Canada is 9.985 million km² producing a wealth of farm commodities and natural resources. This has been a week dominated by the discussion on the movement of oil, but what about other commodities that cannot flow through a pipe? Wheat, canola, pulses, and soybeans require rail to get from the Prairies to port to be loaded on a ship.
When we talk about infrastructure, it is not all about the role of the railways but the entire transport system.
One of the government solutions to the infrastructure bottlenecks is the National Trade Corridor Fund, which will provide funding of $2 billion over 11 years. Find out more.
Last week Shaun Haney spoke with Transport Minister, Marc Garneau about rural transportation infrastructure investment, and how the Trudeau government plans to tackle this immense challenge to keep Canada competitive globally.
RA: What is the next focus for the transportation department now that C-49 is behind you?
MG: “We are massively modernizing transportation in the country,” Garneau says referring to recent funding announcements. Garneau says the government is focused on “national trade corridors,” addressing logistic bottlenecks whether they be by rail or truck. “Unless we move our goods, and we have very good quality goods, to our destinations…unless we do it efficiently and reliably, (our customers) will go somewhere else. It is a very important priority for me…not easy when you have the second largest country on earth.”
RA: How do you balance urban versus rural transportation infrastructure requirements?
MG: “This national trade corridors fund is not just an urban thing,” as it includes addressing rural portions of the transportation chain. If you are going to move goods, it’s not just about the railway and getting to port, it’s the whole transportation system.” From the farm to the elevator, to the terminal to the ship, and we need to look at every part of that to make sure we do things efficiently, he says.