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Ian Hamilton
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Ian Hamilton
2019-06-04 11:01
Okay, perfect. Thank you very much.
Good afternoon, Madam Chair, and members of the committee. It's a great honour to address the committee today.
As you mentioned, my name is Ian Hamilton. I'm the President and CEO of the Hamilton Port Authority. It's nice to see so many of you again. We were delighted to be able to tour you around the port last year when you were in Niagara and you could see first-hand some of the industries we serve and the outstanding growth we are experiencing.
As a brief refresher, Hamilton is the seventh-largest port authority in Canada and the largest in Ontario. In 2018, we had our best year in a decade. We shipped over 11.4 million tonnes of cargo, which was valued at more than $3 billion. That's a big change from a decade ago when we had a similar cargo volume, in 2008. At that time, 76% of our cargo was related to the steel-making industry, and today that number is closer to 54%.
One of the big key drivers to that success story has been the growth in the agricultural products, corn, wheat, soybeans, which are all exported from Hamilton to destinations throughout the world.
Saying all of that, we're still a key transportation infrastructure for Hamilton's nationally important steel sector, allowing the steel companies to receive raw materials like iron ore and coal and finished steel products. The port of Hamilton is also the key gateway for commodities that are critical for the southern Ontario market, such as road fuel, road salt, asphalt and construction materials, making us a truly diversified entity today.
In Hamilton, we have seen a progressive shift towards more diversified overseas cargoes, including exports. The number of vessels making overseas trips has grown by over 60% in 2018, and one of the key factors behind that is the infrastructure investments made in the facilities to handle these materials.
Hamilton now has three grain export terminals and southern Ontario's largest grain export gateway. Our biggest challenge continues to be building new capacity to meet these market demands, and the national trade corridors fund has been an extremely valuable tool in helping the port of Hamilton create this capacity.
In 2018, we were extremely proud to receive $17.7 million through the national trade corridors fund. HPA will match that amount, and then some, with our funds, in support of a $40-million project here in Hamilton, the westport modernization project. In addition to the $40 million between ourselves and the NTCF that will be invested, we anticipate $100 million in leveraged investment attraction from third parties.
It is focused on the oldest section of the port of Hamilton, an area that was assembled piece by piece over many years, with infrastructure that in some cases exceeds 80 years old. The project will allow us to upgrade our dock walls to current standards, increasing the amount of cargo handled at westport piers. It allows us to bring rail service to all of the piers, giving port users modal choice and flexibility. It has also allowed us to realign the rail and to reconfigure some of the buildings, which will allow us to increase our capacity by over 30 acres.
With the co-operation of Transport Canada's staff, which has been fantastic, we completed our contribution agreement very quickly and got our shovels in the ground in January of this year. We hope to finish the entire project by the end of 2020.
Just this week, we announced our first business growth outcome for the westport project, a new food-grade warehouse of 56,000 square feet, in partnership with Fluke Transportation. This will help to serve the $1-billion food industry in Hamilton in creating more capacity for food-grade storage.
The structure of the NTCF program has allowed us to customize a project that addresses a unique aspect to the port of Hamilton and its role in the national transportation corridors system. I think one of the reasons it has worked so well is that the objective of the funds is closely aligned with our mandate as a Canadian port authority: to facilitate trade and to act as an economic driver. Enabling trade in proven transportation efficiency is the work that we do every day.
The other thing that sets the NTCF program apart from previous infrastructure investment programs, like the gateway funds, is that it accounts for the unique trade flows that take place in the Great Lakes region. Unlike the coastal ports where cargo transits through the ports, the cargo for the Hamilton Port Authority and the inland ports is used within about 100 kilometres of the port itself. This really serves the manufacturing heartland of the Great Lakes area and the farmers who bring all of their produce through Hamilton.
The NTCF program allowed us to design a project that delivers value to the national transportation system in a way that makes most sense for the Great Lakes region.
As part of the next round, the Hamilton Port Authority has identified and submitted another project. It is smaller in scope but one that is fairly in line with the government's focus on diversifying Canada's export opportunities. This project will dredge a new slip adjacent to one of the port's grain export terminals, allowing us to reduce the vessel turnaround times. This will allow us to export more Ontario grain to overseas markets. This is a market where we continue to see terrific growth opportunity.
