The $1 million announcement Wednesday, under the banner of strengthening Canada’s supply chain, will go toward expanding Port St. John and upgrading two Irving-owned rail terminals in New Brunswick.
A total of $42 million has been earmarked for Port St. John’s West Side Terminal, which includes two cranes and wheeled cargo capabilities. Port St John CEO Craig Bell Estabrook says the funding will double the site’s cargo capacity from 2023 to 2029 and will complement a new pier set for operation next year.
“This will fill in the slips closed by the pier and create 18 more acres,” says Bell Estabrooks.
The $42 million break in funding would bring $16.8 million from the provincial government, $21 million from the federal government, and $4.2 million from Port St. John.
In a separate announcement, the federal government will direct $21.16 million in funding to the New Brunswick Southern Railway’s two rail terminals at St. John’s and McAdams. J.D. Irving Ltd., the owner of the railway, will fulfill Ottawa’s commitment, bringing the total of the project to $42.32 million.
JD Irving Limited CEO James D. Irving says the upgrade will allow the addition of heavy gauge track, which can run at higher speeds and allow for double stack containers and longer trains.
“The train has to be in Montreal in 24 hours, and that business is a game of minutes and hours,” says Irving.
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghbra says Wednesday’s funding will take time to address supply chain tensions across the country.
“But it’s not that long,” Alghbra says. “That’s in the medium term. We are also doing other things in the short term.”
“We are dealing with the issue of data and digitization of data. We are dealing with coordination between modes of transport. So, these types of initiatives are happening across the country.”