Transportation

The Epicentre of International Logistics in North America

The Windsor-Essex region provides access to hundreds of millions of consumers in North American markets and is capable of shipping cargo anywhere around the world.

City of Windsor Transportation Map

Sector Profile

Windsor-Essex has long been recognized as a leader in both manufacturing and logistics and its location, at the heart of North America’s consumer population, provides it with a large advantage over competing jurisdictions. The nation’s busiest commercial border crossing handles one-third of all trade between Canada and the United States. Over $100 billion (Industry Canada) in goods cross the Windsor/Detroit border annually. 
 
With a port at the midway point of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System, an international airport capable of shipping cargo anywhere around the world as well as two international crossings, with a third on its way, Windsor-Essex is uniquely positioned to provide access to hundreds of millions of consumers.
 
Five surface border crossing points in Windsor-Detroit:
  • The Ambassador Bridge (which handles most the truck traffic)
  • The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel (which runs under the Detroit River)
  • The Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry (handling hazardous materials that are prohibited from crossing via the Bridge or Tunnel)
  • A Railway tunnel, and The Port of Windsor

New Border Crossing

A new border crossing, the Gordie Howe International Bridge and its approach roads and customs plaza, is being constructed with an investment of $4 billion.
 
The new bridge, with its greater efficiencies will make shipping goods into the U.S. that much closer to major North American markets. It also opens land-use opportunities for more logistics companies to locate adjacent to the new customs plaza as well as on Highway 401 just outside Windsor. With a direct highway to highway link, it is even more efficient now for shipping goods across the border in both directions.

Roads

Windsor-Essex is serviced by well-maintained expressway connectors, provincial highways and Canada's main street, the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway (Highway 401). All routes interconnect with the U.S. interstate system via the Ambassador Bridge or Detroit/Windsor Tunnel. The Rt. Honourable Herb Gray Parkway, will connect to the Gordie Howe International Bridge. Business and industrial parks are strategically located throughout the highway system.
 
The trucking industry in the region is well established, providing competitive rates and numerous alternatives for the cost-efficient movement of freight destined for local, national and international markets. "Just in Time" trucking originated in the Windsor-Essex-Detroit marketplace and remains the standard on which manufacturers rely today.
 
The region's infrastructure and access to the U.S. market is second to none with rapid commercial pre-clearance on the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel or with the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry service. Currently the Detroit-Windsor crossings are estimated to handle at least one-third of the total trade between Canada and the United States. Over $100 billion (Industry Canada) in goods cross the Windsor/Detroit border annually.
Number of Trucks Crossing Canada/USA Border Annually

Rail

Rail connections support local businesses and provide access for goods on their way to North American markets through a rail tunnel connecting Windsor-Essex and Michigan. Windsor-Essex is also at the western terminus of Highway 401 providing a direct link to interstate highways in the U.S.
 
The Essex Terminal Railway (ETR) tracks extends from Windsor, ON to Amherstburg, ON, serving lumber transfer yards, major agricultural and chemical plants, machinery, steel, grain, salt and scrap industry. A Great Lake marine terminal accommodates ocean vessels, and large automotive parts production center. Because of the connections to CN, CP, Norfolk Southern and CSXT, the customers of the ETR can access any point in the rail networks of Canada, the United States and Mexico.
 
Rail traffic to and from the U.S. is accommodated in a twin track tunnel that provides the fastest, most uncongested, easiest grade, lowest cost method of moving rail cars from Chicago to New York City via Niagara Falls.

Air

Windsor International Airport (YQG) has a runway length of 2,835-metre (9,300-foot) with no curfews and no congestion which makes it uniquely positioned to satisfy a wide range of air cargo needs. YQG can handle any size of aircraft, including Boeing 747s, the Airbus-380, the Russian Antonov 124 and 225 (the largest freight aircraft in the world). It also handles over 245,000 passengers per year, and provides daily commuter flights connecting through Toronto to major Canadian cities, the U.S. and Europe.
 
Seven kilometers (4 mi.) from the U.S. border, the airport is federally designated as a trans-shipment point, permitting Canadian and foreign air carriers to use the airport as a transit point for incoming and outbound international cargo and U.S. carriers do not need to pay for air rights.
The airport also boasts a new truck-to-truck cargo complex anchored by FedEx on its northern perimeter and with airport lands immediately adjacent to international CN and CP railways, the airport is ideally located for future truck-to-rail development with approximately 607 hectares (1,500 acres) of industrial land available for development.
 
Other major regional airports include Detroit City Airport, Detroit Metro Airport, Willow Run (which is dedicated to airfreight services) and Oakland County Regional all within a 45-minute driving radius of Windsor.

Marine

Windsor's Port

Windsor’s port is perfectly positioned as a gateway to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway making it an ideal shipping point for millions of tonnes of cargo including salt, sand, stone and construction aggregates, all destined for international or domestic markets.
Last year more than 5.6 million tonnes of cargo passed through the Port of Windsor exceeding both five and 10-year averages. Much of the growth came in the shipping of stone and aggregates for the construction of a 40-hectare (100-acre) customs and truck plaza which will serve the new Gordie Howe International Bridge. There is approximately 243 hectares (60 acres) of available land for development around the port.

Sector Highlights

  • Busiest commercial border crossing in North America handling 1/3 of all Canada-US trade 
  • New $1.4 billion Herb Gray Parkway leading to planned Gordie Howe International Bridge to be completed in 2020
  • Deepwater port accommodates any ship sailing the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway
  • Located at western terminus of Hwy 401, connecting to US Interstate system
  • International airport with ILS equipped 2,743-metre (9,000-foot) runway

Education and Research

University of Windsor
  • Offers Border Management and International Trade Certificate and Master’s program in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Cross-Border Institute (CBI) is dedicated to research, education and public outreach on cross-border movement of goods and services
  • Institute for Border Logistics and Security located at Windsor International Airport works with CBI to provide real-world testing
St. Clair College
  • Offers certificate program in Freight Forwarding and Logistics

Private Training Schools

  • Registered institutions offer truck driver training including full AZ Professional Truck Training Program

Industry Strengths

  • 23 Customs Brokerage firms operating in Windsor-Essex
  • 17 CBSA licensed Customs Sufferance Warehouses and several Customs Bonded Warehouses located in Windsor-Essex
  • Diverse warehouse capacity
  • Over 3,700 truck drivers reside in Windsor-Essex
  • Over 800 local manufacturers export goods
  • Over 4,300 employees in the region’s transportation, logistics and warehousing sector.

Access to Markets

  • Centre of the Great Lakes region, North America’s manufacturing heartland
  • Direct connections to U.S. interstate system
  • Direct rail connection via underwater rail tunnel to U.S. rail network
  • Goods travel unhindered across Canada/U.S. border