markets, as well as a secure and efficient hub for trade from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
Over 60 per cent of Canada’s population lives in Ontario and Quebec. They are home to the country’s two largest urban areas - Montreal and Toronto - and their highly skilled and diversified labour force.
The Continental Gateway offers direct access to 135 million North American consumers within a 1,000-kilometre radius, less than a one-day trip.
Ontario and Quebec also have the largest concentration of manufacturing industries in Canada, which accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Many automobile, electronic, agri-food and other industries have integrated their operations on both sides of the border.
The Continental Gateway’s multimodal transportation system includes many ports along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, as well as international airports. Two national railways and major highways provide intermodal links between all key Gateway facilities, providing safe, secure and reliable access to the rest of the continent.
On the Road
The highway network is the backbone of the Continental Gateway multimodal transportation system, linking businesses to cities, railways, ports, and airports.
Approximately 80 per cent of Canada’s annual trade by road with the United States uses highways and border crossings in Ontario and Quebec. This activity is worth about $286 billion each year. Highways within the Continental Gateway are strategically located to facilitate inter-provincial, North American, and overseas trade.
The highway networks in Ontario and Quebec link the large urban and industrial areas with the rest of Canada and the United States. Highway and railway networks are also well integrated with state-of-the-art intermodal terminals.
A major Continental Gateway infrastructure project is a new crossing at the Windsor-Detroit border, where existing infrastructure provides passage for almost $135 billion in trade by road every year.
In Quebec, the completion of Highway 30 will provide the Montreal region with a bypass route to help reduce congestion on the city’s highway network. Investments in this project will exceed $1Billion.
The St. Lawrence River, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes form an inland waterway network of 3,700 kilometers that provides shippers with prime access to major North American markets, Europe and other overseas markets via the Atlantic Ocean.
The St. Lawrence River is a major international trade corridorwith support from Canada’s second largest container port. The Port of Montreal has shown strong growth in containerized cargotraffic over the past ten years. In 2007, the port an impressive total of 1.3 million twenty-foot equivalent containers.
The St. Lawrence - Great Lakes waterway and its network of ports is also a leader in transporting bulk and break-bulk cargos with more than 250 million tonnes each year. This volume of trade represents 40 per cent of Canada’s domestic marine trade and 50 per cent of Canada’s trans-border marine trade with the United States. International ships carry 25 per cent of all cargo transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway. Maritime international trade through Ontario and Quebec totalled $107 billion in 2007.
Cargo on Track
Two national railways, numerous short line railways and two U.S. Class 1 railways serve the Continental Gateway. The Canadian National (CN) rail network stretches from the West Coast to the East Coast of Canada, and extends into the United States from the Ontario-Quebec region to the Gulf of Mexico. The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) network also has a North American reach. Both CN and CPR serve the wellestablished manufacturing sector in the Toronto and Montreal regions, where Canada’s largest intermodal facilities are located.
Both national railways have secure and efficient border crossing infrastructure into the United States. The Canada-U.S. service they offer is fast, competitive and reliable. Trans-border movements represent about 30 per cent of their traffic.
In 2007, the railways operating in Ontario and Quebec that crossed the border into the United States, carried $80 billion worth of goods. This represents 80 per cent of Canada’s rail trade with the United States.
The Continental Gateway airports are modern, congestion free and accessible year-round. These airports have made significant infrastructure investments and are well prepared to handle the growth of international air cargo. In 2007, international air cargo trade between Canada and the rest of the world totalled $109 billion.
The Continental Gateway is home to two of Canada’s busiest airports - Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport and Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. Together they served close to 44 million passengers in 2007. Services are available to more than 120 international destinations from Montreal and over 150 from Toronto.
Canada and the United States have an Open Skies agreement that allows unlimited air services between the two countries and ensures an integrated, competitive and efficient air transportation system. Both Montreal and Toronto international airports have pre-clearance custom facilities for travel to the United States.
The Government of Canada has established a clear and consistent approach that unites gateway strategies, aligned with the way businesses operate in today’s global economy. This approach promotes coherent planning among the federal and provincial governments, and partnerships between public and private sectors.
Canada’s gateway strategies are the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor, and the Atlantic Gateway.
Canada’s gateways and trade corridors form an integrated, efficient and secure transportation system for continental and overseas international trade.
Workplan and Consultations
A comprehensive workplan has been developed to guide the Continental Gateway’s research and consultation activities. The research program will provide the analytical basis for developing a multimodal Continental Gateway strategy. This program includes a series of studies and workshops that will analyze the current and future transportation demand, identify trade barriers and develop sustainable measures to optimize Ontario and Quebec’s multimodal transportation system in the short, medium and longer term.
Consultation is essential to the Continental Gateway initiative. The governments of Canada, Ontario and Quebec have established ways to work with one another and the public and the private sectors to help shape the Continental Gateway strategy for infrastructure investment, multimodal integration, and policy and operational improvements.
Two advisory committees help governments and stakeholders to share advice, knowledge and data. The private sector advisory committee is made up of shippers, carriers, chambers of commerce as well as the St. Lawrence - Great Lakes Leadership Council and the Southern Ontario Gateway Council. The public sector advisory committee is composed of representatives from various federal departments and agencies and provincial ministries with mandates linked to trade and transportation.
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