CP sees growth at the GTH
As CP Rail maps out its plans, it sees more opportunities ahead for the Global Transportation Hub – from the traditional warehousing and distribution to an expanded role in moving value-added agricultural resources.
The key is identifying the right things and doing them the right way, according to Mike Foran, CP Rail’s vice-president, market strategy and asset development.
“There is no doubt that we haven’t done enough containerizations on the prairies,” says Foran. “Value-added (agricultural processing) is required. It presents a great opportunity. No doubt. It just requires the right model.”
In his role with CP, Foran has developed a keen sense of the needs of market and how companies involved with transportation can be successful. Those lessons are being implemented across CP’s system.
“You’re going to hear us talk about ‘smart solutions,” says Foran. “We can’t be all things to all people. We’re going to do things that make economic sense and efficiency sense. We’re going to be innovative. I see lots of capacity and lots of capability.”
The GTH has a place in CP’s future plans, as the rail provider believes the inland port model is the right approach for improving efficiency in the transportation system.
“The concept, the idea, is exactly where we need to go,” says Foran. “We need more facilities in Canada, in our network, that extend our customers’ market reach, that simplify the supply chain, that allow us to handle more and increase our throughput.”
In assessing the GTH specifically, Foran identifies three key advantages that will support the ongoing success of the partnership between the rail company and the inland port.
“First, (the GTH) has an incredible amount of very strategic land and assets that are accessible on our railroad,” says Foran. “It’s an advantage to have the GTH on our railway.
“Two is the on-the-ground understanding of the needs of the customers at a local level. That is critical.
“And No. 3 is the vision. The GTH is not standing still. It has very good ideas – from transloads to attracting ag or other opportunities to the facilities. They have well-thought-out, thorough and strategic plans.”
C’est Bon! Investment equals opportunity for Port of MontrealMore than a century has passed since the first permanent sheds were constructed at the shipping port known today as the Port of Montreal, one of Canada’s busiest intermodal hubs and a gateway to global trade.
Tony Boemi, vice president of growth and development for Port of Montreal, says investing in land and infrastructure has been and will continue to be essential for the growth of the Port and the region. He says land purchased over 30 years ago is integral to the current plans for the Port – a testament to the long-term vision and commitment of the facility.
“Everyone thought we were crazy,” says Boemi, reflecting on the land acquisition. “Today, we’re closing in on being full. To be able to continue to handle the growth, we need that land. The land which we purchased is currently a bulk terminal, but also has a tremendous amount if unused greenfield; it’s building for the future. The projects take time, It’s a long road.”
Like all transportation hubs, the Port of Montreal is investing to adapt to the changing needs of large-scale transportation, whether by ship, rail or truck. That means preparing for larger ships, longer trains and new ways of meeting the needs of a trade-based economy.
“Look at the trains today, they’re coming in at 12,000 feet,” says Boemi. “To increase our ability to handle those trains, we need to invest in infrastructure and the objective remains that you want to maintain processes that are streamlined, and avoid congestion points in the port.” According to Boemi, this is now challenged by the fact that ships are getting larger, which in itself may result in less ships being handled at the port, additional port investments, and adding additional pressures of handling increased cargo in shorter periods of time. “Arguably, it goes against the basic principles of supply chain logistics,” notes Boemi.
From a port perspective, he says markets surrounding ports are fairly captive, and the real battleground to increase market share is in the inland markets including hubs. “It’s fierce, and the levels of service received by the railways will be the differentiator as to how much additional market share you can gain. For the Port of Montreal, we are fortunate that customers have the choice of both Canadian class 1 railways, a clear advantage,” says Boemi.
The ability to adapt to an evolving transportation system is at the heart of success for hubs. For the GTH, Boemi believes the ability to develop greenfield land with extra-wide roads designed for long-combination vehicles will be a significant competitive advantage as trucks grow in length and hauling capacity. “Add the capabilities of the CP Intermodal facility and the GTH has the right infrastructure in place for future growth,” he says.
Opening doors to tradeThe 80,000 square-foot warehouse that will anchor Brightenview Developments International Inc.’s trade complex is becoming a significant physical presence at the Global Transportation Hub. More importantly, it is becoming another contributor to Saskatchewan’s global presence and the continuing growth of the province.
The $45 million Global Trade and Exhibition Centre (GTEC) project will be home to Chinese wholesalers looking to market their products to North American retailers. Much like Saskatchewan provided an avenue to opportunities for immigrants a century ago, GTEC will open doors for businesses and people to fuel the ongoing economic growth and diversity of the province.
According to the most recent census, Regina is the fourth fastest-growing city in Canada – growth that is driven, in part, by the arrival of newcomers. “People have heard about Regina and they have heard about the opportunities and want to be a part of that,” stated Regina Mayor Michael Fougere recently. “We’re a culturally diverse city offering infinite opportunities for residents and visitors.”
That welcoming business environment was a key attraction for Brightenview. Their business model will see GTEC tenants occupy condo-like spaces to showcase their products. According to Brightenview CEO Joe Zhou, his team and servicing partners work with the perspective investors to ensure business plans are a fit and regulatory requirements are understood and met.
