CEC hero image, a  photo of Array


Trade, Transportation and the Environment

Status: Completed
Operational Plan: 2009

This project has two components:

  • First, to support the environmental performance of North American Trade Corridors, and to foster the transportation sector’s compliance with trade-related environmental regulations.
  • Second, to support the North American auto sector in promoting policies and actions that provide mutual benefits for the environment, trade and the economy with the establishment of a North American Partnership for the Environment.
CEC Projects - Trade, Transportation and the Environment


Trade between Canada, Mexico, and the United States has grown rapidly since the implementation of NAFTA. Projections indicate that trade will increase significantly in the coming years, with a parallel impact on the environment. Transportation is a sector where the link between trade and environmental impacts is most direct.


The CEC intends to increase the capacity of the Parties to identify and address trade-related environmental concerns and achieve mutual benefits for trade and the environment.

This project proposes to develop a framework to assess the environmental performance in North American trade corridors that run from Canada into the United States and down to Mexico. The framework will be applicable a range of environmental impacts, including air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy, land use, noise, habitat, and biodiversity loss.

This project will also produce a set of recommendations to assist public and private efforts to green trade corridors in North America.

Key Activities

  • Evaluation of the environmental performance of a selected trade corridor.
  • Exploring options for intermodality in order to reduce GHG emissions from freight transport.
  • Supporting the work of the project’s advisory group.


  • Improved dialogue between environment, transport and customs officials.
  • Implementation of a framework to assist the trade and transportation corridors in defining their goals, objectives and outputs.
  • Expedite environmentally sound shipments of merchandise across North American borders.
  • Reduced environmental impacts in the trade corridors.

Future Work

By the end of 2009, the basic analytical framework assessing environmental impacts of the trade corridors in North America will be developed. The refined identification of opportunities and the set of recommendations are to be completed in 2010.

Governments from all levels (national, state, provincial, local) could support the implementation of the framework developed in this pilot project, which should be applicable to other trade corridors in North America.