Thank you very much for having me, and good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.
It is my pleasure to be invited today to discuss the power of targeted infrastructure investments to build sustainable, resilient supply chains and deliver prosperity.
The Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority or HOPA Ports, as we know ourselves now, is the largest integrated port network on the Great Lakes, with port and marine facilities in Hamilton, Oshawa and now Niagara. Our goals are to facilitate international trade, improve transportation efficiency in Ontario, reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and serve the Ontario industries that rely on the multimodal transportation network that we provide.
In Ontario, we don't necessarily think of ourselves as a marine province, but we have 10,000 kilometres of Great Lakes shoreline and access to a marine highway in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence that connects the North American industrial heartland to any market around the world.
Our maritime character has an advantage of geography that perhaps we have come to take for granted, but in doing so we could miss out on its benefits, especially the economic prosperity that it can deliver.
At HOPA Ports we have been working to leverage a valuable combination of strategic location, transportation infrastructure and industrial land in Hamilton's and Oshawa's working waterfronts, successfully attracting more than $350 million in investment in the past decade, supporting 2,100 jobs on site, and handling goods worth $3 billion connected to 38,000 jobs in the province of Ontario. Throughout southern Ontario, by beginning to see these assets as part of an integrated network we can start to explore innovative ideas that serve our growing region.
We should be thinking of how to use marine highways to reduce congestion on our clogged highways, by consolidating truck traffic onto short-sea shipping alternatives or by staging construction materials for urban waterfront development projects elsewhere in the region and delivering these materials by barge on a just-in-time basis.
We need to ensure that we are continuing to foster a positive environment for manufacturing, food processing and construction materials—sectors that are among the most valuable economic engines for our region.
As we have seen in Hamilton and Oshawa, there is enormous demand for transportation-intensive industrial land for these types of businesses, and we're currently working to activate more valuable industrial land along the Welland Canal, specifically in Thorold, Welland and Port Colborne, to allow for the attraction of new industry and jobs in the region.
It is part of our mandate and responsibility, as Ontario's largest port authority, to facilitate trade in our region. We believe the best way to accomplish this is to begin to take a more regional perspective and to tap into Ontario's rich marine heritage to help deliver a prosperous future. One way to move forward on our mandate is to ensure responsible investment in infrastructure that has the greatest return for the Canadian economy.
We were immensely pleased to see the recent federal budget renew the national trade corridors fund, a highly successful and well-administered program. The NTCF has been a vehicle for delivering targeted economic stimulus through infrastructure. Now more than ever, the NTCF can be used to support cost-effective, energy-efficient supply chains that play a critical role in Canada's economic recovery.
In 2018, the predecessor Hamilton Port Authority received an investment of $17.7 million through the NTCF program. We matched that fund and more, and put in a total of $45 million. Since that time, that fund has actually been able to attract a further $50 million in third-party investment onto our property.
In looking ahead to the design and objectives of this round of the NTCF program, we would highlight the integrated nature of trade within the Great Lakes region.
We would encourage the renewed program to consider that the functions of the Great Lakes region are different from those of the coastal trade gateways. Canada-U.S. bilateral trade throughout the Great Lakes is valued at more than $6 trillion annually. Especially in southern Ontario, Canada's manufacturing heartland, imports of raw materials are essential for the downstream competitiveness of Canadian industries.
The GTHA is the fastest-growing region in North America, with a population due to surpass eight million. Meanwhile, the region suffers from some of North America's worst road congestion, costing an estimated $6 billion per year. We would encourage the NTCF program to emphasize increasing Canada-U.S. trade, including imports tied to domestic industrial supply chains such as those for manufacturing and construction, which will be central to economic recovery and employment.
There is a unique opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases and congestion resulting from truck transportation, through the development of short-sea shipping opportunities. Better use of the marine mode would reduce trucks on the provinces's highways, decrease road congestion, cut capital requirements for expanded roadways and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Shipping goods by water is far more energy efficient and less costly than land-based modes. A single vessel of 30,000 tonnes of cargo can replace close to 1,000 trucks.
Investing in marine transportation in the Great Lakes will advance Canada's blue economy strategy, with the potential to spur growth across the board in fishing, marine transportation, shipbuilding, energy, tourism and recreation.
The expansion of trade capacity at Canada's Great Lakes ports is essential to the growth and competitiveness of the agri-food, construction and manufacturing sectors. In order to meet all these demands, we must begin making better use of our marine capacity. Doing so would represent a major step forward to delivering benefits for Canadian trade, environment and local economies.
At HOPA Ports, we are ready now to start making the investments Canada needs to emerge stronger from the pandemic. We have identified shovel-ready infrastructure improvements that would maximize immediate impact in our regional economies while also delivering long-term benefit to Canada's supply chains.
We look forward to working with you towards a more sustainable, resilient and prosperous Canada that makes the most of its maritime transportation infrastructure, and in particular, those on the Great Lakes.
Again, thank you very much for the opportunity to address the committee. I'd be pleased to answer any questions when they come up.