Road Construction for Canada’s Inland Port Begins

Jun 18, 2010 | Government News

Today marked the start of construction of various road improvements around CentrePort Canada, the 20,000-acre inland port in Winnipeg. The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, on behalf of Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, announced these milestones today in Winnipeg. He was joined by the Honourable Greg Selinger, Premier of Manitoba, and Diane Gray, CEO of CentrePort Canada Inc.

“CentrePort Canada is one of the key initiatives supported by our government through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative to enhance the competitiveness of Canadian business,” said Minister Toews. “Investments in Manitoba’s transportation infrastructure will help boost capacity and improve the efficiency of trade to the east and west, to the American market, and to the rest of the world.”

Today’s construction milestones include the start of the first stage of development for the four-lane divided expressway known as CentrePort Canada Way and upgrades to Highway 75. These improvements will provide better, more efficient highway access to CentrePort Canada and nearby assets including Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport and the Canadian Pacific Weston Rail intermodal facility, and ensure that trade moves more effectively across Canada and into the Asia Pacific Gateway, as well as south through the Emerson border crossing, and into the United States and Mexico.

“These projects will make CentrePort Canada an attractive destination for international business and investment,” added Minister Toews. “Projects that will create jobs, build trade and boost the economy. Benefits will not only be felt here in Winnipeg, but throughout Manitoba and Canada.”

“The Manitoba government continues to support CentrePort Canada, which will provide a competitive advantage and help make our province the location of choice for industries and manufacturers looking for new and innovative ways to get their goods to world markets,” said Premier Selinger. “We are also investing in infrastructure projects to create jobs now, strengthen our major trade and transportation connections and make our economy more productive and competitive.”

Located in the heart of North America, Winnipeg plays an important role in both east-west and north-south trade. CentrePort Canada is developing 20,000 acres in the northwest corner of the city into a thriving logistics hub, which includes the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport and a modern network of highways and railways that connect to national and international trade gateways and corridors serving Asia, Europe and North America.

“Today’s infrastructure improvements are important examples of the public-sector leadership and support that has been essential to the continued development of CentrePort Canada,” said Diane Gray. “These expressway improvements will increase CentrePort Canada’s competitive advantage, while helping Winnipeg and Manitoba to further enhance their position as a North American trade and transportation hub.”

These projects are part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI), a network of transportation infrastructure, including British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert ports, their principal road and rail connections stretching across Western Canada and south to the United States, key border crossings and major Canadian airports. Since the initiative’s announcement in 2006, the Government of Canada has partnered with Manitoba and other Western provinces, municipalities and the private sector to announce strategic infrastructure projects worth more than $2.8 billion, including federal contributions of over $1 billion.

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Backgrounder Information



Winnipeg plays an important role in both east-west and north-south trade. The CentrePort Canada Initiative involves developing the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport and surrounding land as a hub for goods travelling to and from Asia and Europe, and then distributing those goods throughout North America by air, rail, road and sea.

In April 2009, the Prime Minister and the Premier of Manitoba announced that the governments of Canada and Manitoba were jointly funding the next phase of this project, which involves building an express transportation corridor. Some of the support provided to CentrePort Canada is under Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor (APGCI) is a network of transportation infrastructure, including British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert ports, their principal road and rail connections stretching across Western Canada and south to the United States, key border crossings and major Canadian airports.

The network serves all of Canada, and the APGCI aims to take advantage of Canada’s strategic location at the crossroads between the North American marketplace and the booming economies of Asia.

On October 11, 2006, Prime Minister Harper announced the APGCI with an initial investment of $591 million. A further commitment of $410 million was made in Budget 2007, bringing total federal funding for the initiative to more than $1 billion.

The APGCI is a long-term effort, focusing on infrastructure, policy, governance and operational issues together in one multi-modal, system-based, public-private strategy.

The Government of Canada’s contributions to APGCI projects will improve the transportation system by: 

–   increasing port, rail and road transportation capacity;

–   reducing congestion on bottlenecks at key locations for Asia-Pacific trade;

–   improving connections between modes; and

–   enhancing the transportation system’s efficiency, safety and security. 

The Government of Canada’s investments will continue to promote increased investments by the private sector and other public-sector partners to ensure efficient and seamless connections between the modes of transportation and improve traffic flows for international cargo.

Projects supporting CentrePort Canada:

1. CentrePort Canada Way Project

Description: The CentrePort Canada Way Project involves the construction of a new four-lane divided high-speed corridor linking Winnipeg’s inland port to the Perimeter Highway. The roadway will connect Inkster Boulevard (PR 221), the James A. Richardson International Airport and the Canadian Pacific Weston Rail intermodal facility to the Perimeter Highway near Saskatchewan Avenue in Winnipeg.

Total Investment: $212.4 million. Canada’s component is $101.6 million, $33.25 million through APGCI and an estimated $68.35 million from the Provincial/Territorial Base Funding Agreement. Manitoba’s component is $110.8 million. (Manitoba will match the $101.6 million in federal funds and contribute an additional $9.2 million for land acquisition.)

Timing: Construction began in spring 2010 and will end in spring 2014.

