Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP) launched its foray into Eastern Canada intermodal service on Tuesday, sending its first westbound intermodal train from Brownville Junction, Maine, and through the Port of St. John to greater Montreal.
The train, carrying containers from the Hapag-Lloyd vessel Detroit Express, was bound for Canadian and U.S. intermodal terminals on CP’s network, the railway said.
“The new Port of Saint John service offers shippers a compelling value: a congestion-free port with a world-class operator, matched with CP’s precision scheduled railroading model,” CP President and CEO Keith Creel said. “CP has been without access to a deep-water Atlantic Ocean port for a quarter-century, and today I’m pleased to deliver a simple message: We’re back.”
CP says that by the end of this year, it hopes to offer 24-hour service between St. John and Montreal. The railway boasts that this new route is the shortest between Atlantic Canada and key North American markets, including Toronto and the U.S. Midwest markets of Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City, Missouri.
“The Port of Saint John connection gives us the rare opportunity to offer shippers a truly new and extremely compelling service to reach North American markets,” said Jonathan Wahba, CP vice president of sales and marketing for intermodal and automotive. “With a world-class terminal operator in DP World and CP’s investment in the [Central Maine & Quebec Railway (CMQ)], our customers will enjoy an unmatched value proposition that will benefit beneficial cargo owners for years to come.”
Train 251-11 began its journey at Brownville Junction, Maine, and stopped at the Port of St. John in New Brunswick, where it received containers from the connecting short lines New Brunswick Southern and Eastern Maine railways. At Montreal, the containers will head to destinations that include Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Chicago and Minneapolis.
CP’s eastbound intermodal train to the Port of Saint John had departed Montreal last Friday.
CP’s enhanced intermodal service in Eastern Canada comes as the railway has been bolstering its network capacity in the region. CP completed its purchase of the CMQ in June, which enabled CP to have connections to area short line railroads. CP’s over $90 million investment in the CMQ complements the Port of St. John’s $205 million West Side Modernization project, CP said. The port’s project includes the construction of a new wharf, a terminal upgrade and a deeper shipping channel, according to CP.
CP and its competitor CN (NYSE: CNI) have been jockeying to increase rail’s presence in Eastern Canada amid the country’s push to increase exports as well as meet the needs of its growing population centers in the region. CN has said it is eyeing Eastern Canada as the next area of investment now that the railway has invested billions of dollars to support its Western Canada grain export network.
Meanwhile, CP celebrated its growing presence in Eastern Canada with an Aug. 6 meeting with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.
“The return of CP is a game-changing opportunity for not only Saint John and New Brunswick, but for all of Atlantic Canada,” Higgs said. “This provides a competitive option for our region to access both domestic and international markets.”