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Transport Canada announces Port of Trois-Rivières investment

The Canadian government is investing C$33.4 million (US$25.5 million) to construct a terminal west of the Port of Trois-Rivières in the hopes of relieving congestion in the area.

The 100,000-square-meter terminal will be for the transshipments of dry and liquid bulk and general cargo, according to Transport Canada. The project, dubbed Terminal 21, will also include the construction of a wharf and road and rail access roads, as well as storage space. 

Officials hope the project will eliminate bottlenecks and ensure the efficient transfer of goods between road, rail and maritime modes, Transport Canada said. Government support for the project is part of Canada’s wider effort to support infrastructure projects that have the potential to bolster international trade. The Canadian government has invested more than $180 billion over 12 years on such projects. 

“Strategic investments to strengthen transport infrastructure are essential to our economy. The Port of Trois-Rivières provides transportation links that ensure local companies can get their products to market efficiently, while remaining competitive. These improvements at the Port of Trois-Rivières will help businesses move more products to market,” said Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne.

The port says Terminal 21 is a “flagship” project for the port’s development plan through 2030. The port estimates the terminal will increase port capacity by nearly 50%, or by 1.5 million metric tonnes (MMT). 

Located halfway between Quebec City and Montreal, the Port of Trois-Rivières is serviced by the Quebec Gatineau Railway, which is a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming, and the port has access to CN (NYSE: CNI) and Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP). 

According to its 2019 annual report, the port handled 55,000 trucks, 11,000 railcars and more than 250 merchant and cruise ships last year. It also handled 4.2 MMT of traffic, an annual record for the port. Liquid bulk traffic between 2018 and 2019 was stable, at 0.3 MMT, but solid bulk traffic grew from 3.2 MMT to 3.6 MMT. General cargo was also stable year-over-year at 0.3 MMT, although it was 36% higher than the five-year average.

Transport Canada announces new rail safety measures

In an unrelated announcement last week, Transport Canada said it would be implementing new rail safety measures following a 2017 fatal accident at CN’s Melville Yard in Saskatchewan.

The measures include a ministerial order that requires the rail industry to adopt new practices for employees to follow when conducting switching operations to ensure that equipment is properly secured, Transport Canada said. Transport Canada will also continue revising oversight regulations that govern employee training and it will work with the railway industry and labor to identify and address the underlying causes of uncontrolled movements that occur while switching without air. 

The measures follow the recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, which investigated the incident. On Dec. 22, 2017, a foreman died as a result of an uncontrolled movement of railcars while performing switching operations. The board concluded that a lack of communication and the crew’s limited experience likely contributed to a decision to switch three loaded cars at insufficient speed up an ascending grade, Transport Canada said.

In September, Transport Canada also said it would be investing more than $25 million over the next three years to support 165 projects and initiatives related to the government’s rail safety improvement program. The $25 million is on top of $85 million invested in the last four years to support rail safety programs. 

Original story appeared in American Shipper by Joanna Marsh

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