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Cathay Pacific Cargo airplane undergoing maintenance


Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced the creation of two ‘single-window’ Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Points in the province of Alberta, to strengthen the region’s international trade capacity.


The Minister’s announcement means that Calgary and its region will use the term Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) with all the municipalities that participate in making Calgary Western Canada's leading transportation hub and logistics centre.


At the same time, concurrently a designation has been utilized for Edmonton our partner Alberta hub, utilizing YEG Edmonton International Airport and the manufacturing and distribution point closest to Fort McMurray. However Calgary’s Foreign Trade Zone (CALGARY FTZ) will have special meaning because Calgary International Airport YYC Calgary International is Canada's third largest airport by volume of goods and people.


What constitutes a national hub and distribution ?centre for Canada west and what it makes it the underpinning of an inland port operation? Three key components in the CALGARY FTZ recognized in the designation process: firstly YYC with infrastructure at Calgary International airport that provides superior connectivity for both above and below deck air freight. For example, dedicated cargo service is provided to European and Asian destinations via Cargolux and Cathay Air Cargo carriers. Below deck cargo service is provided on all major airlines serving the Calgary market including Tokyo, London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt on a direct non-stop basis. Air Canada will soon add below deck capacity with its new Dubai nonstop service via Toronto. CargoJet expansion at YYC means an even greater number of dedicated wide body cargo flights in and out of Calgary both nationally and with a Central American and Caribbean destination.


However, airport YYC cargo capacity is but one leg to the platform that serves the hub and distribution centre? that distinguishes CALGARY FTZ. The other two are Canada's main rail intermodal systems from their gigantic rail yards in the Calgary market. Firstly, Canadian Pacific at Dufferin intermodal yard in the City's industrial SE provides the main line connection to the Pacific gateway port at Metroport Vancouver. Secondly, from Prince Rupert to the North on BC's coast, CN Rail connects through to their Calgary Logistics Centre in Conrich, Rocky View County. Intermodal yards, acres of stacked containers and literally billions of dollars in goods loaded into containers leave and enter Calgary on a routine basis. Add the volumes of automobiles unloaded in Calgary from both railways and the loading and distribution of commodities such as minerals, grain, fuel and chemicals, you then begin to feel the underlying activity level for the CALGARY FTZ.


Will the FTZ designation add volumes of additional freight and cargo containers to Calgary's inland port operations, probably not? The underlying ?legislation is decades old and involves sufferance and in-bond facilities at all major Canadian hubs. The duty deferral afforded to these users amounts to a declining but real benefit as free trade agreements predominate Canada's various trading partner relationships. However, the designation and actual increased awareness will give both Calgary and Edmonton significant marketing advantages and awareness strategies internationally.


CALGARY FTZ branding for the Transportation and Logistics sector ?will help identify promotional strategies and accelerate attraction of foreign direct investment. Most major US retailers are here already and a growing force in the market. However, a second tier of international companies will see Calgary now as an attractive inland port city with a region filled with municipalities that brand all related activity in transportation: trucking, rail and air cargo as part of the new CALGARY FTZ. It's about synergies, infrastructure and commitment to a multi-modal total goods movement hub.


You can add the Foreign Trade Zone designation, as of June 2nd, to the long list of Calgary's many economic advantages. And now, with a single point of information to be created to make communications with industrial users that much easier and more cost effective.


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