The government of Canada and the province of New Brunswick on May 25 announced multi-million investments to boost shipping capacity in St. John and McAdam.
Under the National Trade Corridors Fund, the government of Canada will contribute up to C$21 million to the Saint John Port Authority to increase the cargo laydown capacity of the West Side Terminal, to enhance the crane capabilities of the terminal, and to add roll-on/roll-off capabilities for wheeled cargo. The Saint John Port Authority, as applicant, will contribute C$4.2 million, and the province of New Brunswick will provide C$16.8 million—for a total investment of C$42 million.
“These infrastructure improvements, combined with our current modernization project, will help our port create new capacity of 800,000 TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent units],” Port Saint John President and CEO Craig Bell Estabrooks said.
Modernization of the West Side Terminal—including a new wharf, a terminal upgrade and a deeper shipping channel—began in 2015. It led to international container terminal operator DP World agreeing to a multi-decade lease, and to Canadian Pacific (CP) investing more than C$200 million in rail lines that connect to the port, according to New Brunswick’s Regional Development Corporation.
CP regained access to the port in June 2020 with its acquisition of the Central Maine & Quebec Railway—Railway Age’s 2016 Regional Railroad of the Year—which has connections with the Eastern Maine and New Brunswick Southern. This expansion of CP’s network more directly links Atlantic Canada to Montréal, Toronto and the U.S. Midwest (Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City).
CP officially launched its international intermodal service through Port Saint John on Aug. 11, 2020. The Class I railroad’s and Hapag-Lloyd AG’s inaugural call at the port was in May 2021; they reported an additional call, via a seasonal extra loader, on April 25, 2022.
“CP is excited to be back in Atlantic Canada and proud of the much-needed competition our return has brought to the freight transportation market in New Brunswick,” CP President and CEO Keith Creel said. “The additional investment announced today by the federal government and the province of New Brunswick will make a significant impact for Port Saint John and for Canada’s supply chains. The funding will bring Port Saint John’s capacity up to 800,000 TEUs, almost tripling the Port’s existing capacity.”
The Canadian government, also under the National Trade Corridors Fund, will invest C$21.16 million to upgrade rail terminals in Saint John and McAdam. The New Brunswick Southern, a subsidiary of J.D. Irving, Ltd., will contribute the same amount, bringing the total project investment to C$42.32 million.
“The Port of Saint John and New Brunswick Southern Railway have been a critical part of New Brunswick’s economy for generations, and today’s announcement confirms the important and growing role they play in our province’s overall competitiveness,” said James D. Irving, Co-CEO of J.D. Irving Ltd. “The investment announced today will allow the Atlantic region to increase Canadian imports and exports on a global scale, giving us an even stronger foundation to continue building on—from right here at home, in Saint John, New Brunswick.”
“We are proud to be working closely with Port Saint John, DP World, J.D. Irving, and the New Brunswick Southern Railway—building momentum in Atlantic Canada,” CP’s Creel said. “This strategic investment will help to improve the resiliency and competitiveness of Canada’s export-driven supply chains, and, combined with the increased competition generated by our return, help to transform Port Saint John into a truly global, premier trade gateway.”
“These two projects located in Saint John and McAdam represent major opportunities to increase capacity to import and export goods in and out of New Brunswick,” Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said. “Our government is proud to support projects that benefit not only these areas, but all of New Brunswick—creating good jobs and contributing to a stronger economy.”