Premeditated merger

Canada preparing ports for NAFTA superhighway; Building ‘free trade gateway’ between Asia, North America


CANADA is developing Pacific ports to compete with the U.S. ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, as well as with the Mexican ports of Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas, in an attempt to draw a substantial market share of the millions of containers expected to flow into North America in the coming decades from China and the Far East.

To attract Chinese container traffic, the Canadian government has launched a major ports-rail-truck-airport transportation infrastructure designed to build its version of the emerging NAFTA Superhighway.

In October 2006, the Canadian minority government under the direction of Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper launched the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, or APGCI, as a key component of Canada’s national transportation policy.

The idea is to prepare deep-water Pacific Ocean ports on Canada’s West Coast to facilitate the import of millions of multi-modal containers from China as a “free trade gateway” between Asia and North America.

WND reported Mexico plans to extend the Trans-Texas Corridor south in what government officials in Mexico are calling a “Trans North America Corridor.”

According to Transport Canada, Canada’s equivalent to the U.S. Department of Transportation, rail and road connections through Prince Rupert and Vancouver in British Columbia will carry the Asian containers into Canada through Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta.

From there, the planned rail-truck-passenger superhighways will head toward Winnipeg, where cross-border connections south will direct the containers from China and the Far East onto the Interstate 35 corridor in the U.S., establishing a major link in the emerging continental NAFTA Superhighway.

The plan is clearly explained in Canada’s National Policy for Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors, a policy that includes development of the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor, as WND reported.

The National Policy for Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors specifies the Canadian federal government has committed $1 billion to develop transportation infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, identified as “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.”

Canada Asia-Pacific Gateway conceptual map (source: Canadian government)

Canada Transport states clearly a major purpose of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is to increase Canada’s share of North America-bound container imports from Asia.

“Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor offers world class marine, rail, road and air infrastructure closer to Asia than all its North American competitors,” the Transport Canada website announces.

In January, David Emerson, minister of international trade and minister for the Pacific Gateway, led a trade delegation of Canadian transportation and logistics senior executives on a mission to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

During the trip, Emerson and the Chinese minister of communications signed an updated agreement “to foster cooperation on intermodal transportation gateways to support international trade.”

Transport Canada articulates how the vision of a North American economy has driven the development of Canadian national transportation policy.

“The integrated North American economy provides the ‘platform’ for Canada’s successful global engagement,” a brochure on the Transport Canada website proclaims in the process of explaining Canada’s National Policy for Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors.

According to Transport Canada, between 1995 and 2005, Canada’s exports more than doubled, from $3.5 billion to $7.1 billion, in Canadian dollars.

Yet, imports from China dwarfed the numbers.

Between 1995 and 2005, Canada’s imports from China grew almost 550 percent, jumping from $3.6 billion to $29.6 billion, in Canadian dollars.

Transport Canada confidently announces “China’s recent dramatic growth (in imports to Canada) is expected to continue.”

“Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway is a burgeoning national strategy that is responding to the rise of Asian economies and the challenges and opportunities Asia now poses for Canada,” the official website of the Asia-Pacific Gateway states.

The province of British Columbia has devoted $12 billion for new transportation infrastructure and has established the Asia Pacific Trade Council to build marketing links with China and the Far East.

Canada’s Prince Rupert and Vancouver are both deep-water ports suited to accommodate the post-Panamax class of container Megaships China is building.

Source:, September 11, 2007, and TML Daily, October 3, 2007No. 155

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