New MOU between Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) and Calgary Economic Development (CED) to strengthen emerging Calgary Region Inland Port

by • December 20, 2017 • Partnership/Plan, Team

Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) and Calgary Economic Development (CED) announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the alignment of activities to strengthen the emerging Calgary Region Inland Port. The announcement was made at the recent 2017 Canada Inland Ports conference.

The Calgary Regional Inland Port MOU is a collaborative initiative to market and strengthen the Calgary Region as a supply chain and distribution hub and foreign trade zone.

Colleen Shepherd, Executive Director, Calgary Regional Partnership announces the signing of the MOU in this video clip taken from the conference.

Calgary Region Inland Port boosts economy

“With long-term changes occurring in the oil and gas sector – the Calgary Region is looking to the supply chain sector as a driving force for economic diversification,” said Shepherd.

“Calgary Region is already a thriving distribution hub, and industry has been building a solid network of linked supply chain capacity in our region for many years. Calgary has its roots as a railway town since the selection of the national rail corridor route through the Rocky Mountains to reach tidewater at the Port of Vancouver,” she said.

“In 2017, the Calgary Region is hitting a critical mass – we have grown to become the second largest distribution hub in Western Canada. We’re seeing rapid growth in state-of-the-art warehousing and distribution centres for companies such as Costco and Home Depot and major expansions in logistics parks,” said Shepherd.

Calgary distribution centre

“These developments are happening in multiple municipalities in the Calgary Region and not in one defined location or Logistics Park.

Regional view of the Calgary Region Inland Port

“It is critical that we take the macro view of what the opportunities are for the Calgary Region, particularly when it comes to transportation and logistics. It is important that we work together where the infrastructure requires the connection between the Region and the Calgary,” said Mary Moran, President and CEO, Calgary Economic Development.

“It is critical we have a good working relationship and that is why I am glad we signed an MOU,” she added.

Promoting the Calgary Region

Calgary Regional Inland Port MOU is a focused initiative to market, promote and strengthen the Calgary Region as a competitive supply chain distribution hub and foreign trade zone.

Co-lead by the Calgary Regional Partnership and Calgary Economic Development, the Calgary Regional Inland Port initiative integrates the interests of municipalities and other orders of government, the Calgary Logistics Council, Calgary Airport Authority and supply chain businesses in the transportation and logistics sector.

The MOU establishes the terms for collaboration between CED and CRP. Under this collaboration, CRP and CED will work together to provide a more defined, understood, integrated and energized approach to strengthening the Calgary Region Inland Port using existing mandates and resources.

Under the MOU, CRP and CED will work together to:

  • Develop a formalized Calgary Region Inland Port concept, marketing strategy and associated action plans for 2017 and 2018.
  • Create marketing collateral and platforms that can be shared and promoted by the supply chain industry and other regional stakeholders.
  • Promote the Calgary Region Inland Port through CED and CRP marketing and communications initiatives, nationally and internationally.
  • Work with industry and government stakeholders to identify, and where appropriate, jointly pursue export-focused opportunities through all relevant sea ports, including the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert Port Authority, other trade corridors, and across all modes of transportation.
  • Begin developing a picture of the logistics-related industrial land supply across the Calgary Region to support an informed discussion of land and transportation needs, opportunities and priorities for planning, development, goods movement and transportation priorities.
  • Engage industry stakeholders, as required, in the identification and resolution of issues, and advancement of opportunities, that will impact the competitiveness of the Calgary Region Inland Port.
Shepherd and Moran meet at Canada Inland Ports Conference

Colleen Shepherd, Executive Director Calgary Regional Partnership Mary Moran, President and CEO, Calgary Economic Development and meet with Western Canada Inland Ports representatives at the 2017 Canada Inland Ports Conference.

Taking a “collaborate to compete” approach

“We really don’t have a global positioning and presence in the marketplace. The MOU developed by CED and CRP will allow us to develop, structure and promote the Calgary Region Inland Port in a highly competitive space,” said Shepherd.