CETA has opened new markets for Canadian projects, and Canada enjoys one of the best global brands for safe, reliable food commodities. New storage capacity for sugar will also—
Lisa Baratta
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Lisa Baratta
2019-06-04 12:12
Good morning, Madam Chair and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to comment on the national trade corridors fund.
The Western Transportation Advisory Council, WESTAC, is a tripartite council of major organizations represented by business executives, labour leaders and government decision-makers. Founded in 1973, WESTAC has a history as a credible, balanced forum. We facilitate collaborative actions to improve western Canada's freight transportation system.
Our membership is a unique group of competing parties including ports, railways, terminals, major importers and exporters and labour unions, as well as the western provincial and territorial governments and Transport Canada.
Today's presentation is based on information from and discussion with the council's industry members.
First of all, we thank the government for establishing a national trade corridors fund. It was a critical initiative to reduce bottlenecks, improve the flow of goods movement and support trade diversification.
In particular, many members, especially in B.C., have been successful in obtaining NTCF funding for projects that reduce trade impacts on local communities, increase system resiliency and benefit exporters across the west.
As Peter said, projects would not be proceeding without this federal support. Transport Canada staff have been excellent at advancing applications in a timely manner without sacrificing appropriate diligence.
We believe that the NTCF was a good first step to addressing key trade infrastructure projects; however, looking longer term, a larger, more strategic program for trade-enabling infrastructure will be needed to capture growth.
Now I will turn to three points we believe are important in the conversation around trade corridors: capacity, reputation and leadership. This information is directly from our annual compass transportation leader survey and dialogue among our members.
Capacity within the transportation and trade network continues to be the prevailing concern both currently and looking ahead 30 years. Addressing congestion that is challenging capacity in key rail corridors and in the last mile before port facilities is essential.
Recent analysis shows that marine terminal capacity on the west coast in Prince Rupert and Vancouver is sufficient across all commodities except oil until 2023, but challenges come in the middle to late 2020s. Rail capacity is currently challenged in some corridors. Railways are investing to reduce constraints. About 20% of the revenue goes into capital improvements. Approximately $5.5 billion will be invested in 2019.
Canada has slipped in global competitiveness rankings for logistics, according to the World Bank logistics performance index. Members report that trading partners are concerned that Canada is not a reliable supplier. WESTAC's survey supports this, with a third of industry leaders stating our reputation has worsened.
Capacity constraints and reputational declines are symptoms of the large problem of the need for coordination and leadership across this industry. We are optimistic that the time to act is now. Leaders from all areas of transportation are signalling a shift in thinking and awareness that, to make next-level improvements in our trade corridors, we have to move beyond silos. Canada needs an explicit supply chain plan.
As one executive said:
All the players involved in transportation need to get on the same page, now. It's critical there is a meeting of the minds between regulators, shippers, carriers, logistics hubs and ports on improving the efficiency of the system overall.
As this committee knows, a national trade corridors strategy, or at the very least a western Canadian strategy, is essential. We fully support the dialogue and fact-finding necessary to create one.
A strategy can provide a leadership framework by articulating priorities for the national supply chain network. This can narrow and align priorities amongst the overwhelming menu of investment choices and stakeholders. This supports the objective of an integrated and interdependent network amongst highways, railways, airports and marine ports. In its absence, we are left with an inventory of individual projects, all of which may have merit, but without a basis upon which to recommend coherent infrastructure priorities and their relative value to trade.
The theory is not only to address the infrastructure gaps, but also to stay one step ahead of emerging challenges and opportunities.
Finally, I leave you with these thoughts.
Transportation corridors need sustained increased funding. Trade-enabling infrastructure offers government some of the highest ROI in economic terms of any category of infrastructure. Trade and transportation infrastructure provides economic returns that pay for all the other infrastructure, for example, social, green and urban transit.
We need formal arrangements for long-term collaboration and leadership in western Canada's trade corridors, and action must be taken quickly. The competitiveness gap between Canada and other nations is steadily widening at the cost of this country's long-held reputation for great performance and reliability. Other countries are pushing hard to grab greater market share.
In the wise words of one survey respondent, “If we don't act together now, as leaders, we will lose what momentum we have. Our reputation will continue to decline and capacity will remain constrained.”
Thank you.
