Return of Saint John rail link expected to lead to jobs
SAINT JOHN -- The return of a rail link in Saint John is expected to increase container business and lead to more jobs at the port.
There are many days when Saint John’s west side container terminal is already busy. But now, the terminal and the port are being promoted by a big player in the transportation business.
CP Rail is marketing Saint John as their ‘East Coast advantage’, allowing them to provide service from coast-to-coast, and beyond.
In a statement, CP President and CEO Keith Creel says: “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.”
The return is connected to CP Rail’s recent purchase of a section of rail line in Maine that the company last used in the mid-1990’s.
The CP line through Maine links with Southern New Brunswick railway to connect with the port.
That connection rings Saint John 200 miles closer to Montreal.
“We’re closer to those major market places, and it’s a tremendous advantage when you’re out marketing this port because ship owners and cargo owners need a competitive environment in which to operate and we now have that,” says Jim Quinn, CEO of Port Saint John.
With that advantage comes an expected big spike in activity at the terminal.
“We can see on the horizon or container through the port going at least ten fold,” says Pat Riley, Union leader of the International Longshoreman’s Association Local 273.
Riley expects there to be more work on the waterfront in the months to come.
“That’s what makes us the happiest, the fact that we’re going to be able to provide good paying jobs to Saint Johners and New Brunswickers,” adds Riley.
In recent days, political leaders have been calling the new CP line a game changer.
“This will allow Saint John and New Brunswick to have international connections from around the world,” said New Brunswick premier Blaine Higgs on August 8.
CP Rail has also announced plans to spend $90-million upgrading the rail line in Northern Maine and Quebec, so that it can handle the additional cargo between Saint John and Central Canada.