Aerial view of the Ambassador Bridge sign

Transportation and Logistics

Found at the heart of North America’s consumer market, Windsor-Essex has long been recognized as a leader in manufacturing and logistics. Its prime location on the Canada-U.S. border, allows Windsor-Essex to offer companies and suppliers a large advantage over competing areas.

Found at the heart of North America’s consumer market, Windsor-Essex has long been recognized as a leader in manufacturing and logistics. Its prime location on the Canada-U.S. border, allows Windsor-Essex to offer companies and suppliers a large advantage over competing areas.

Sector highlights

Windsor-Essex stands at the forefront of meeting high demands and providing optimal efficiencies for transportation and logistics. Our most notable advantages include:

  • Busiest commercial crossing along the Canada-U.S. border handling approximately one-third of all Canada to U.S. trade, reaching over $1 billion in goods that cross the Detroit-Windsor border daily
  • New $1.4 billion Herb Gray Parkway leading to the Gordie Howe International Bridge
  • Deepwater port accommodates any ship sailing the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway
  • Located at the western terminus of Highway 401, connects to the U.S. Interstate system
  • International airport with ILS equipped 2,743-metre (9,000-foot) runway

Border crossings

Windsor-Essex is uniquely positioned to provide you access to an abundance of diverse consumers, including four surface border crossing points across Detroit-Windsor.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge will provide new advantages to:

  • Ship goods more efficiently into the U.S. using the most advanced technology
  • Use the direct highway-to-highway link to ship goods across the border in both directions

Review the Gordie Howe International Bridge and the Bi-National Great Lakes Economic Region: Assessing Economic Impact and Opportunities report that was released by the Cross Border Institute. This report highlights some of the advantages provided by the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Windsor-Essex network system and access to the U.S. market is second to none. Many of our businesses and industrial parks are strategically located throughout the highway system for optimal transportation and logistics. Our well-maintained systems include:

  • Expressway connectors
  • Visual and sensory technology for more efficient traffic flow along the busiest trade corridor
  • Provincial highways
  • Macdonald-Cartier Freeway (Highway 401)

All routes interconnect with the U.S. interstate system via:

Infrastructure advantages include:

  • Rapid commercial pre-clearance on the Ambassador Bridge or the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel
  • Access to Detroit-Windsor crossings which handle approximately one-third of the total trade between Canada and the United States
  • Over $1 billion in goods cross the Windsor-Detroit border daily and more than 2.5 million trucks cross the border annually

Our networking, supports our well-established trucking industry in Windsor-Essex. Having originated the “Just in Time” method in the Windsor-Essex-Detroit marketplace, we maintain the standard on which manufacturers rely today. Among many benefits, we provide:

  • Competitive rates
  • Numerous cost-efficient freight movement alternatives available for local, national and international markets

Our railway connections serve as a backbone and powerhouse that fuel our local businesses and provide access to goods that manufacturers rely on. The Windsor-Essex region is connected directly to North America’s railway network via the ‘Michigan Central Railway Tunnel.’

Canadian National (CN), Canadian Pacific (PC), and CSX Corporation all have railway lines through Windsor-Essex that support our manufacturers and large business corporations. Passengers benefit from the VIA Rail Canada railway that transits from Windsor-Essex to Toronto.

The Essex Terminal Railway (ETR) primarily connects Windsor, Ontario to Amherstburg, Ontario to serve our primary sector industries including:

  • lumber transfer yards
  • major agricultural and chemical plants
  • machinery and steel
  • grain and salt
  • scrap industry

The Morterm Limited Great Lakes marine terminal accommodates ocean vessels and a large automotive parts production centre that provides a direct connection to CN, CP, Norfolk Southern and CSXT.

Rail traffic to and from the U.S. is facilitated through a twin-track tunnel. This tunnel efficiently moves rail cars from Chicago to New York City via Niagara Falls using the most uncongested, cost-effective and direct route.

