New Smart Freight Centre aims to improve goods movement, support sustainable growth across GTHA

BRAMPTON, ON. (Apr. 18, 2019) – Government dignitaries from all levels gathered today at the launch event of the Smart Freight Centre, a centre of excellence for goods movement.

The Smart Freight Centre has been established as a five-year collaborative network with the Region of Peel, McMaster University, University of Toronto, and York University. It will work on regionally significant goods movement issues and projects in Peel Region and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to reduce community and environmental impacts of moving goods.

The event featured a keynote address from MP Kamal Khera, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, as well as remarks from Nando Iannicca, Chair of the Region of Peel; Dr. Leonard Waverman, Dean of the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University; Dr. Eric J. Miller, Director, University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute; and Dr. Rhonda Lenton, President of York University. The Honorable Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation also sent congratulatory remarks in honour of the launch.

Goods movement extends beyond municipal boundaries in the GTHA — the region requires a safe and efficient network in order to move goods and deliver services to communities and businesses. The Smart Freight Centre’s goal is to break down silos in addressing shared concerns, including those listed below, and to propose practical solutions and strategies aimed at improving quality of life and promoting ongoing economic vibrancy across the GTHA:

• Customers’ growing expectations of shorter delivery times and the growth of e-commerce programs
• Increasing concern of the effects of congestion
• Decreasing labour force availability and growing industry expectations
• Emissions from the transportation sector
• Automation, technological changes and robotics, and
• Strategies to address population and employment growth pressures.

The Region of Peel is investing seed funding of $240,000 annually for the first five years of the start-up phase to establish the Smart Freight Centre. McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and York University will match these funds with cash and in-kind contributions and will create three physical locations to conduct research, with one at each partner University.

Some of the projects to be conducted during the first year include an Off-Peak Delivery Pilot Study, Truck-Friendly Lane Measures and Strategies and an E-Commerce Strategy to investigate the impact of online shopping on logistics operations.

The Centre is seeking government and industry partners’ financial contributions in establishing the Centre.

“The Smart Freight Centre is a prime example of what is possible through collaboration between government and industry. This project will benefit the local economy through more efficient delivery of goods & services, as well as provide new growth opportunities for local industries. Our Government is proud to support this environment of growth by laying down the foundation to build a nation of innovators.” – M.P. Kamal Khera, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of International Trade

“Our communities depend on reliable transportation and transit systems to keep people and goods moving. Our government is committed to ensuring our transportation networks and policies are improving and better serving the needs of the people as our economy grows. When I see all the expertise, knowledge and experience that the Smart Freight Centre and its partners bring, I am confident that we can find solutions to any issues facing the movement of goods in the Peel Region and GTHA.” – Hon. Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation

“As a key contributor to the GTHA’s vibrant economy, we recognize the importance of improving the movement of goods in order to maintain the transportation network’s efficiencies and safety, while supporting the quality of life within our communities. The Smart Freight Centre has been established to make recommendations through evidence-based research to address shared concerns. I am confident that together, we can work to ensure that our goods movement industry is sustainable, safe, competitive, and innovative.” – Nando Iannicca, Chair of the Region of Peel

“Traditional business models continue to be disrupted, and at the DeGroote School of Business, we see disruption as an opportunity to better prepare our students for the future of work. As we examine the future of business education, we will continue to seek out opportunities that improve the overall health and prosperity of Canadians. The Smart Freight Centre represents one such opportunity. We are pleased to support the work of Dr. Elkafi Hassini in collaboration with our partners at the University of Toronto, York University, and Peel Region toward safer and more efficient goods movement across our communities.” – Leonard Waverman, Dean of the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University

“The mandate of the Smart Freight Centre aligns completely with the work of U of T’s Transportation Research Institute, bringing together the expertise of transportation researchers from a broad range of diverse disciplines with our partners in industry and government to ready us for the opportunities and challenges of 21st century mobility. These projects are about much more than research papers and academic journals — they’re about solving real, on-the-ground problems.” – Dr. Eric Miller, Director, Transportation Research Institute, University of Toronto

“The Smart Freight Centre demonstrates the innovative solutions generated when universities partner with government and industry to facilitate multisector collaboration. Through the leadership of innovative researchers like Professor Peter Park, York University and our Lassonde School of Engineering are proud to support efforts to build and improve transportation networks that will facilitate better access to goods and services for the communities we serve.” – Dr. Rhonda Lenton, President and Vice Chancellor, York University