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FedEx to set up cargo hub at Windsor International

Oct. 7, 2013, Windsor, Ont. - Shipping giant FedEx will become the start-up anchor tenant of a new cargo hub at Windsor International Airport that will also see the University of Windsor become the leading partner of a new Institute for Border Logistics and Security.


October 7, 2013
By The Windsor Star

“We hope that this area becomes an established hub for companies
involved in creating new technologies that will advance the border
logistics and security arenas, and a renowned cluster the world over for
border logistics and security,” said Gary Goodyear, minister of state
for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

 

In a news conference at the airport Wednesday, Goodyear formally
announced $19.9 million in federal funding to get the initiative
started. FedDev will provide $12.6 million to the airport for a new
35,000-square-foot building to be leased to FedEx for its cargo handling
business, as well as for a 27,000-square-foot building for expected
future tenants.

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The funds going to YQG Inc., the city-owned corporation that operates
the airport, will also pay for construction of a 10,000-square-foot
facility to house researchers tasked with working with businesses to
provide “real-world” testing of new technologies in the logistics
sector.

The other $7.3 million will go to the university to establish an
institute meant to “foster the development of new ideas in logistics and
border security,” said Goodyear, adding it will create an “advanced
economic cluster” focused on tapping into some of the $400 million in
daily surface trade that flows across the Windsor-Detroit border.

 

“It will offer research and development and support services to
businesses in the field, and help them to prototype, test and eventually
introduce their ideas to the global market,” he said.

 

U of W president Alan Wildeman called it an “exceptional
announcement” that brings government, academia and business together to
“create a hub that is truly unique in Canada.” IBLS will provide new
educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for local talent with
ideas in logistics, he added.

Wildeman said the institute, expected to link up with HOLM, a cargo
transportation think-tank and collaboration of German academia, industry
and government, will be tied to a number of faculties and departments,
including engineering, business, social sciences, law and applied
science.

 

Asked for an example of the institute’s work, Wildeman said it could
be in the field of sensing technology, developing improved methods of
tracking goods. Goodyear said word will soon spread that Windsor-Essex
County is “the place where you come for these technologies,” which are
in high demand by those in the business of moving freight.

Peter McQuillan, vice-president finance with FedEx Express Canada,
said his company has one of the top-known business brands in the world
and that other companies and investors will take note of its decision to
be associated with Windsor’s new cargo hub initiative.

 

Initially, FedEx’s almost 50 Windsor employees will be making the
move to the airport by 2015 and the focus will be on ground
transportation.

 

McQuillan said the company is making a “significant investment” and has signed a 20-year lease with YQG.

 

Goodyear said the investment would create 105 “high-quality” jobs,
but a FedDev Ontario spokesperson later told The Star that FedEx’s
Windsor employees were included in the 51 cargo operation jobs that are
part of the minister’s figure.

 

“This is how you rebuild an economic base,” said Mayor Eddie Francis.
Creating “a new economic cluster in our city,” he said, was the
culmination of a five-year effort at finding new ways of creating jobs
after the devastating global recession that hit Windsor’s employment
base hard.

The mayor and others cautioned that there was still much work ahead
before Windsor’s cargo hub is fully established and churning out jobs as
hoped.

 

“There has to be some patience,” said Ward 8 Coun. Bill Marra, one of
a number of city councillors and other dignitaries at Wednesday’s
announcement. “It’s one of those transformative initiatives that present
new opportunities for growth.”

 

“These facilities will have the immediate potential to accommodate
trucking operations, but will have the capacity to grow to accommodate
other modes of transportation, such as airplane and rail service that
will be inter-linked through the multimodal cargo facility,” said
Goodyear. “Over time, this facility will realize its potential as a
multi-modal gateway to draw and process the international movement of
cargo.”