Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cargo Village Grounded

Get real Lufthansa. This is Windsor. When we have visions, we THINK BIG!

Cargo village. Are you ridiculous? It is CARGO CITY for us or nothing.

I don't get it. But perhaps Serco did and that is why they were happy to leave. It's just not going to get off the ground. It won't fly! Just like the RFP for the airport that failed:
  • "The question of who will operate the struggling airport has been left hanging for months since the city issued a request for proposals for a new operator in April.

    A new operator was supposed to be picked and in place in the summer, but that fell by the wayside when response was slow. By the June 30 deadline, there were only three responses, and each of them failed to comply with the RFP guidelines, council was told."
I have been advocating for years that Windsor must take advantage of its key location on the border between Canada and the US but we have done little to advance it from a governmental perspective. The achievement of becoming the #1 border crossing between Canada and the US was not accomplished by Governments but in spite of them.

I read the Star story about the Lufthansa Council presentation and a number of questiosn arose.

Why can't we just agree that, while being in the aviation industry is very sexy, Windsor Airport is never going to be a major airport, cargo or otherwise, or even a minor one.

Why can't we have someone who knows the transportation industry from a regional perspective see where this City fits in with the unglamorous roads, rails and Highway H2O which builds on our geographic strength.

Why won't Eddie admit that he hired Luftansa because he thought we could ship onions overseas and that concept of his crashed and burned as Lufthansa pointed out.

Why do we as taxpayers have to spend a half a million dollars on a foreign consultant on something that a major transportation company from North America would understand immediately and do their own feasibility study at no cost to us.

Why do we have to make a big deal and call it a Cargo Village and pretend that it has something to do with airplanes when in fact all we are talking about is a big truck teminal
  • "He said the study points to the bulk of the initial cargo handling capacity at the airport being made up of so-called "flying trucks" in which freight is packaged for air but transported by trucks. That freight handling ability would draw more scheduled flights to the city. The report concludes Windsor Airport could be handling up to 90,000 tonnes of commercial air freight within 25 years."

Why would we build an "air" distribution centre here when the only passenger service we have is Air Canada Jazz considering that half of Lufthansa's cargo loads are carried on their passenger jets, not just on freighters.

Why do we think we can get cargo scheduled service here when we cannot even get any other passenger service

Why do we think we will be more successful than Air America Logistics which, when it was in business, "produces more landing fees -- about $200,000 annually -- than all airlines combined at the airport, with the exception of Air Canada." and was "the lynchpin that keeps the cargo aspect humming over here."

Why are we getting so excited about the volume of freight in 25 years, "could be handling up to 90,000 tonnes of commercial air freight," when our major airport competitors handle that volume of freight and substantially more today.

Why do we think we can compete at all?

Why do we keep hearing that YQG is:

  • "practically unknown to the greater airline world"

Why didn't Ms Nazzani's Powerpoint presentation accomplish anything or did it just prove that YQG really is a dud:

  • "In four months, starting from scratch, she's developed a power-point presentation that leaves a listener wondering how an asset with so many advantages, from its strategic location to its relatively clear weather, from its lack of noise and weight restrictions to its exceptional 9,000-foot runway and quick aircraft turnaround time, could be such a dismal performer."

Why don't we have someone in charge of the airport who actually knows the business or is being "a Holy Names product" as Gord called her enough

Why wasn't Vicky Kyriaco-Wilson called upon to help since in 2006 she sought "backing from the city, provincial and federal governments to make Windsor Airport an international transportation hub for freight arriving by air, ground and rail."

Why is YQG "perfectly suited to tap into a growing and high-value segment of the economy" when perishables cannot justify a terminal and the automobile business is dying in this region. What segment is Lufthansa discussing?

Why is the air cargo business so good when the Lufthansa parent Company is having all kinds of problems with it as are other major carriers.

Why are we focusing on a pies in the sky idea such as this other than the fact that money "is going to dry up when the economy rebounds." Accordingly, spend it on ridiculous ideas and pretend to be accomplishing something for the region.

Why are we wasting our time doing "the next phase, which would look at the financial viability, study what facilities would be required and search for an operator." All Eddie has to do is call Matty Moroun since this is his business or call his buddy Roger Penske or has Eddie already talked to him about it?

Why won't Eddie admit the obvious as Councillor Halberstadt did three years ago and tell us this is all a front to put trucks on an upgraded Expressway as the Senior Levels always wanted:

  • "If you had a customs zone there, you could do it all there and you wouldn't have to have long truck lineups along Huron Church Road waiting to clear customs on the other side of the Ambassador Bridge, Halberstadt said.

    He said one of the obvious routes for international-bound trucks cleared at the airport would be along E.C. Row Expressway to the bridge."

Why does Eddie think that we have forgotten that he voted in favour of this Motion when he was a Councillor:

  • "WHEREAS, the Federal Government has released the parameters for the $2 billion Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, and the $600 million Border Infrastructure Fund, and...

    WHEREAS, Deputy Prime Minister John Manley has asked the Windsor & District Chamber of Commerce to oversee the formation and administration of a Business Transportation Task Force, to recommend, inter alia, alternative concepts and regional “Now Solutions” which could access Federal and Provincial dollars to enhance border efficiency, and...

    WHEREAS, the Federal Government is seeking to formalize discussions with potential partners with a view to identifying large-scale infrastructure projects “quickly”, and

    WHEREAS, the City of Windsor recognizes that prior to any proposal proceeding to implementation, it must withstand the scrutiny of a proper, and thorough environmental impact process,

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Windsor endorse the recommendations of the Business Transportation Task Force of the Windsor & District Chamber of Commerce with the exception of the reverse customs inspection concept which is deferred for further study and further, that the required upgrades to the E. C. Row Expressway, the Lauzon Parkway Extension to Highway 401, and the Walker Road Grade Separation BE ENDORSED;"

Why does this sound so familiar with DRIC, infrastrucuture funding and trucks on E C Row?

Why was there little discussion about noise or environmental pollution due to increased air traffic at the airport considering that

  • "On any given day, our air can stink or be dangerous to breathe."

Why was there no mention in all of this about anti-airport debates such as those over Heathrow, Toronto Island, or a possible new Pickering one or are we just supposed to fall into line

Why, why, why?