Moving goods and delivering services

Similar issues exist for the movement of goods and the delivery of services, although the modal options available are generally much more limited. Trucks, ranging from light vans up to large tractor-trailers, dominate goods movements within, to, from, and through the Central Ontario Zone. Rail still plays an important role in the movement of certain commodities between the Central Ontario Zone and other economic regions in North America, but historically rail has been losing market share to trucks for a variety of reasons, and today trucks tend to carry more heavy goods over longer distances. Ships are also important for a few industries, such as bringing raw materials to and taking products away from the Hamilton steel mills. In terms of the issues discussed in this paper, however, trucks and vans clearly dominate this sector, and, more often than not, represent the only feasible means of moving goods or delivering services.

The economic benefits of the efficient movement of goods throughout the Central Ontario Zone are well understood. The extent to which congestion interferes with these movements represents a direct economic loss to the Central Ontario Zone, and/or loss in economic competitiveness with respect to other North American regions. At the same time, of course, trucks contribute to roadway congestion, atmospheric pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. They also contribute significantly to the overall safety or danger of our roads.