CN’s Calgary Logistics Park intermodal terminal is up and running

Class I railroad carrier CN said last week that trains haven begun rolling into its new state-of-the-art intermodal terminal facility at its new Calgary Logistics Park.

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Class I railroad carrier CN said last week that trains haven begun rolling into its new state-of-the-art intermodal terminal facility at its new Calgary Logistics Park.

Last March, CN introduced new import/export container train services between the Port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Calgary and Edmonton that took effect in June 2012.

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 planned to relocate 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, effective this month.

“The opening of this intermodal terminal launches our logistics park operation, which will provide seamless transportation solutions to rail customers moving products and commodities into and out of Calgary—one of the fastest growing regional markets in North America,” said Jean-Jacques Rust, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, in a statement. “Can’s C$200-million logistics park is strategically located between the ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver and major cities across Canada and mid-America. The park’s intermodal terminal, along with very competitive ocean and rail transportation times, will provide Alberta businesses ample capacity for consumer goods and industrial materials and effective export routes for forest products, plastics and agric-products.”

Rust also noted that the Calgary Logistics Park will help CN to reduce transportation costs of its customers through highly efficient materials handling, transportation and distribution processes, which he said will help them grow their businesses.

CN said that the new intermodal terminal, which is re-located from southeast Calgary, offers:
-30 percent more capacity than CN’s existing Calgary intermodal terminal and space for further expansion;
-four automated in-gates and three automated out-gates to keep truck turnaround times in the terminal to below 45 minutes;
-a container yard for convenient storing of international containers;
-specialized equipment for temperature-controlled products, allowing CN to expand its existing reefer volumes; and
-the logistics park has space to accommodate more than 2.5 million square feet of warehouse distribution facilities, including a rail-to-truck transload operation and a new CN Autoport facility to serve the regional finished vehicles market.

“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 a previous 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.


About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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Hub Group Resources
Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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