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Plane pulling into sorting facility Plane outside of the building

Helping FedEx serve Canada’s busiest airport

Toronto Pearson International Airport is Canada’s largest and busiest airport. About 400,000 flights pass through the airport each year, and almost 32 million passengers — a number close to the population of Canada.

Completed on an accelerated schedule, the new facility was designed with ample room for expansion.

Opportunity

Pearson International is the central hub for the FedEx distribution network in Canada. In 2002, to handle increased demand, FedEx opened a new cargo handling facility three times the size of the old one.

At 342,000 square feet (31,800 square meters), the main sort building could house three football fields (or 11 hockey rinks). An interconnected conveyor system stretches over 12,000 feet (3.6 kilometers) and up three stories. Over 450 people work at the facility, moving up to 12,000 packages per hour (maximum capacity) through the system each day.

Solution

HMM, a joint venture of Mott MacDonald and Hatch, provided design and construction inspection services for the civil site works associated with the new FedEx facility. The scope of services included the design of the following:

  • New taxiway and apron capable of accommodating nine wide-body aircraft
  • Extension of a taxiway connecting the FedEx apron with Runway 05-23
  • Category III taxiway and apron lighting
  • Parking lot for 350 cars
  • Large truck court and loading dock
  • Stormwater management pond and other drainage and stormwater systems

Outcome

This project was implemented on an accelerated schedule. By awarding an initial site preparation contract, which was constructed while the main design work was being completed, the project was brought online on schedule.

The new facility was designed with ample room for expansion. Speaking at the opening, Peter Stroud of FedEx said its capacity could be tripled to 36,000 boxes per hour.

Over the years, the Pearson facility has shipped items including flowers, donated blood, and live animals ranging from crickets and baby chicks to a white Beluga whale. In March 2013, FedEx safely brought two giant pandas from China to the Toronto Zoo. During the pandas’ visit, FedEx planned to deliver 600 to 900 kilograms of fresh bamboo two to three times a week.

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