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New Smart Freight Centre launches in Peel Region


BRAMPTON, Ont. — It’s been estimated that approximately $1.8 billion worth of goods move through the region of Peel every day by trucks alone.

So, it’s no wonder that a new Smart Freight Centre has been created in order to improve this goods movement, as well as support environmental sustainability in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

The region of Peel has joined forces with McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and York University to create the center that will address goods movements issues and regional projects head on.

According to the center’s website, goods movement extends beyond the boundaries of the GTHA. Those behind the center believe that the Peel region requires a safe and efficient network in order to move goods and deliver services to communities and businesses. The region of Peel will be investing $240,000 annually for the next five years to establish the
center. McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and York University will also match these funds with in-kind contributions.

The Smart Freight Centre’s goal is to break down silos in addressing shared concerns, and to propose practical solutions and strategies aimed at improving quality of life and promoting ongoing economic vibrancy across the region.

“The mandate of the Smart Freight Centre aligns completely with the work of UofT’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,” Dr. Eric Miller, director, Transportation Research Institute, University of Toronto said. “These projects are about much more than research papers and academic journals – they’re about solving real, on-the-ground problems.”

The center’s launch in mid-April attracted government dignitaries from all levels, including a keynote address from Kamal Kherea, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Development. Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation also sent congratulatory remarks in honor of the launch.

“The Smart Freight Centre is a prime example of what is possible through collaboration between government and industry,” Kherea said. “This project will benefit the local economy through more efficient delivery of goods and 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.”

The top goods movement concerns in the area include: customers’ growing expectations of shorter delivery times and the growth of e-commerce; increasing concern about the effects of congestion; decreasing labor 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.

“Our communities depend on reliable transportation and transit systems to keep people and goods moving,” Yurek said. “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.”

According to the center’s leaders, the first project to be completed this year includes an off-peak delivery pilot study, truck-friendly lane measures and strategies, and an e-commerce strategy to look into the impact of online shopping on logistics.

The off-peak delivery pilot study began this February with big-name partners like Loblaw, Walmart, and PepsiCo. The goal is to identify what infrastructure could use some extra focus, and where freight is moving.

“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,” Nando Iannicca, chairman of the region of Peel said. “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.”

The center is still seeking government and industry partners’ financial contributions in establishing the project. To learn more, visit:
www.smartfreightcentre.ca


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