In 2017, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority commissioned CJI to carry out a study of Western Canadian Inland Terminals in the marine container supply chain. Significant inland terminals exist at Ashcroft, BC, Calgary, AB, Edmonton, AB, Regina, SK, and Winnipeg, MB. The objective of this study was to identify key success factors related to their growth and expansion; the relationship between inland terminals and marine port terminal services; and economic and logistics trends in the Western Canadian maritime trade supply chain as they relate to inland terminals.
CJI carried out an Inventory and economic assessment of the role of Inland Terminals in Canada’s container freight industry and arrived at three key insights:
- The Inbound leg of container supply chain (“head-haul”) is creating the Canadian supply chain structure. In response, market forces are generating value for Canadian exporters wherever access to empty containers results;
- Canada’s thin population is a challenge to the critical mass seen in other jurisdictions related to inland distribution network development. As a result, Canada’s inland terminals represent unique and entrepreneurial market developments, and make important contributions to the economy. Their wide replication appears unlikely at present; and
- Greater Marine throughput is supporting market segmentation and specialization, which in turn provides increased opportunity for entrepreneurial supply chain innovation which can give rise to expanded export opportunities.