2. Port of Churchill

Description: This project consists of improvements to the port. Plans are now underway to upgrade the port’s facilities and the rail line linking Churchill with Winnipeg. This will better position Churchill as a key hub for Canada’s Arctic strategy and facilitate increased trade through the port in the future.

Total Investment: $8 million. Western Economic Diversification Canada will provide up to $4 million, and Manitoba will provide up to $4 million for improvements to the port.

3. Hudson Bay Railway “Bay Line” Rehabilitation Project

Description: This project focuses on rehabilitation of the rail line between The Pas and the Port of Churchill, Manitoba. Funding is being directed towards the upgrade of the 877-kilometre rail line, which includes such works as railway tie replacement, replacement of rail switches, and bridge and culvert repair along the Bay Line. These improvements will allow Hudson Bay Railway to provide a more reliable and consistent shipping and passenger rail service.

Total Investment: $60 million. Canada, Manitoba and OmniTRAX will each contribute $20 million.

Timing: Construction started in July 2008 and will end in 2018.

4. Highway 75 Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project

Description: The Highway 75 Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project involves the reconstruction and rehabilitation of aged concrete pavement that is in poor condition, the rehabilitation of the bridge at Plum River, upgrades consistent with Expressway standards (including upgrading gravel shoulders to paved surfaces) and localized pavement widenings along the existing north-south roadway that links Winnipeg and the Canada-United States border crossing at Emerson, Manitoba. Highway 75 is part of the Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor, and one of only four major United States border crossings in Western Canada. This project is expected to reduce travel times and improve safety for trade flows and motorists alike, thereby further enhancing Canada’s economic competitiveness and productivity within the trade corridor, and improving the quality of life of Canadians.

Total Investment: $90.2 million. Canada will provide $42.5 million under the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Highway 75, and Manitoba will provide the remaining $47.7 million.

Timing: Construction started in July 2009 and will end in 2014.

5. Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) Interchange Project

Description: This project involves the construction of a new interchange at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16). It also includes the grade separation of the existing Yellowhead Highway and Canadian National Railway Mainline at-grade crossing. This project is expected to increase safety and reduce travel times for vehicles travelling through these currently at-grade intersections.

Total Investment: $96.5 million. Canada will contribute $21 million under the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund, and Manitoba will provide $75.5 million.

Timing: Construction is anticipated to begin in 2012 and end in early 2015.

Two new pilot projects in partnership with CentrePort Canada

1. Canada-Manitoba CentrePort International Business Development Project

A “single-window” task force has been established to work with CentrePort Canada Inc. to assist international business development at the inland port, for example, by raising awareness of Canada’s business-friendly tax and duty deferral advantages, including Canada’s foreign trade zone-type programs. The objective of the task force is to provide coordinated, proactive and service-oriented assistance on the various trade and business facilitation programs available from each level of government at CentrePort Canada.

This task force is located in Winnipeg and convened by Western Economic Diversification Canada, involving local senior officials from the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Revenue Agency, Transport Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Industry Canada and Export Development Canada. It also involves representatives from the Government of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg.

2. Pan-Western Outreach Program

The Pan-Western Outreach Program consists of seminars aimed at raising awareness in business circles about Canada’s programs and policies that support international trade, including Canada’s foreign trade zone-type programs. Seminars were delivered across Western Canada in March 2010. Given the interest from partners involved in the development of Canada’s emerging gateways, similar seminars are planned for the Continental and Atlantic gateways.

Canada’s Tax and Duty Relief Advantages

Canada recognizes the significant impact of taxes on the international competitiveness of Canadian business and has taken concrete steps since 2006 to strengthen Canada’s business tax advantages for trade, for example: 

–   the GST/HST is fully recoverable for business and does not apply to exports; 

–   our corporate income tax rate will be the lowest among G7 countries by 2012, and we have the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment; and 

–   Budget 2010’s commitment to eliminate all remaining tariffs on manufacturing inputs, machinery and equipment by 2015 will make Canada a “tariff-free zone for manufacturers.” 

In addition, Canada has three targeted tax and duty deferral programs that are among the most business-friendly incentive programs for export-oriented businesses available anywhere. Canada currently offers several foreign trade zone-type programs for businesses that will benefit from an improved marketing strategy. These are: 

–   the Duty Deferral Program, which entitles qualified companies to defer or recover customs duties normally paid on imported goods in certain circumstances; and 

–   the Export Distribution Centre and the Exporters of Processing Services programs, which allow qualified companies to import goods on a GST-free basis for processing in Canada and re-export. 

Taken together, the duty and tax benefits of these programs are similar to the advantages provided by foreign trade zones in other countries. Unlike traditional foreign trade zones, which tie businesses to a location that may not be ideal for them, Canada’s foreign trade zone-equivalent programs offer companies the advantage of geographic flexibility; that is to say, they provide export-oriented companies “the benefits of foreign trade zones anywhere in Canada.”

For more information, visit the following websites:

Pacific Gateway

Canada Border Services Agency

Border Information Service

Western Economic Diversification Canada

Canada-Manitoba Economic Partnership (EPA) Agreement

For further information: Mélisa Leclerc, Director of Communications, Office of the President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, (613) 952-5051; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055

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