The Windsor International Airport (YQG) is capable of satisfying a wide range of air cargo needs that can be delivered anywhere around the world. YQG’s aviation feeds, handling charges, fuel costs and leasing rates are among the lowest in Canada. It offers around-the-clock Canada Customs services and bonded warehousing for international cargo. YQG is conveniently adjacent to:

  • CN intermodal facility
  • CPR and CSX (potential intermodal facility)
  • Two major Canadian and U.S. highway corridors (Interstate 75 and Highway 401)
  • St. Lawrence Seaway for ocean-going vessels, providing the third largest deep-water Great Lakes port in Canada

YQG has a runway length of 2,835-metre (9,300-foot) with no curfews and no congestion that handles:

  • Any size of aircraft, including Boeing 747s, the Airbus-380, the Russian Antonov 124 and 225 (the largest freight aircraft in the world)
  • Over 245,000 passengers per year, and provides daily commuter flights connecting through Toronto to major Canadian cities, the U.S. and Europe

The airport is federally designated as a trans-shipment point because of its proximity to the U.S. border. This permits 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 that is anchored by FedEx on its northern perimeter. With international CN and CP railways directly beside the airport, YQG is an ideal location for future truck-to-rail expansion with approximately 121 hectares (300 acres) of industrial land available for development.

Other major regional airports that are within a 45-minute driving radius of Windsor include:

  • Detroit City Airport
  • Detroit Metro Airport
  • Willow Run (which is dedicated to air freight services)
  • Oakland County Regional

The Port of Windsor is perfectly positioned as a gateway to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, making it an ideal shipping point for a wide range of products such as salt, grain, fluorspar, lumber, steel, petroleum, vehicles and heavy lift equipment, all destined for international or domestic markets. Port Windsor provides desirable benefits including:

  • Membership in Highway H2O that ensures reliability, capacity and connectedness to over 40 international and regional ports
  • More than 4,888 metres of berthing space, 89 hectares of open storage and over 40,000 square metres of covered storage
  • Full-service marine terminal, Morterm Limited, which handles large quantities of bulk cargo from deep-sea ships

Recent growth advantages include:

  • Shipments through Port Windsor increased 38 per cent to 5.8 million tonnes of cargo over the past ten years
  • 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.
  • Approximately 243 hectares (60 acres) of available land for development around the port

Industry strengths

Our industry strengths scale the charts with the sheer amount of opportunities we facilitate and support:

  • Competitive labour costs
  • 8,000 employees in the region’s transportation, logistics and warehousing sector
  • Over $600 million annual GDP
  • Over 800 local manufacturers export goods
  • 60 plus transportation services companies
  • Over 20 customs brokerage firms operating in Windsor-Essex
  • 17 CBSA-licensed customs sufferance warehouses and several customs bonded warehouses are located in Windsor-Essex
  • WindsorEssex Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) that helps advance economic development with tariff and tax exemptions for raw materials, components and finished goods

Access to markets

Windsor-Essex is located is a prime location for transporting goods that provides:

  • Central location to the Great Lakes region, North America’s manufacturing heartland
  • Direct connections to the U.S. interstate system
  • Direct rail connection via underwater rail tunnel to U.S. rail network
  • Ease of travelling goods across the Canadian and U.S. border
  • Access to WEDnet, which is made up of high-speed fibre-optic links, with bandwidths in excess of OC3 speeds
  • Approximately 13-hour drive to reach 200 million people
  • Canadian free trade agreements including the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) for automotive industry parts suppliers and assembly plants
  • Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) gives us preferential market access to the European Union

Education and research

Our education and research facilities have a rich history in advanced manufacturing. We offer credible and reliable institutions that support Windsor-Essex for a sustainable future in transportation and logistics.

The following research facilities are dedicated to training in transportation and logistics:

  • Cross-Border Institute (CBI) is dedicated to research, education and public outreach on cross-border movement of goods and services
  • Our Automobility and Innovation Centre located at Windsor International Airport works with CBI to provide real-world testing
  • Private training schools offer truck driver training including a full AZ Professional Truck Training Program