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Canadian airports receive $77M for cargo projects

Government shares cost to improve supply chain efficiency in Toronto and at Canadian North airline

New Canadian Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez recently announced the government will provide $8 million toward construction of a larger cargo facility for Canadian North at the Ottawa airport. (Photo: Canadian North)

Transport Canada is funding $77 million worth of new cargo infrastructure at airports in Toronto and Ottawa.

The money comes from the National Trade Corridors Fund, a competitive, merit-based program designed to develop transportation infrastructure that supports domestic and international trade. 

The agency in July announced it will provide $69 million to Toronto Pearson International Airport to build a cargo terminal on the south side and a parking apron for freighters on the northern end.

FreightWaves first reported in November that the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, which will contribute $69 million of its own, planned to turn an underutilized office building into an airside cargo complex that would create up to 150 permanent jobs and support the local economy.

Toronto airport is a key gateway for global and domestic cargo operators. Air cargo throughput increased 16.3% in 2022 to 530,000 tons. Toronto’s best year for cargo was 2018, when 614,000 tons of goods moved through the airport, according to its annual report.

The airport authority has said it expects e-commerce growth to continue and that it is planning to have the right facilities in place to meet that demand. The 20-year master plan published in 2017 concludes the airport could handle one million tons of cargo by 2037 without expanding current facilities if productivity improvements are implemented, especially movement of shipments from passenger aircraft to non-adjacent handling facilities. 

Ottawa airport

Meanwhile, Canadian North, which delivers cargo to Arctic regions in Canada with a fleet of passenger and freighter aircraft, announced this month that Transport Canada will split the $16.3 million cost to double the size of its cargo terminal at Ottawa International Airport.

Construction is set to begin soon with the facility slated to be fully operational by 2026.

Canadian North is owned by the Inuit tribe and operates a Boeing 737-400 converted freighter, two ATR72-500 and two ATR42-300 turboprop freighters, as well as three 737 combination aircraft with the ability to change the passenger and cargo configuration on the main deck depending on the trip requirements.

The company said the expansion is necessary to meet growing shipping needs for online shopping and essential goods in northern communities.

The new facility will consolidate various sites, include a larger truck loading area to reduce wait times, add energy-efficient refrigeration and freezer rooms, and use the latest tracking tools to ensure critical items like food and medication get delivered on time, according to the government and Canadian North.

Pablo Rodriguez, Canada’s new minister of transport, visited Canadian North in one of his first official duties to announce the $8.2 million grant.

“With this new warehouse, Canadian North will continue its work to facilitate the movement of goods across the country, especially to the North. By handling more cargo and connecting different modes of transportation more seamlessly, we’re boosting our economy and making sure our transportation infrastructure can tackle any challenges that come our way,” he said.

Click here for more FreightWaves stories by Eric Kulisch.

Contact reporter: [email protected] 


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In December 2022, he was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]