View Vance Badawey Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
First off, I do have to say to all of you thank you for being here and for bringing us to the next level. The purpose of the national trade corridors fund, as we all know, is to invest in the Canadian transportation logistics strategy, and specifically the trade corridors. With that, we're expecting that fluidity of bottlenecks, and attached to international trade and our ability, especially with the new trade agreements that are made available to you in the international market, that that would once again happen with fluidity and ultimately strengthen Canada's overall trade performance moving forward.
With that, when we look at—and I'll go to what I know best in my area, so back to Mr. Hamilton—Niagara-Hamilton and of course the GTA, they attach themselves to over 44% of North America's annual income within one day's drive. When you look at the eastern seaboard, at south Ohio or the southern states or northern states south of Ontario, at Ohio, east to Michigan, Indiana, and as well Illinois, and of course back into Ontario and Quebec, it's a pretty extravagant market that we attach ourselves to within one day's drive.
With that said, international trade and bottlenecks become a deterrent, and travelling in and out of the Niagara-Hamilton area from those locations I just mentioned, it's critical that with those trade agreements in place, having that fluidity become a major strategy.
I have two questions for Mr. Hamilton. What are your thoughts towards further ensuring that fluidity and of course the strategies attached to the same that would then again align with the investments to the NTCF? What are your thoughts on what should be done or what should be invested in to satisfy the objectives of those strategies?
The second question, with respect to NAFTA, CETA, CPTPP and of course all of the product coming in and out of the Midwest from those areas and into those areas that I just mentioned, is how do these agreements affect the demand and the pressures you're going to see within these trade corridors within the immediate future as well as in the long term?
Ian Hamilton
View Ian Hamilton Profile
Ian Hamilton
2019-06-04 12:39
Thanks, Mr. Badawey. Maybe I'll answer your second question first.
Certainly, as a result of the free trade agreements, we've seen fairly material growth in the Port of Hamilton and the surrounding area for overseas cargo. We now carry over $1 billion worth of agricultural products, mainly into Europe, which is close to a $750-million increase per year over the last 10 years.
As we enter into each one of these agreements, and with Canada the only country with free trade agreements with all the G7 countries, I think we're in a very strong position to continue to grow. When there are disruptive things in the marketplace, such as trade wars or retaliatory tariffs, I think we'll continue to be well positioned as Canada to take advantage of that, whether it be the steel market or the agricultural market, as we've done locally. All that said, the demand is going to continue to grow for the products, and it's going to have the impact of increased congestion.
I think that in the line of questioning for Ms. Baratta from Mr. Aubin earlier on, they both talked about it. I think it's an integrated transportation strategy that's going to be critical; that's a strategy that truly focuses on how we use all the modes to their best advantage. I think that's an area the NTCF could probably further develop to understand how we use our fund to tie together those modes so that we're truly offering the most efficiency.
We have the roadways that are being used at the right time, the rail that's being used at the right time and the marine that's being used at the right time. As Mr. Aubin pointed out, sometimes we have a tendency to think in silos, but we're starting to see a momentum towards that integrated transportation strategy. I hope we can continue to use the funding to address how the modes integrate together to get the biggest benefit from each one of them, tap into capacity, like there is in the marine industry on the Great Lakes with the 50% available capacity, and continue to take advantage of that.
I hope that answers your question.
View Gagan Sikand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair. My question is for the Port of Vancouver.
Peter, I just want you to clarify a few things. When you talk about volume in the port, does that mean the traffic—the number of ships coming in—or is that the units on the ships as well? Are they one and the same or are there two different metrics?
Peter Xotta
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Peter Xotta
2019-06-04 12:44
There are two different metrics. I've been employed here for about 24 years now, and virtually throughout that time we've had somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500 ship calls per year. That hasn't changed in the last 25 years because, generally speaking, vessel size is increasing.
Referring to the numbers, though, we're talking about volume of cargo, 147 million tonnes of cargo. It grew by 3.5%. Just to put it in perspective, one of the major grain terminals in the port is a four to six million tonne-capacity facility. You can see that, as we grow each year, we need the equivalent capacity of a new grain terminal each and every year as we move forward. The demands on the port and the supply chain are significant.
Francois-Xavier Morency
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Francois-Xavier Morency
2019-05-16 11:16
Maersk, based in Denmark, and having operations in Canada, is the biggest marine transportation company in the world, by volume. One of Maersk's five core values is constant care. We translate constant care into our business by taking care of today, while actively preparing for the future.
