Port Infrastructure Investment Drives Private Sector Interest

West Side Modernization Project Developments

For several years, we have been sharing with the marketplace the business case for our West Side Modernization Project and, in doing so, we have attracted private sector interest in Port Saint John.

The West Side Modernization Project, which is supported by a three-way, $205 M funding partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of New Brunswick, and Port Saint John, has already attracted private sector investment of over $375 M to the region.

The first to join our vision for a modernized Port was DP World who came on board as terminal operator in 2017. DP World invested $30 M in terminal equipment including two larger and newer gantry cranes, referencing impending project upgrades as a major driving force. Together, with DP World, we have been working on leveraging the potential of the Project, which is well underway, with existing and future clients and partners.

CN has been a strong partner of Port Saint John all along, helping to build our container and other port cargo businesses such as potash and liquid bulk. Just one year ago, CN invested $45 M on rail upgrades in our province, enhancing service provision to our Port.

Now, we have seen the re-entry of CP Rail in a big way with their $130 M USD acquisition in Maine, and with their further plans to upgrade the asset over the next three years, valued at an additional $90 M USD. This development makes Port Saint John the only Port in Atlantic Canada served by two Class I national railways, CN & CP, both supported by local short line NB Southern Railway.

The strong position CP is taking to focus on Saint John as their East Coast Advantage is giving them access to an East Coast Canadian port for the first time in more than 25 years. For Port Saint John, this strategy re-establishes the two Class I railway optionality advantage that this Port experienced in years gone by.

Like DP World, CP also cited the West Side Modernization Project as a significant factor in their decision to reacquire Central Maine & Quebec Railway track, which had been owned by them prior to 1995, and to invest further in this asset and their new East Coast Advantage.

The competitive advantage to importers and exporters of being served by two Class I railways cannot be understated. Increased optionality provides shippers the opportunity to improve transportation efficiency and cost while bringing economic development to the region.

Add to this the tremendous geographic advantage Port Saint John holds in relation to large population centres, the fact that we have an infrastructure growth project already in the works, and a world-class terminal operator eager for growth and it’s easy to understand why this project is a game changer. Complimented by a ready and experienced workforce, the Port Saint John of the future will drive economic activity for generations to come.

These are the benefits that private sector businesses such as DP World, CN, and CP are aggressively looking to capitalize on. They know that investing in the opportunities being created by the West Side Modernization Project at Port Saint John mean enhancing their business position in the marketplace, and we know that growth is a given when great partners work together.

Jim Quinn, CEO
Port Saint John