“CED has an investment attraction specialty on a global level, and CRP has a window into developing the Calgary Region as a whole including regional infrastructure, land planning and data,” she said.

The role of CED and CRP are complimentary rather than competitive.

“We both have these important pieces and when we bring them together, it allows us to leverage a big picture story of the Calgary Region Inland Port that has been missing.”

Calgary Region is the fastest growing in Canada

The Calgary Region is the fastest growing metropolitan region in Canada and the fourth largest in spite of the economic downturn with the drop in oil and gas prices. “A lot of our peripheral municipalities like Cochrane, Airdrie, Okotoks and Chestermere are growing rapidly and are some of the fastest growing communities in Canada. Together we make a rapidly growing region,” said Shepherd.

“Municipalities in the Calgary Region, including the City of Calgary, have been working together for a number of years to manage that growth to ensure infrastructure and services are in place and to foster economic growth and new opportunities so we can continue to prosper together.”

The Inland Port thriving in economic downturn

“Calgary Region is a major national gateway for Alberta exports and imports, by rail, truck and air, with world-class infrastructure and it continues to see growth even in the economic downturn,” said Moran.

State-of-the-art transportation infrastructure

The following summarizes highlights of the Calgary Region given from Moran:

  • The Calgary Region is home to two major intermodal operations: CN and CP Rail. Together these hubs have direct access to Vancouver and Prince Rupert seaports and also to eastern Canada and the U.S.
  • CP is headquartered in Calgary as well as a state-of-the-art facility on a 40-hectare (100-acre) site in Dufferin Industrial Park.
  • In 2013, CN opened its $200 million Calgary Logistics Park just outside the city limits with 275 hectares (680 acres) for future development.
  • Calgary International Airport is a connecting hub for cargo services between North America, Asia and Europe.
  • It is one of only two airports in Canada that offer direct cargo service to both Europe and Asia on a regular weekly basis.
  • Recently the Calgary Airport Authority has undertaken an over $2 billion expansion program – the largest and most ambitious expansion in its history.

“Calgary now provides a single hub location that specializes in receiving, transferring, storing, and distributing cargo around the world via air,” said Moran.

Economic opportunity with new trade corridor

A mutual opportunity was identified for Southern Alberta agricultural producers to backhaul shipping containers with agricultural products and other commodities and goods in demand in Asia-Pacific markets.

“In 2016, we learned there were in excess of 10,000 empty containers shipped back to the Asia-Pacific region by one steamship line alone – many of those containers coming from southern Alberta. We also heard from agricultural producers looking for ways to move their product to the Asia-Pacific region,” said Shepherd.

Alberta’s most important export region outside of North America is Asia Pacific, which received 59 percent of Alberta’s non-U.S. exports in 2015.

The way some of these empty containers could be used to support exports from the Southern Alberta producers is to fill them with agricultural products and other commodities and goods in demand in Asia Pacific markets.

Calgary Region municipalities working together

Shepherd shared how municipalities in the Calgary Region have been working together for a number of years to manage growth in a more sustainable way. “We want to ensure that our quality of life remains high for future generations,” said Shepherd.

“We also want to make sure that we have a solid foundation of infrastructure and services in place to foster emerging economic opportunities, so our region continues to prosper. Collaboratively, we are building our short and long-term future.”

According to Shepherd, “The need to coordinate land use, transportation facilities and investment, and goods movement flows across the economic and municipal landscape is essential in a highly competitive global supply chain. The importance and contribution of a unified marketing approach for the Calgary Region Inland Port is essential.”

Stronger together

“Whether a well-established Gateway port like the Port of Vancouver or an emerging Inland Port like the Calgary Region – we are all stronger working together when competing in the global arena,” said Shepherd.

“We have made a quantum leap in the past 24 to 30 months, and we have to continue to build on that work together because the City of Calgary cannot do it on its own; it needs the Region,” said Moran.

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