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The north americain trade corridors


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Following the implementation of NAFTA, coalitions of interest have been formed in order to promote specific transport channels, to develop the infrastructures of these channels and to propose jurisdictional amendments to facilitate the crossing of borders. These coalitions include businesses, government agencies, civil organizations, metropolitan areas, rural communities and also individuals, wishing to strengthen the commercial hubs of their regions.
The North American trade corridors are bi- or tri-national channels for which various cross-border interests have grouped together in order to develop or consolidate the infrastructures. The North American corridors are considered multimodal in the sense that they bring into play different modes of transport in succession.
The infrastructures may include roads, highways, transit routes, airports, pipelines, railways and train stations, river canal systems and port facilities, telecommunications networks and teleports.

The Pacific corridor

The Pacific corridor includes the entire geographic band formed by the Rocky Mountain range and the Pacific coast. A huge transport network (highways, railways, airports and port infrastructures) facilitates trade between Western Canada, the U.S. East Coast and Mexico.
The traffic in the Pacific corridor mainly uses Highway I-5 in the United States, which joins together the major cities along the Pacific coast. At the U.S.-Mexican border, the corridor passes through two major ports of entry: San Diego/Tijuana, the busiest crossing point on the entire border, and Calexico/Mexicali, where there is a high concentration of maquiladoras.
To the north, Washington State and British Columbia have established the U.S.-Canada International Mobility and Trade Corridor in order to facilitate cross-border trade at the 4 land-based crossing points there between Canada and the United States.
NAFTA encouraged the creation of a network of business people in the Pacific corridor. The Rocky Mountain Corridor, for example, is an association of small and medium businesses in the three countries, doing business in the region.
North of the 49th parallel, two initiatives aim to develop the trade potential of the corridor: the north-west corridor aiming to link Western Canada with the trade flows of NAFTA, and the Alaska Railroad connection, project, aiming to facilitate land-based access to Alaska.


The central western corridor

The central western corridor includes the largest concentration of maquiladoras and the 2nd largest trade volumes of all the North American corridors. It uses one of the oldest trade routes on the continent, nicknamed the “Camino Real”, or “King’s Road”. The route links Chihuahua in Mexico to Denver, Colorado, via the “Paso del Norte”, the ports of entry of El Paso/Ciudad Juarez between Chihuahua and Texas, and Santa Teresa in New Mexico.
The surface trade flows (by truck and rail) circulate along Highway I-25 in the United States which, together with Highway I-90, brings the corridor north to Montana. Plans are to continue the Camino Real to Great Falls, where the corridor could join up with Canamex, a North American highway project, to enter Canada.
Canamex is a planned four-lane highway extending from Mexico City to Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. The project has recently received the support of a certain number of states and provinces including Arizona, Sonora and Alberta. The Canadian Government is providing financial support for the building of the North South Trade Corridor in Alberta, the Canadian section of Canamex. The U.S. Congress has designated the completion of Canamex as a high priority in the American road system. Canamex currently uses Highway I-15 in the United States. The external relations secretariat of Mexico has taken on the promotion of the project.


The central eastern corridor

The central eastern region has two trade corridors, one urban, which passes through the largest North American cities and the industrial basins of the central eastern region, and another which is rural and which passes through the Great Plains in the U.S. and through the Canadian Praries.
The urban corridor of NAFTA brings half of the North American population to within a single day’s journey by highway between Montréal, Canada, and Mexico. The corridor passes through the industrial stronghold of Canada and its largest market. It enters the United States at Port Huron and at Windsor, where it crosses the Ambassador bridge, the busiest bridge in North America, to join Detroit, Michigan, where the giants of the automobile industry are located. In the United States, the urban corridor follows “Corridor 18”, which extends to the lower Rio Grande valley in Texas, through Indianapolis, Indiana and Memphis, Tennessee.
The second corridor includes the Great Plains: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas; and the Canadian Prarie provinces: Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. A certain number of associations have been formed following the creation of NAFTA, in order to revitalize the rural communities of the central eastern region, by taking advantage of the transcontinental trade flows. The Central North American Trade Corridor Association, The Northern Great Plains Initiative, the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor an the Mid-Continent Trade Corridor are networks of business people, civil organizations and government agencies aiming to foster growth and employment in the central eastern region by means of a direct transcontinental link between Canada, the United States and Mexico. A network of cities, the North American International Trade Corridor Partnership (NAITCP), aims to build a huge regional market by holding regular trilateral meetings between member cities, and by facilitating contact between businesses in the corridor. In particular, the NAITCP has put together a huge directory of enterprises in the corridor, which may be consulted on-line, and organizes virtual trade missions.


The Atlantic corridor

The Atlantic corridor includes four economic areas: (1) the Canada-U.S. East Coast; (2) the Champlain-Husdon corridor; (3) the Appalachian region and (4) the Gulf of Mexico. The corridor provides an intermodal transport system linking a 4-lane north-south highway, 3 major North American rail networks, 14 interstate highway systems, 6 interprovincial systems, one trans-Canadian highway and all the marine and airport facilities of the Atlantic coast. Transcontinental trade along this corridor uses the corridor of the Gulf of Mexico or the maritime routes of the U.S. East Coast.
The first area includes all the trade travelling along the U.S. East Coast on Highway I-95. It has the appearance of a geographic band about 5,500 km long and 50 km wide, passing through a large number of jurisdictions. Indeed, the area includes a population of over 55 million inhabitants spread out across 4 Canadian provinces and in 188 counties in 13 American states.
Another part of the north-east trade passes through the Champlain-Hudson trade corridor. This corridor extends from Québec City to New York City. The Champlain/Lacolle border crossing is one of the three largest commercial ports of entry between Canada and the United States. The corridor between Québec and New York possesses advanced transport infrastructures that include Canadian Highways 20 and 15, U.S. Highway I-87, a fully modernized rail network and marine channels.
The Appalachian region follows the contours of the mountain range that runs from the south of New York State to northern Mississippi. It covers over 518,000 km2 and includes a population of 23 million people, 42% of whom are in rural areas (as compared to 20% of the U.S. population as a whole). The highway infrastructure of the Appalachian region – the Appalachian Development Highway System – supports an international Appalachian corridor linking Ontario to the southern extremity of Florida, passing through Baltimore, Washington, Norfolk and Charlotte. The Continental 1coalition has the aim of developing an international corridor for trade and tourism between Toronto, Ontario and Miami, Florida.
Finally, the Gulf Corridor links the three Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas to the entire north-eastern part of the continent. It passes through the cities of Monterrey, San Antonio, Austin, Houston and Baton Rouge, to join the traffic of the Atlantic coast. The border crossing at Nuevo Laredo/Laredo between Nuevo León and Texas is the busiest U.S.-Mexico border crossing, with over 3 million trucks per year.


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