The University of Windsor and the City of Windsor announced Thursday the appointment of Windsor lawyer and cross-border expert Laurie Tannous to the position of chief executive officer of the Institute for Border Logistics and Security (IBLS), located on the Windsor International Airport property.
“The IBLS is a unique partnership between the City of Windsor and the University of Windsor focused on responding to the specific needs and opportunities of the transportation and supply chain industry, while also supporting those businesses engaged in the movement of goods and people across the Canada-US border and around the world,” says Bill Anderson, Ontario Research Chair in Cross-Border Transportation Policy and director of the Cross-Border Institute.
“Through the use of applied research, cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art testing facilities, the IBLS will offer services and referrals to local and regional businesses that are unique and innovative and that will expand the cross-border commerce that defines our region.”
In October 2013, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario announced $19.9 million in funding for the initiative, which is expected to turn the City of Windsor into an international cargo hub.
“The IBLS will champion the activities that combine the need for the movement of goods and people while maintaining compliance and security,” says Tannous. “We will put into action the results of border security and logistics research taking place at UWindsor’s Cross-Border Institute (CBI) and will support regional businesses by referring border issues and challenges raised by the business community to the CBI for research and consultation.”
UWindsor president Alan Wildeman says the IBLS/CBI model is an ideal marriage of research and application that has the potential to provide real-world solutions for businesses facing challenges at the border.
“This initiative is a great example of how research taking place at the University of Windsor not only benefits the regional economy but can have widespread implications for businesses across Canada and beyond,” he says.
The IBLS will eventually be located in a 10,000 square-foot facility on airport property and will work with small and medium-sized companies to develop, test and implement best practices and technology for secure cross-border supply chain operations.
Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens says it is a well-known fact that in this era of global supply chain and distribution networks, companies rely on efficient and secure supply chain management.
“This exciting partnership combining the research expertise housed at the University of Windsor, and the integrated cluster being developed at the city’s cargo hub, is a natural fit at the busiest commercial border crossing in the country,” he says.
Tannous has practised Canadian trade and immigration law since 2004, following seven years with the Canada Border Services Agency as a customs and immigration officer. She most recently served as vice-president of government and industry relations at Farrow, the country’s largest independently owned customs agent.