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CN expands intermodal services out of the Port of Prince Rupert

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
March 14, 2012

Class I railroad carrier CN said this week it has introduced new import/export container train services between the Port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Calgary and Edmonton, effective June 2012.

The service between the Port of Prince Rupert and Calgary is already in operation, according to CN officials.

They added that a primary driver for these services has to do with the fact that Alberta is one of North America’s fastest-growing and consumer-based economies, with an increasing need for efficient supply chains. And because of this need CN said it is relocating its Calgary Intermodal Terminal to a new and larger $200 million ($202.3 million U.S.), 680-acre logistics park in Rocky View County, which is in close proximity to the Calgary International Airport, which is expected to be open in January 2013.

“We have developed a very successful intermodal service from the Port of Prince Rupert, which has significant advantages in terms of increased transit times for inbound freight from Asia,” said Mark Hallman, CN Director, Communications and Public Affairs, in an interview. “It is up to 58 hours closer in sailing time compared to other North America-based ports on the West Coast, and we have built up a good product out of the Port of Prince Rupert to places like Chicago, Memphis, and other parts of Canada like Montreal.”

And with Alberta being one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent, Hallman said it is a significant market for this service and the transit of consumer-based products and gave CN a major opportunity to improve its services and bring services into Calgary, which is now underway, as well as Edmonton in June.

The Port of Prince Rupert opened for business in 2007. CN has been offering service between the Port of Prince Rupert and the U.S. Midwest and central Canada since that time. 

Hallman said the new logistics park will help CN to grow its intermodal traffic and provide ample room for customers to build on-site distribution centers and will have more than 2 million square-feet of warehousing space.

When asked what the biggest benefits of this new service and facility will be for shippers, Hallman said it offers new and improved service levels for intermodal traffic moving both ways to an from the Port of Prince Rupert for import and export traffic.

As for CN and the competitive advantages this provides, he said it adds another dimension to its intermodal service, which has become one of the company’s top-growing business segments and is the single biggest segment at CN. And he said CN has significant advantages in the precision of its product in terms of moves between the Port of Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Alberta into the U.S., as well as very competitive services out of the Port of Halifax, the Port or Montreal on the East Coast, as well as central Canada and Midwest U.S.

What’s more, he pointed out that CN also has very good domestic, long-haul intermodal service across Canada between central Canada, Alberta and the West Coast, as well as into Chicago and New Orleans.

“The C$200-million new logistics park, along with new connectivity to both the Port of Prince Rupert and Vancouver, will provide Alberta fluid access to world markets for consumer goods and industrial materials, as well as two prime export routes for its forest products, plastics and agri-products,” said Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, in a statement. “As for CN, it puts us in a lead position.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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