|January 26, 2006
CN & CP Rail agree to handle each other's traffic to improve Port of Vancouver
|Canada's two major railways have struck a deal to handle each other's traffic in B.C.'s Lower Mainland in a bid to relieve some of the
bottleneck at the Port of Vancouver as Asian trade continues to grow.
Expanding a co-operative arrangement announced in October, Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway said
Thursday that new operating improvements will begin in March. There will be direct-to-destination trains that bypass yards and
eliminate time-consuming railway-to-railway handoffs.
Calgary-based CP Rail will handle all trains of both railways from Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon through to Vancouver's South
Shore port and the Roberts Bank coal terminal.
Montreal-headquartered CN Rail, Canada's largest railway, will handle all trains of both railways from Boston Bar to Burrard Inlet on
Vancouver's North Shore.
Neither company would reveal expected cost savings.
Fred Green, CPR's president and chief operating officer, said the two railways have similar deals elsewhere in North America.
When last fall's initial efficiency arrangement in Vancouver was announced, the companies called it "a remarkable example of two
highly competitive railways co-operating to solve a pressing demand for more efficient rail operations for shippers."
Green observed Thursday that the Pacific Gateway is increasingly important to Canadian importers and exporters, and called the deal
an example of how railways can grow in North America without having to make costly capital improvements to tracks and other
"The conclusion is that in certain cases I can use someone else's assets or someone else can use my assets at commercial terms,
and the end result is the avoidance of further capital investment."
Soaring trade with China and other parts of Asia has dramatically increased shipments of coal, grain, potash, sulphur and other
products flowing out through Canada's West Coast ports.
Meanwhile traffic heading east has ballooned with expanding imports from China.
The Canadian government estimates container volumes at British Columbia seaports will grow to between five million and seven
million by 2020, up from two million this year.
Ottawa recently announced $590 million in funding for port and transportation infrastructure and programs to support further
development of the Pacific Gateway.
Source: James Stevenson - Canadian Press