Winnipeg Free Press, February 15, 2001, Page 26

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - February 15, 2001, Winnipeg, Manitoba Commercial ROYAL LEPAGE palesand MBBnillHIHIIHIIIllllll STEVENSON Appraisal COMPANY INDEPENDENT MEMBEH BROKER Property Management 9561901 Winnipeg Free Press FEBRUARY 2001 87 EDITOR Julian Rachey 6977235 [email protected] By Helen Falldlno Labour Winnipeg Binding arbitration urged in Buhler strike agencies ink deal with China Team Canada trip proves to be lucrative By Kim Guttormson SEVEN Winnipegbased businesses and institutions have signed deals with China as part of the prime ministers Team Canada trade Only the Canadian Wheat Board agree worth about has a dollar The Wheat Board has inked a deal with the China National Oils and Foodstuffs Import and Export Corporation to supply the country with a half million tonnes of Canada and China have been trading grain for 40 In other deals I the Royal Winnipeg Ballet signed a let ter of agreement to perform in Chongquing and Winnipegs sister city of Chengdu from July 4 to as part of its Asia Tour China will pick up the cost of meals and Research I the Canadian International Grains the Canola Council of Canada and Pulse Canada signed a memoran dum of understanding with the China Feed Industry to share research and technical establish visits and academic develop training courses and communicate work plans and work I the University of Manitoba signed three memorandums of understanding with Chinese educational One with China Womens College in Bei jing will strengthen the working rela tionship between it and the U of Ms department of sociology and faculty of social A with the Institute of Mountain Hazards and in will facilitate collaborative projects in the area of fieldenviron mental resource The third was with the West China Uni versity of Medical part of Sichuan University in to pro mote collaboration in new fields such as prevention and con I Winnport Logistics signed a commer cial agreement with Air China to facili tate air cargo access rights for Winnport in Winnport and Air China will sell and market space on the CanadaShanghai air cargo service that Winnport intends to relaunch later this BUHLER Versatile and its striking trac tor factory workers have until tomorrow to agree on binding arbitration and a plan for getting the workers back on the Governmentappointed mediator Wally FoxDecent delivered an interim report to Labour Minister Becky Bar rett recommending that Buh ler and the Canadian Auto Workers union grant him or another arbitrator the power to reach a binding He also proposed three options for resolving the sticky issue of how employees would be called back to work Either the parties reach agreement with in 48 hours or workers return on the basis of seniority as outlined in the Manitoba Relations Act or they submit the issue to binding CAW spokesman Dale Paterson said the union accepts FoxDecents recommen Job seniority and reduced benefits are among the out standing John Buhler bought Canadas only tractor plant last fulfilling a lifelong dream to make But he said yesterday it is too late for binding arbitration because the compa ny has already lost a major contract to build tractors for Case New He rejected FoxDecents proposals for a senioritybased or arbitrated Not on your life Plant owner John Buhler responds to mediators returntowork plan returntowork Not on your Buhler wants the right to choose the first 50 returning workers on the basis of their ability to assemble regardless of senior Hes worried about having to take back the oldest workers who may not have the crucial Even if the union agrees to his return towork Buhler said he will not recall striking workers unless he gets back the Case New Holland Industry Minister Mary Ann Mihychuk has asked the tractor giant to reconsid er its decision while mediation or arbi tration is still FoxDecent said the strike could be resolved in five days if he is chosen to arbitrate a He pointed out that the Case New Hol land contract was scheduled to expire in October Buhler Versatile still has two other tractor production lines with Case New Holland and a shortterm arrangement with But Buhler said yesterday he intends to limp along producing two tractors a day with salaried staff until he can build a new plant in North I have to go somewhere where theres rightto work he refering to a policy that allows individual workers to opt out of union About 250 Buhler Versatile workers have been on strike at the Winnipeg plant since Another 350 are on Claims outfit bets on Net First in Canada to give insurers replacementcost data online By Murray McNeill A Winnipeg company expects its revenues to increase fivefold over the next year as it trans forms itself into Canadas first Inter netbased firm offering complete replacementcost estimates for the insurance The Claims Network which has been providing valuation data and replacementcost estimates to property and casualty insurance firms for about 10 expects to launch its new Webbased operation within the next six to eight TCN cofounder Rob Hales said con verting to an online operation will make TCNs services readily accessi ble to insurance firms around the world and will enable it to deliver those services in a more efficient It transforms us Were the first in Canada to go this he It transforms us from a Manitoba company that does some work in other parts of CanaWand the United States into a Hales estimates that within a the new Internetbased operation will be bringing in monthlyrevenues Of about That would be five times what TCN is now earning with paperbased In order to handle the extra TCN plans to add seven new brokers to its current staff of 11 two imme diately and the other five spread out Over the next 12 TCNs transformation into an Inter netbased operation is being done with the help of worth of federal and provincial grants and a infusion of capital from an unlikely source a junior mining and explo ration Winnipegbased Gossan Resources has purchased a 30 per cent stake in TCN for Gossan president James Campbell said the company was looking for an