As Canada’s southernmost region, Windsor-Essex is ideally situated to expand its existing role as a major player in North America’s logistics and transportation networks. The geography of the continent has positioned the Windsor-Essex region right next door to the United States, and south of approximately 50 million Americans. From this position, a one day drive from half of the continent’s population, Windsor-Essex has developed a pool of cross border transport and logistics experts. To take advantage of this location, Windsor-Essex along with its partners, have undertaken a number of initiatives to develop and enhance sea, road, rail and air transportation infrastructure in order to leverage existing logistics and transport capabilities and unlock its future potential.
Port of Windsor is strategically located at the approximate mid-point of the Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence Seaway System, and ranks as one of the ten largest Canadian Port Authorities. In fact, the Port is the nexus of the Great Lakes as any vessel in transit between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, Lake Michigan or Lake Superior must pass through the Port.
In addition, Windsor has the lowest port fees of any Port Authority, in many cases charging less than half the fees charged at other Great Lakes ports. Windsor has the capacity to handle any cargoes transiting the Seaway system and the port’s terminals are directly linked to all the other transportation modes serving the area. This provides efficient and economical multi-modal capacity throughout Canada and United States, and makes Port of Windsor the ideal choice for marine shipping into the heart of the North American continent.
In terms of highway connections, Windsor Essex is situated at the southern terminus of the 401 Highway corridor, which connects eastern Canada to the American heartland. Currently, the 401 connects to the United States Interstate Highway system via the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry which are North America’s busiest border crossings.
In order to ease traffic to the border crossing, the $1.4 billion Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway is currently under construction and will connect to the future Gordie Howe International Bridge. The Gordie Howe International Bridge will be a new bridge crossing that will span the Detroit River situated 2 kilometres west of the existing Ambassador Bridge. Supported by all levels of government and costing approximately $4 billion, along with the Parkway, the new parkway and bridge will help eliminate traffic congestion at the existing crossings, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced costs due to delays.
Much like the highway network, Windsor-Essex is also situated at the southern terminus of Canada’s rail network. This network not only supports local manufacturing, renewable energy and agricultural businesses, but the region is also a vital transit point for goods on route to the broader North American markets. With regular freight service from Canadian National, Canadian Pacific Railway and Essex Terminal Railway, Windsor-Essex connects the Canadian freight lines to the United States and Mexico through a rail tunnel under the Detroit River which is a significant piece of critical infrastructure with in the Port
Windsor Airport (YQG), an International airport, offers numerous daily flights to Pearson International Airport in Toronto, which connect to locations around the world. There are also daily flights to Toronto Island Airport and seasonal flights to Calgary. The airport features a 9,000 foot runway, which is capable of handling aircraft of any size. Based on the airport’s potential and capacity, the City of Windsor successfully attracted FedEx to anchor a recently approved $20 million cargo hub. With approximately 1,000 acres still available to be developed, the airport provides an excellent opportunity for businesses coming to the region.
The region is positioned to enhance its current standing within North American logistics and transportation networks. By undertaking these vital infrastructural improvements, the region’s true potential will be unlocked which, when partnered with other business-friendly programs and incentives all come together to make it a most attractive place to invest and do business.