Smart Freight Centre launch remarks by Nando Iannicca, Chair, Peel Regional Council

speaker Nando Iannicca at podium
Nando Iannicca, Regional Chair, Region of Peel, speaks at Smart Freight Centre launch, April 18, 2019

April 18, 2019, Launch of Smart Freight Centre, Brampton, ON

Good morning everyone and welcome to the official launch event for the Smart Freight Centre.  I am pleased to see everyone here today to take part in the celebration of this important milestone.

For those of you who may not know me, my name is Nando Iannicca and I am the Chair of the Peel Regional Council.

I would like to acknowledge the Mayors of the three local municipalities of Peel Region that are here with us today: Mayor Patrick Brown from the City of Brampton, Mayor Allan Thompson from the Town of Caledon, and Mayor Bonnie Crombie from the City of Mississauga. I also would like to acknowledge my councillor colleagues and the members of the Peel Goods Movement Task Force.

On behalf of the Region on Peel, I am honoured to be part of this collaborative network. The Smart Freight Centre has been established between the Region of Peel and three prestigious Ontario Institutions:  McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and York University, as a centre of excellence for the movement of goods.

The primary goal for the Smart Freight Centre will be to improve the efficiency of goods movement and the quality of life of the residents within the Region of Peel and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area:

  • As you already know, Peel is a significant freight hub for Canada, with an estimated total of $1.8 billion worth of commodities travelling to, from, and through the Region every day.
  • The major highways passing through our region carry the highest truck volumes in North America.
  • Our Region also is home to Canada’s busiest airport in terms of freight and our nation’s largest intermodal terminal.
  • There are over 2000 trucking companies in Peel, some large corporations and some small businesses, each of which contributes to the economic wellbeing of the Region.
  • Four out of every nine jobs in Peel are within goods movement-related industries, which create around $29 billion in annual income and contribute 48% of all industrial and commercial taxes within the Region.
  • Overall, goods movement contributes $49 billion to the Peel Region GDP, which accounts for 21.1% of Ontario’s GDP and 9.7% of the national GDP.

As a key contributor, we recognize the importance of improving the goods movement in Peel in order to maintain the network’s efficiencies and safety to deliver goods and services, while supporting the quality of life within our communities. Goods Movement was identified as a Council priority last term which has led to the Smart Freight Centre initiative.

With a healthy economy also comes challenges that affect not only industry but the public as a whole. Traffic congestion that we experience on our roadways every day is one of these adverse side effects that the Smart Freight Centre will address.

Freight vehicles are increasingly contributing to this congestion, not only challenging the delivery of goods and services, but also increasing travel times for all road users and negatively impacting our environment. The Smart Freight Centre will study and propose strategies and solutions to help alleviate congestion and improve the transportation network in Peel which will in-turn improve the quality of life and continued economic vibrancy within the GTHA.

This is just one example of freight movement in Peel.

Goods movement is a concern shared across the GTHA and the issues cannot be addressed without collaborating with other agencies.  Freight rarely starts and ends its journey in one city, so it is important to have many stakeholders involved in the Smart Freight Centre. We must also work with industry to ensure that the projects address real-world, relevant problems. The Smart Freight Centre has been established to propose practical solutions and strategies to address these shared concerns. It is my hope that we can all work together to ensure that our goods movement industry is sustainable, safe, competitive, and innovative.

Thank you everyone.