Internetbased company to invest in and liked TCNs growth prospects over the next few Campbell stressed that this is just an investment for Gossan a way to diversify its Were not losing our original direc he Were still a junior min ing and exploration Hales said TCNs current customers include all the major property and casualty insurance firms in as well as several large com Although its new online ser vice will be accessible to insurance companies around the he said TCN initially will concentrate on mar keting it to firms in the United States and which has an insurance system similar to that in of its sheer the mar kef offersthe greatest potential for future TCN he The market alone could be Worth as much as million a The numbers become provides replacementcost esti v mates for a wide range of masspro duced consumer If one of those products is stolen or lost in a flood or other an insurance company can hire TCN to contact retailers and find a suitable replace ment TCN then passes that information on to the along JEFF DE FREE PRESS The ClaimsNetWorks Hales standing Godard going online with a list of retailers that carry the product and the name of a local con tact for each Hales said there are rival companies in the United States that provide some of the same services as but not aU of For theyll provide a replacementcost but not a list of retailers where the replacement products can be he Stephanie a vendor special ist with Ontariobased Economical Insurance agreed that TCNs service will fill a need within the insurance For completing claims transactions over the Web allows us to provide more comprehensive services Joiner explained Lessons s China dream still alive SOME readers might have noticed an article in these pages earlier this week containing the words Winnport and Winnport Logistics chief executive officer Lynn Bishop was hi China with the Team Canada trade mission finalizing a com mercial agree ment with Air China that would see the stateowned car rier commit to taking a certain amount of space in an air cargo service that Winnport could resume as early as this summer between Canada and At the same time he was also securing landing rights and access into the Shanghai Winnports effort to form an interna tional air cargo service between Win nipeg and China was one of the biggest local business stories of When the new service was grounded only six weeks after its launch in November of that Winnport officials main tained it was just a temporary so the story was allowed to slip off the radar The next time Winnport made head lines was last when it entered into an agreement with Royal Airlines to act as a domestic cargo charter for that Montrealbased Since then it has been flying five overnight domestic cargo runs per week in a leased Boeing 727 for generat ing about million in revenue since it began the service 12 months It is hardly the sexy business that was envisioned at the and although it is generating some operat ing profit for its the cur rent Royal cargo run does not even touch down in Instead it flies HamiltonEdmontonCalgary Hamilton every Now Canada 3000 is in the process of acquiring and while Winnport and Royal officials have said Win nports position will not be compro mergers and acquisitions have a tendency to create new opportuni ties that can leave formerly estab lished relationships But throughout it Winnport offi cials have never wavered in their con tention that the China business will work The question does anyone else think that Apparently its longtime investors Last shareholders including the trucking magnate Hubert the Richardson family and Crocus Investment Fund ponied up another million in new Committed During Winnports hiatus in the popular wisdom was that Crocus was determined to protect its investment and was loathe to book a In while many Winnport partners were prepared to pull the plug and wander off in Crocus remained committed to somehow making the business In James who is now the chairman of Winnports board and chief investment officer at admits that Winnport made a mistake by going out when it did in late He said recently that a strategic partner in New York had been but a monetary crisis forced the wouldbe partner to divert capital earmarked for Umlah is adamant that the China business will not even be contem plated until a strategic partner is found that can provide cash as well as a signif icant amount of the cargo on the We have learned from our mis he adding that despite the rumours to the Crocus has not lost a lot of money on Weve maintained the opportunity to hit a home run while continuing to hit We currently have a good business that is making Prospects for developing business in China are still there and access to Shanghai makes the service more attractive than Shenzhen and where Winnport also has landing A little more street smarts when it comes to the bareknuckles world of international freight for warders also will help they encour aged Winnport to go out in 1998 and then abandoned them when the enter prise was There will also be one other major new feature if and when Winnport restarts its air cargo service to China it almost certainly will not be flying out of It was a valiant ef f but the brain trust no longer harbors any misconceptions that there is enough international air cargo that can be attracted in and out of Winnipeg to v Umlah uses the analogy of Air da being headquartered in Montreal but hubbed out of But that comparison only goes so After Winnport was conceived with the assis tance of at least million in public sector money as a specific economic development opportunity for this And its Winnipeg head office currently consists of only a few So while Winnport may once again fly out of its investors are just happy its still in the Martin Cashs column on the Winnipeg business scene appears every Thursday in the Free Press business If you would like to contact please call 6977256 or email him at Disc ove Focused On Superior Growth Significant Tax Investing In Manitoba 100 Eligible No Annual RRSP Fee ADVANTAGE ENSIS Growth Fund ;

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