Global maritime shipping is itself being transformed " bigger ships, more cargo in containers, bigger and more productive ports and terminals, and new forms of inter-modal transport. This integrated package forms one element of the global supply chain, linking countries around the world on ocean transport routes and opening new job and trade opportunities. But this transportation supply chain must be linked directly to the second global supply chain, which is company based. From Walmart to Toyota, McCain Foods to Target, global firms are integrating their supply chains as they enter new markets and source components and parts, process them and deliver finished goods, on time, to their customers. Supply chains are about three imperatives: price, quality and delivery.
The Atlantic Gateway, like the Pacific Gateway, can position Canada as a truly northern entry point for link to the global transportation network, and for global corporate supply chains. In Canada, two West Coast ports, Vancouver and Prince Rupert, and Halifax on the East Coast have the deepwater ocean channels, land area and terminal capacity to handle the new ships on order in the shipping industry. The West Coast ports of the United States already face massive congestion problems, and there is limited room to grow. There are other challenges " environmental and pollution concerns, labour relations and road congestion. Global shipping companies like Maersk are introducing megaships that lower transportation costs per unit shipped but are a challenge for ports that must accommodate them " the ports are too small, the water channels are not dee
p enough, and they lack inland transport, from terminals to rail and truck lines. As more goods are sourced from markets like China and India, global shipping companies are reconfiguring their trade routes, including within Asia itself.
Shipping companies are planning new transport corridors, through the Suez Canal, across the Atlantic Ocean to North America. Canada’s deep-water ports on the Atlantic coast are the closest to Europe and the Suez Canal, and potentially offer new trade and transportation routes to Asia. Containerization, the key platform for large container ships, is an organizational disruptive innovation for international trade and will reach 650 million TEUs (twentyfoot equivalent units) within a decade, from zero 50 years ago. The container is the ideal mode of long-distance transport for bulk cargo, dry cargo and now refrigerated goods, allowing easy transshipments of fresh and frozen goods (e.g., seafood, fruit and vegetables, flowers) in 20-foot and 40-foot boxes.