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Transportation and Distribution

Winnipeg’s transportation and distribution sector embodies both the transportation equipment manufacturing industry and the transportation services and logistics industry. The sector employs approximately 28,000 people and consists of over 2,000 business establishments. Transportation equipment exports are over $600 million annually to foreign markets.

Transportation Services and Distribution Industry

There are 525 for-hire motor carriers in Manitoba. Of these trucking companies, 32 are interprovincial/international carriers and ten of these firms maintain regional or corporate head offices in the province. Two of Canada’s ten largest for-hire trucking organizations are headquartered in Winnipeg. An additional 2,000 carriers from other provinces or states are authorized to operate in or through Manitoba.

Winnipeg is centrally located on the main lines of the two national railways, Canadian National Rail (CN) and Canadian Pacific Rail (CP). CN and CP operate a combined 2,185 miles of track within Manitoba. Three rail connections to the United States provide Winnipeg easy access to the world’s largest market. Both CN and CP provide service to the US in partnership with their respective US operations. They both use the intermodal transportation system, which combines rail and truck.

Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport offers a broad range of air passenger and cargo services, including international carriers, commuter airlines, jet freight carriers, fixed base operators, and various charter operations. In 2006, it welcomed nearly 4 million passengers and handled approximately 160,000 metric tonnes of cargo. Twelve regional passenger carriers, nine smaller charter carriers, 13 air cargo carriers and seven freight forwarders operate out of Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport is Canada’s only major international airport between Toronto and Calgary and is competitively positioned as a 24-hour unrestricted airport. The Winnipeg Airports Authority announced a major site redevelopment plan including a new terminal building by 2009. The airport is one of Canada’s most important airports for overnight, all-cargo activity. Winnipeg has major sorting facilities for FedEx and Purolator, receives daily transborder service from UPS and is a major hub for Cargojet Airlines.

The Port of Churchill, which is owned by OmniTRAX Inc. offers four deep-sea berths for the loading and unloading of grain, general cargo and tanker vessels. Through rail connections with the Canadian National Railway system, goods can be shipped between the port and most North American points.

Areas of expertise include:

  • commercial transport (truck, rail, air, marine and intermodal)
  • warehousing and distribution/logistics
  • courier sorting and forwarding
  • freight forwarding
  • passenger transport

Major transportation services and distribution companies located in Winnipeg:

  • Air Canada Cargo – www.aircanada.ca/cargo
  • Arnold Bros Transport Ltd. – www.arnoldbr.com
  • Canadian National Railway – www.cn.ca
  • CP Railway – www.cp.ca
  • TransX Ltd. – www.transx.ca
  • Kleysen Transport Inc. – www.kleysen.com
  • Purolator – www.purolator.com
  • Reimer Express Lines – www.reimerexpress.com

Winnipeg’s competitive strengths:

  • Central location – Mid-Continent Trade Corridor: Winnipeg’s strategic central location at the heart of the Mid-Continent Trade Corridor makes it a logical transportation and distribution hub. Well-serviced by air, rail and truck transport, and with access to the seaport of Churchill, Winnipeg can provide seamless, efficient intermodal transport, allowing for cost-effective movement of goods and people throughout North America – from the Arctic to Mexico.

Transportation Equipment Manufacturing Industry

Manitoba is a leader in transportation equipment manufacturing, recording close to $2 billion in shipments annually. The vast majority of the province’s transportation equipment manufacturing is based in Winnipeg. Motor vehicles are Manitoba’s single largest export. Winnipeg is North America’s largest bus manufacturer.

All these products have a significant amount of Manitoba content and are sold throughout North America. Components for military vehicles are made in various plants in Winnipeg, and new projects are underway to expand this activity.

Motor Coach Industries Ltd. and New Flyer Industries Ltd. are the two major players, who produce buses for the North American market. New Flyer Industries is the major supplier to the North American urban transit bus market. Motor Coach Industries (MCI) holds over half of the North American highway coach market. MCI recently announced investment commitments totalling $40 million, which will consolidate coach production and engineering for its inter-city coach models into a single, world-class, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Winnipeg.

The industry is supported by a well-diversified infrastructure of suppliers of raw materials, parts, component assemblies and services to the OEMs.

Manufacturing in Winnipeg includes:

  • transit buses
  • inter-city coaches
  • motor homes
  • fire trucks
  • step vans
  • a wide range of semi-trailers
  • metal supply and fabrication
  • castings and machining
  • electronics
  • plastics and rubber processing
  • finishes (coatings, electroplating and decals)

Areas of expertise:

  • Bus manufacture (inter-city coaches and transit vehicles) is the predominant activity, followed by the manufacture of other vehicle types including: motor homes, fire engines, step vans and a wide range of semi-trailers. All these products are sold on a North American-wide basis.
  • The industry is complemented by a wide range of component manufacturing operations that supply original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s).

Major transportation equipment manufacturing companies in Winnipeg include:

  • Motor Coach Industries – www.mcicoach.com
  • New Flyer Industries – www.newflyer.com
  • Fort Garry Industries Ltd. – www.fgiltd.com
  • Canadian Tool & Die Ltd. – www.ctd.mb.ca
  • Princess Auto Limited – www.princessauto.com

Winnipeg’s competitive strengths:

  • The manufacturing industry has the highest rate of growth in capital investment in Canada – Since 1991, manufacturing investment in Manitoba has grown at an average annual rate of 10.5%, almost 10 times the average rate of growth in manufacturing investment for Canada during the same period.
  • Diverse network of suppliers with flexible capabilities.
  • Winnipeg companies produce a wide range of castings in iron, steel, aluminum and bronze. Metal fabricators and machining firms in the province have developed leading capabilities in producing short run parts in a timely, cost efficient manner.
  • The city is home to a strong and growing plastics and rubber processing sector, with capabilities in injection moulding, rotational moulding and thermoforming, blow moulding, pultrusion and filament winding, extrusion and rubber moulding.
  • Advanced electronic systems and controls are manufactured by Winnipeg companies like Vansco Electronics and C-Mac Electronic Systems.