Most of our activities involve marine operations and logistics. We are conscious that understanding, influencing and partaking in how this industry will evolve is key to our business survival in the next century, and that it affects deeply the society we live in.
Maersk has taken the ambitious step to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050. We will achieve this goal without buying carbon offsets. This means potentially abandoning carbon-based fuels within 30 years. It is therefore with this view that we present some of our perspectives on the evolution of the transportation industry in Canada and its intimate interconnection with the world.
Moving towards decarbonization does not mean reducing our business ambitions. We believe in sustainable growth. In an era of increased global trade and integrated supply chains, the challenges associated with such goals are tremendous. We believe Canada, through its land mass, oceans access, advanced economy, natural resources and initiatives to modernize its transportation network is in a unique position to become a global leader in a modern logistics network. This can be realized in conjunction with environmental stewardship and economic health.
We are in support of the recommendations highlighted in the work done by the committee on the west coast and in the Niagara areas. We would like to add to this view that there should be a drive to use renewable, low-carbon emission solutions to these challenges, especially where technology is already available.
One example could be the electrification of all new rail transport in the Niagara area. Such electrification would spur vigorous economic activities in several layers of the industrial fabric, such as transmissions, construction, heavy industry, etc.
One of the underestimated and underdeveloped trade corridors lies to the east of Montreal-Windsor. It is imperative that Canada work in parallel, tapping into the potential to develop industrial centres in rural areas along the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the eastern provinces.
This trade corridor is rich in resources and renewable energy. It has direct access to what should be important trade diversification targets that are in the Atlantic Basin, namely, Europe, Africa and South America. The eastern trade corridor is key to economic diversification.
There is a significant effort to develop sustainable access to deepwater ports on the Atlantic Basin. Such ports, existing or not, can serve as additional distribution centres for goods that will trade with Asia through the Arctic. They can be adapted or built with renewable power in mind. The cargo coming on giant ships can be redistributed within North America through the road and rail networks, or through short-sea shipping.
For technical reasons, one could argue that the smaller vessels will first see a change in fuel from carbon-based to renewables. The northern routes will open, and Canada must prepare.
The economics of such major infrastructure projects are challenging and only a long-term, non-partisan infrastructure program that is centred on a vision of an efficient carbon-neutral network will ensure that Canada benefits from a privileged access to three oceans.
We therefore would like to recommend an objective to reduce the transportation sector's carbon footprint to zero by 2050. This can be enabled by ensuring that infrastructure is built in a flexible way, ready to receive ships that might change their propulsion methods in the next decades; rails that can be electrified; and highways that can support alternative vehicles. Ensuring that all port slips have access to renewable shore power could be an immediate first step. Maximizing oil and gas exports with a minimal transportation carbon footprint, such as pipelines, could be another.
We recommend accelerating change in the transport industry by building a network of rails, roads and marine routes with access to a renewable energy grid.
We recommend fostering economic acceleration by funding technology programs in such a way that Canada becomes the world leader in developing and deploying non-carbon emitting transportation methods.
We recommend continuing to invest in the infrastructure with a view that the business cases, especially for zero-carbon projects, might take decades to pay off.
Finally, we recommend prioritizing, as a way to diversify the economy, the development of the eastern trade corridor, including deepwater ports, interconnecting networks and Arctic access.
Thank you.
View Vance Badawey Profile
Lib. (ON)
Again, going back to your business plan, you're enabling and facilitating global supply chains and providing opportunities for customers to trade globally. Right now you're in the west. You're somewhat in the east. You're in Montreal, in Sorel. A lot of that is coming to a point where you sometimes have to travel with product in a non-feasible fashion. How do we make it more feasible for you? How do we integrate more, especially when you get to the Sorel-Montreal area and you're offloading the containers? Most of it's going in trucks. Some of it's going on rail. Through this strategy, how do we further integrate that for you to make it more feasible and more friendly to business?
Francois-Xavier Morency
View Francois-Xavier Morency Profile
Francois-Xavier Morency
2019-05-16 11:52
The most efficient way to transport goods is through sea shipping. But once you get it off the ship, then it's really about being integrated with the ports and infrastructure. How do you interconnect all the networks? How are the goods transiting?
View Vance Badawey Profile
Lib. (ON)
So in terms of moving forward, the modernization of ports is key to really aligning with what you're doing. As you know, we're doing the ports modernization review. A lot of that's going to come together with this strategy.
