New West Partnership (NWP) Premiers Brad Wall (Saskatchewan), Christy Clark (British Columbia) and Jim Prentice (Alberta) met with industry leaders today to explore ways to improve the long-term efficiency, reliability, and competitiveness of Western Canada’s transportation system.
“We had a really good, constructive discussion,” noted Premier Wall. “The difficulty we had last winter in moving our products to market was a wake-up call. The current transportation system has served us well but is nearing its limit. What we heard today was a commitment from transporters and everyone who depends on the supply chain to work together and build capacity for long-term growth.”
Participants agreed on the following vision for the New West transportation infrastructure system:
An integrated and collaborative system and supply chain that stays apace with demand growth, can pivot to stay ahead of shifts in demand, prioritizes safety and environmental protection and has the right options to move goods efficiently and cost-effectively.
“We heard loud and clear from the participants that we must continue to work with private sector, government and First Nations partners to ensure we have the infrastructure to support the unprecedented growth and greater trade in the Asia-Pacific region,” Prentice said.
Premiers stressed the need for a renewed partnership with the Government of Canada. Premiers called for a federal contribution of $1 billion to $1.5 billion to support and enhance essential port and transportation infrastructure.
A restructured Pacific Gateway Alliance (PGA) with ministerial representation will begin work immediately on a cost-sharing partnership with the federal government and the private sector. This includes high-volume marine ports, an integrated high-quality highway, and rail and pipeline systems to maximize Canada’s export capacity. Expanding and diversifying our trade relationship and improving our trade infrastructure will create jobs and strengthen Canada’s overall competitiveness.
Premiers agree that world-class environmental and safety standards must be a key component of future infrastructure planning and development.
Premiers stressed the importance of the engagement and involvement of Aboriginal Peoples. Aboriginal participation and collaboration will be essential to the success this initiative.
A joint submission by the NWP will identify key projects that will increase international trade in all provinces, address bottlenecks, improve safety, and reduce impacts on local communities across the West. Enhancements will include:
- Greater port access and capacity, including necessary road and rail improvements in the north and south of British Columbia.Projects would include the removal of level crossings that impede traffic and improvements to Highways 1 and 16.
- Twinning major highways and building perimeter roads in Saskatchewan to increase the flow of goods to key markets.
- Widening major highways in Alberta, bridge improvements and twinning of major arteries to support east-west trade.
“Our competitors will not wait - Canada must move quickly if we want to capture the full benefit of the opportunities in front of us. Canada must create a world-class supply chain, coordinated across all modes of transportation,” said Premier Clark. “With exports and inbound container traffic expected to double in the next 10 years, ensuring Canada has the best infrastructure system in the world is bigger than any one of us and continuing the dialogue that began today will be essential.”
Premiers noted that the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) review presents a good opportunity to review Canada’s regulations and policies to ensure they support international trade and competitiveness. Premiers agreed that using the CTA review to expand monitoring systems, information-sharing, and cooperation amongst stakeholders would improve the efficiency with which goods and services move across the transportation network. Premiers and industry leaders agree that information sharing and co-ordination is essential to ensuring the entire network can accommodate current and projected volumes of products.
At the summit, participants agreed on the importance of pursuing the following actions:
- Developing a protocol to handle peak demand in the system.
- Investigating incentives to increase surge capacity and supply chain innovation.
- Encouraging meaningful service level agreements.
- Developing a long term plan for infrastructure to meet a doubling of demand.
- Adopting truly common trucking regulations.
- Ensuring regulatory approvals are timely to support improvements to the transportation corridors.
- Ensuring strong federal government spill response capacity.
- Supporting recruitment and training of key occupations in the transportation sector.
- Benchmarking the performance of our transportation system.
- Ensuring environmental and regulatory issues are addressed among the three provinces.
The Pacific Gateway Alliance will lead this work and report back to Premiers in six months.
Created in 2010, the NWP brought Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia into an unprecedented and historic partnership that established Canada’s largest open, efficient and stable market. With a combined population of over nine million and a combined GDP of nearly $550 billion, the NWP is an economic powerhouse that continues to grow, strengthening the economy, unleashing the creativity of innovators and expanding its presence around the world.
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