The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the province of Manitoba announced on September 19, 2008, $80,000 in joint funding for a private sector-led initiative to identify and attract new business investment to Manitoba’s inland port.
The goal of the Chamber’s new Business Call program will be to seek out and act on the expertise of local CEOs who work in organizations or are connected to industries most likely to be interested in locating to the province’s inland port.
On September 10, 2008, the province introduced legislation creating CentrePort Canada Inc., a private sector focused corporation that will develop and promote Manitoba’s inland port and would build on the province’s well-established network of air, rail, sea, and trucking routes.
The proposed Act designates 20,000 acres of land around James Armstrong Richardson International Airport for the inland port to serve as a transportation, trade, manufacturing, distribution, warehousing and logistics centre.
Manitoba’s inland port advantages include:
- The James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, which is undergoing further expansion, operates unrestricted 24 hours a day and is first in Canada in the number of dedicated cargo freighters operating through it.
- The border crossing south of Winnipeg at Emerson is the top-ranked border crossing on the prairies, processing $14.4 billion in trade traffic annually. This key trade route to the United States and Mexico is being upgraded with $85 million in federal-provincial funding for PTH 75.
- Winnipeg is the only location between the west coast and central Ontario where the key lines of Canada’s two major railways, CN and CPR, intersect. Both railways maintain extensive intermodal yards in Winnipeg. CN, CPR and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad provide direct access to southern markets.
- Manitoba has the only deep-sea port in mid-Canada, the port of Churchill, located at the northern tip of the mid-continent trade corridor, which runs south to the United States and Mexico. Manitoba is also linked to the Asia Pacific Gateway via Prince Rupert to the west and through Thunder Bay to the east.
Already, CentrePort Canada is attracting business investment with Canada Post, Greyhound Canada and Standard Aero all announcing new expansions in recent weeks.
“The Manitoba government and the business community agree that building an inland port is one of the most exciting economic opportunities facing our province,” says Competitiveness, Training and Trade Minister Andrew Swan. “CentrePort Canada will help coordinate and prioritize public infrastructure and private business investment so we can realize our potential as a top centre of trade within North America. This will build upon our already impressive network of road, rail, air, and marine links that stretch east and west across Canada, run north through Churchill to overseas markets, and south to the United States and Mexico.”