Francois-Xavier Morency
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Francois-Xavier Morency
2019-05-16 11:52
That's right, the modernization of ports and the interconnecting networks.
Gaétan Boivin
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Gaétan Boivin
2019-05-16 12:12
Thank you.
Madam Chair, members of the committee, Mr. Aubin, MP for Trois-Rivières, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak to you today.
Recognized for the excellence of its terminal operators, its qualified workers and the quality of its infrastructure, the Port de Trois-Rivières welcomes ships year round. The Port has experienced steady growth in traffic while complying with strict environmental standards and working harmoniously with the community.
In 2018, 3.9 million tonnes of merchandise moved through the Port for an estimated value of $3.3 billion. Trois-Rivières is linked to hundreds of ports in more than 40 countries annually. Its port facilities serve businesses located in Quebec, Ontario, western Canada, and throughout North America. They meet the needs of many key sectors of Canada's economy, such as the manufacturing, agri-food, mining, and energy industries.
In 2007, the future of the Port de Trois-Rivières did not look bright. Its infrastructure was old and outdated, revenues were insufficient, and traffic was declining. It also had a bad environmental record and poor urban integration. That is what led the port authority to undertake strategic planning focused around the participation of all stakeholders, for a contribution to strong and optimal economic and regional development. The guiding vision for the plan was, “Developing modern, productive, community-integrated infrastructure in support of a skilled workforce”. Every stakeholder remained focused on that vision, which is what made it a reality.
On Course for 2020 helped bring in modern infrastructure, which paved the way to greater intermodality, full and complete management of safety and security, a reduced environmental impact while allowing an increase in traffic, a harmonious integration with the urban environment, and a significant boost in socio-economic spinoffs, all against the backdrop of good governance.
Investments totalling $132 million from both levels of government, the port authority and its users, this plan, which was completed in 2017, increased capacity by 40%, which is currently being fully utilized, all while the port is getting requests from countless other shippers.
In the wake of such tremendous success, we decided to keep going and launched the On Track for 2030 last October.
The Port de Trois-Rivières is an urban port. It is literally surrounded by the city. The urban zone puts a great deal of pressure on the port's activities and those in turn can appear incompatible with the surroundings. Obviously this could be a source of conflict unless the port fully accepts this urban reality and the city accepts its status as a port city.
That is what the port and city of Trois-Rivières did and the strategic planning exercise that led to On Track for 2030 is based on this fundamental premise. In acknowledging its urban nature, the port did not view it as an obstacle to development, but rather saw and seized opportunities that would otherwise go unnoticed. That recognition revealed who mattered most to the port and that motivates all our actions.
A survey conducted in 2018 showed that 95% of our population has a good or very good opinion of the port. A majority is in favour of increasing its activities.
Like many ports around the world, the Port de Trois-Rivières is looking to convert some of its facilities for tourism, and residential and commercial use and is working with Transport Canada on getting approval for that. This will allow the port to collaborate with the city and private partners on developing its properties near the harbourfront park in harmony with the neighbouring area.
As part of the review to modernize ports, it is essential that port authorities have the power to do much more.
In support of their growth, the port and its partners will play an active role in improving the competitiveness of aspects that constitute the supply chain, namely marine, rail and road transportation services. This will make the port more competitive and the region even more attractive to investors.
These initiatives will better position Trois-Rivières on the international scene and that is where there is potential for growth. The port plans to fit-up new storage space and build new docks. A request for funding for that purpose has been submitted to the National Trade Corridors Fund.
Finally, the port has created for its users and clients two funds worth $2.5 million over five years. The Innovation fund supports solutions for enhancing the Port's competitiveness. The Environment fund complements the financing package for projects to improve the Port's environmental record.
Through all these actions, we are trying to be an innovative urban port that drives growth at the heart of a logistics chain.
Thank you for your attention.
Jean Côté
View Jean Côté Profile
Jean Côté
2019-05-16 12:17
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you very much for inviting me here today to talk about the Trois-Rivières airport.
The Trois-Rivières airport is a cornerstone of economic development in Mauricie and Quebec. The technical specifications of the airport, its exceptional geographic location halfway between Montreal and Quebec City, its integration with the modern transportation system, the presence of key aerospace players backed by a structured and skilled value chain, make this airport a key economic driver and indisputable player in Canada's aerospace industry.