“We pride ourselves on helping international investors establish in an unfamiliar market where language and business traditions can sometimes be a barrier,” he says. “Our service includes facilitating visits to Saskatchewan by those entrepreneurs who spend a minimum of five business days meeting with relevant business contacts and ensuring GTEC is a fit for their business model.”
Zhou is encouraged by the support for GTEC as all 120 units in their warehouse have been sold. The first group of tenants are anticipated this spring and will be distributors of electronics, home building materials, and general consumer goods. According to Zhou, GTEC will also house and assist North American enterprises who want to export to Asia.
For the GTH, the relationship with Brightenview aligns with the mandate of encouraging social and economic development in Saskatchewan. GTEC represents a new way to create opportunities to increase trade and to attract new small and medium-sized companies to Saskatchewan.
“This project is about growth,” says Bryan Richards, President and CEO of the GTH. “Brightenview could have picked anywhere in North America. They picked Saskatchewan because it is home to people who came together from around the world to build the province and build a life. The same philosophy that attracted pioneers a century ago holds true today.”
Growing organics recycling in the heart of the Canadian prairiesOne of the GTH’s first original clients, Emterra Environmental is now offering an innovative green recycling option to Regina residents. Through a new subscription service, Emterra is offering organic waste collection services to homeowners and businesses. Organic recovery has a significant and positive environmental impact: it saves landfill space, reduces methane and greenhouses gases produced at the landfill, and turns the material into valuable rich compost.
“For the first time we are able to offer organics collection for homeowners and businesses throughout the year,” says Tim Teeple, General Manager for Emterra Environmental in Saskatchewan. “We have been able to expand the collection to a bi-weekly service throughout the winter and we will switch to a weekly service from April to November.”
The City of Regina does not offer an organics collection program for municipal customers and it is the choice of businesses if this is something they want to participate in. For Teeple, he sees how Regina has grown and believes this is something the community is ready for.
“I believe this is a service the ‘New Regina’ market is looking for and we are happy to help these individuals run more environmentally sustainable homes and businesses,” adds Teeple.
When it comes to Canadian cities, Regina is one that is on the move. A recent Statistics Canada report states that Regina’s growth rate is more than double the national average. The city’s expanding population of over 235,000 brings with them diverse requirements and expectations. “Regina is no longer that city along the highway fueled by the agriculture industry,” adds Teeple. “We are a modern city and Emterra is the frontrunner for responsible and sustainable waste resource recovery solutions.”
“Emterra is changing the landscape of waste collection, and providing the services and opportunities for everyone to be an environmental steward, to improve their carbon footprint and to support a local green economy. I think this is exactly what those who call Regina home are looking for.”
Lalli brings more “global” to GTH boardDirector sees opportunities in value-added agriculture
Dr. Sandip Lalli has spent much of her professional career exploring innovative paths to international trade. Now she is helping the GTH consider new opportunities for development, specifically in value-added agriculture.
“If you look at where we are and our access to resources, the GTH can be a connecting organization,” says Lalli, who joined the GTH Board of Directors in December 2016. “We can figure out ‘here are the commodities and here is the potential.’ We have the land, the logistics hub, some co-location possibilities, the railway, good access to labour and a stable government. This is where we can bring together partners who can create a win.”
Lalli speaks from experience, having spent more than decade with Cargill, a global leader in agriculture. She served in senior financial management and risk advisory positions in Canada, the United States and Singapore, gaining a clear view of the needs of trading partners in Asia, Europe, South America and the U.S.
With many countries seeking to improve their food supply while maintaining strict controls over food safety, Lalli believes the GTH can be an important link between Western Canada and the world. The GTH offers a unique greenfield opportunity to develop processing facilities connected to transportation – allowing for a closed-loop approach to the supply of food ingredients.
“Supply-chain security and transparency around farming practices are tremendously important,” says Lalli. “Once something is produced, is it secure? Can I have traceability on the product? Can I have enough inputs to sustain the supply chain? The GTH can provide a dedicated location with rail access right there and the ability to get to port.”
In addition to her international executive experience, Lalli brings insights into governance and earned her designation as a professional director through the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). She currently serves on the boards of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport.
GTH bids farewell to Captain HoustonThe GTH would like to recognize and thank Captain Gordon Houston for his many years of service on the GTH board of directors. One of the founding members of the original board, Captain Houston elected to retire with the end of this fiscal year.
An authority on port and supply chain logistics, Captain Houston is a former sea captain of more than 25 years’ seagoing experience, and upon “coming ashore” was instrumental in merging the Vancouver ports, and ended his career as the President and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver, the largest and busiest sea port in Canada.
“Gordon’s 40 years of experience in shipping and international trade will be much missed,” said GTH board chair Doug Moen, “but equally missed will be his professionalism on the board, and his advocacy on behalf of the GTH. I know he has taken a great deal of pride watching the hub grow from canola fields, to a thriving facility with multiple clients. We wish Gordon all the very best with this next chapter in his life.”