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Canada Border and Port Tour with the Canadian Consulate

Consulate trip

December 31, 2012

by Anne Goodchild, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Between September 25 and 27, 2012, I joined a group of academics, industry representatives, and government officials on a tour of land border and marine port facilities in British Columbia. The tour was sponsored by the Canadian Government, and led by Kevin Cook of the Seattle Consulate. The signing of the Beyond the Border initiative by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper on February 4, 2011, defines a new era of Unites States-Canada cooperation, and much of the tour focused on the changes that will take place due to this new agreement. In addition, we observed substantial changes in Canadian Security initiatives since the establishment of the Canadian Border Services Agency in 2003.

I have conducted research on marine ports and land borders for the last 10 years, and have a particular interest in the commercial land border crossings at Pacific Highway, between the lower mainland of British Columbia, and Western Washington. My research group has looked at many questions here, including identifying the operational elements most responsible for delay, the performance of security programs, and the border’s impact on regional supply chains. The site visit provided me with a contemporary view of the operations both on the US and Canadian sides, and an opportunity to observe operations in this ever changing environment.

I am also an active researcher in the area of marine ports, in particular their connections to the landside transportation system, and their role in regional trade. In past research we’ve performed comparative analysis of the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Prince Rupert, and were some of the first to visit and study the new Port at Prince Rupert when the Fairview Container Terminal opened there in 2008. My recent visit allowed me to observe what role the port has come to play in global trade, and how operations are conducted.

The tour was a wonderful opportunity to refresh and revitalize my knowledge of Canadian West-Coast transportation infrastructure, and to consider the significance of their investments and programs on the Puget Sound. I was very fortunate to be accompanied by an outstanding group of American colleagues who I can now count as friends. Many thanks to the Canadian Government and the Seattle Consulate for their generosity!

Dr. Goodchild is the Allan and Inger Osberg Endowed Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. She is also Director of the Goods Movement Collaborative and Academic Director of the Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Degree Program. Her research interests lie in logistics and freight transportation with a particular enthusiasm for maritime transportation and port operations. In her research she has evaluated strategies to improve port efficiency, the relationships between goods movement operations and air quality, the effect of new technologies on freight transportation system productivity, and the impact of travel time variability on goods movement. She considers the multiple agents acting together that create the transportation system and the incentives for each of these actors. Her primary areas of study are containerized cargo, marine terminals, and international borders. 

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