The airport has high-quality modern infrastructure and can accommodate all types of planes. It has the added benefit of being near the Port de Trois-Rivières, the Chemins de fer Québec-Gatineau railway, and major arteries the autoroutes 40 and 55. This proximity puts the Trois-Rivières airport on a strong mutimodal platform. The airport also accommodates a pool of aerospace companies and suppliers that position the city and the region as a major support hub to the aerospace industry, which is generally concentrated in the greater Montreal area and around the world.
The countless companies operating at the Trois-Rivières airport spent a total of $90.7 million from 2012-2014. Nearly 75% of the spending on goods and services, for a total of roughly $67 million, is done in Quebec, with the neighbouring provinces meeting the rest of the needs.
The economic impact analysis of the activities at the Trois-Rivières airport that I will sum up for you was conducted through Quebec's inter-sectoral model, a tool developed by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
For 2014, the overall economic impact — the direct and indirect benefits, or induced effects — of the companies installed at the airport, was valued at $92.8 million. This helped to create or maintain roughly 814 jobs. In 2014, 372 of those jobs were on airport property alone, a number that has now reached 460. The total economic impact has produced a payroll of more than $39 million. The airport's operating revenue and other revenue is valued at $37 million, while the annual revenue that both levels of government collect in tax and from incidental taxation totalled $15.8 million.
The Trois-Rivières airport is a hub for commercial flights with a bright future. On July 28, Transport Canada changed its regulations for designating commercial airports. Under this amendment, the Trois-Rivières airport can now apply to Transport Canada for the suite of services provided by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. This is a rather difficult and onerous process.
For years, Innovation et Développement économique Trois-Rivières has been developing business relationships with several low-cost air carriers including Sunwing — which has been in the news a lot lately — or Air Transat. These companies operate Boeing 737 or Airbus 319, 320, or 321, which the Trois-Rivières airport can already accommodate with no problem.
This will bring in other revenue streams from parking fees, rent from car rental agencies or restaurant owners, or revenue from air transportation related services such as shuttle services.
Bringing in these services will allow the airport to attract other airlines to connect Trois-Rivières to Canadian or international destinations, fuelling a growing tourism clientele.
For that, the city of Trois-Rivières has already invested $24 million in airport infrastructure and allocated an additional $4 million to build a new terminal. The current terminal has reached the end of its useful life. The new terminal project is estimated to cost $11 million and obviously we are also asking the federal government to contribute to the project.
I will now explain the importance of having an airport in Trois-Rivières. When a new company is scouting a new location, the most important factors influencing the final decision is the availability of skilled workers, followed by financial incentives, and thirdly, the proximity to an airport with services.
Among the key factors that make airports particularly important to businesses, we can point to the growing need for connection and accessibility, the internationalization of activities, the need for flexibility in production systems—including "just-in-time," which is a perfect illustration of this—and the increasing mobility of skilled workers.
In its local action plan on the economy and employment, Innovation et Développement économique Trois-Rivières does identify the aeronautics, logistics and distribution sectors as priorities. Basically, the Trois-Rivières airport plays a major economic role, both as a direct job creator and an incentive for businesses whose main criteria include having an airport nearby.
In regard to the high-frequency train, I will simply mention the environmental impacts. One of the many benefits this train will bring is a carbon reduction of 10.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2050.
Alain Sans Cartier
View Alain Sans Cartier Profile
Alain Sans Cartier
2019-05-16 12:23
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, members of the committee, for welcoming us this morning.
As the last deepwater port closest to the heart of America, the Port of Québec's strategic advantages make it a key player in the continental supply chain. Our market extends all the way to the Great Lakes. We are one of Canada's top five ports and transship 27 million tonnes of cargo, mainly bulk cargo, worth $20 billion. We do business with some 60 countries and 300 ports.
With a water depth of 15 metres at low tide, the Port of Québec has a fully intermodal terminal and plays a key role as a transshipment port in the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes corridor. According to KPMG, our port has generated 13,250 direct and indirect jobs, as well as $1.3 billion in economic spin-offs across Canada.
The Port of Québec is also a destination for international cruises. With 230,000 visitors a year, it is the largest port in the St. Lawrence for cruise ships. Fully 20% of our territory is dedicated to urban and recreational tourism activities.
I will now give you an overview of the main issues the Port of Québec has to address to ensure its development. In a country like Canada, whose economic vitality relies on access to international markets, port infrastructure is of course a strategic asset. Unfortunately, the Port of Québec, as many other ports, must deal with aging infrastructure. Our most recent sector was built in the sixties, while our oldest dates back to the nineteenth century. We would need over $300 million to rebuild our port heritage. Clearly, our port, much like the other ports, does not have the financial capacity to cover these costs on its own.
Fortunately, in 2018 we received a $15-million contribution from the National Trade Corridors Fund to carry out a $30-million restoration project. However, with a budget of $2.2 billion over 11 years, the NTCF is not able to meet all the pressing needs. Therefore, we think that the sheer scale of those needs calls for the creation of an infrastructure restoration program, specifically for ports, to modernize Canada's strategic port heritage.
Moreover, intermodality is essential for Canadian ports to remain competitive. Rail and road access is vital if we want to offer businesses the best solutions for reaching their markets. The growth of international trade requires increased capacity and fluidity. The reality is that Canada's ports are often built right in a city core, as is the case in Quebec City. It is therefore essential to invest in these intermodal links, both to retain access and to improve capacity. It's just as important to invest in infrastructure to mitigate the impact of port activity on the urban landscape.
The Port of Québec is planning its development from a global perspective. Our development is based on a vision of the St. Lawrence that focuses primarily on the competitiveness of the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes trade corridor, a gateway for eastern Canada. This trade corridor reaches a market of 110 million consumers, but it has to compete with east coast ports in the U.S., which have made massive investments to improve their access to this huge market.
The new Panama Canal opened in 2016 with a new water-depth standard of 15 metres. It can now accommodate a new generation of even larger ships, the New Panamax, which can carry up to 14,000 containers. This depth of 15 metres is now the new industry standard for the American eastern seabord ports, which, like the the ports of the St. Lawrence, also serve the Midwest market. American ports, which are the St. Lawrence ports' main competitors, have launched major dredging operations and are working to modernize their rail networks to adapt to this new standard.
The Port of New York and New Jersey has invested $2.1 billion in dredging alone, primarily to adapt the docks to the new water-depth standard of 15 metres. The port also invested $1.6 billion in works to raise the Bayonne Bridge to allow for the transit of large container ships.
The Port of Québec already has a water depth of 15 metres at low tide. Note that past the Quebec Bridge, the navigation channel is limited to only 11.3 metres as far as Montreal. That is why the Port of Québec is pushing for the construction of a new deepwater container terminal. This would involve a 17-hectare land expansion and a wharf line with water depth of 16 metres. The new terminal will be able to handle 500,000 containers a year and will give the St. Lawrence a viable deepwater option to compete with east cost ports in the U.S. In addition, the terminal will supplement our eastern ports. Ultimately, this project will consolidate our position and regain market share from the U.S. ports. This project is currently under assessment by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
In closing, I would like to share a few thoughts about some of our development issues. It is vital that we maintain a balance between developing infrastructure and protecting the environment. The significant delays and costs associated with current environmental processes must be considered with care to optimize successful project outcomes.
Canada's port authorities have to deal with borrowing capacity limits, which could become a major constraint in ensuring the closing of financing for major projects. There is a need for greater flexibility.
Our business activities are governed by letters patent, which define both our activities and our business relationships. These letters patent can constrain our efforts to adapt to changing business practices. A more flexible amendment process would be a considerable improvement. It would help us adapt more effectively to the current situation.
Lastly, major development projects should always be examined from the perspective of improving our international competitiveness, within an approach focused on regional complementarity.
Thank you for your attention.
View Vance Badawey Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay. Thank you.
Question two is for Québec Port Authority. To you, as well, congratulations. Well done. You are really bringing a lot of product in there. You're bursting at the seams right now, and you're looking at future growth, I'm sure.
You mentioned the fluidity, in terms of moving a lot of products on the seaway system—down the river and, of course, through the Great Lakes. How are you doing that right now?
I'll preface my question by saying this. I understand that a lot of times, it's costing more money to throw it in a truck, which is not environmentally friendly, or on a train, whereas there might be an opportunity to keep it on the water. However, with the Panamaxes, it's difficult to come to the seaway. How are you doing it now, and how would you prefer to do it?
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