Millions of dollars in funding announced for Port Saint John, N.B. Southern Railway

Millions of dollars in funding announcement Wednesday, under the banner of strengthening Canada’s supply chain, will go towards an expansion of Port Saint John and upgrade of two Irving-owned rail terminals in New Brunswick.

A total of $42 million is earmarked for Port Saint John’s west side terminal, adding two cranes and wheeled cargo capabilities.

Port Saint John CEO Craig Bell Estabrooks says the funding will double the site’s cargo capacity from 2023 to 2029 and complement a new pier set for operation next year.

“It will be filling in the slips that were closed off by the pier and that will create 18 more acres,” says Bell Estabrooks.

A breakdown of the $42 million in funding will see $16.8 million come from the provincial government, $21 million from the federal government, and $4.2 million from Port Saint John.

In a separate announcement, the federal government will direct $21.16 million in funding to New Brunswick Southern Railway’s two rail terminals in Saint John and McAdam. J.D. Irving Limited, the railway’s owner, will match Ottawa’s commitment, bringing the project’s total to $42.32 million.

J.D. Irving Limited CEO James D. Irving says the upgrades will allow the addition of heavier gauge tracks, which can run at a higher speed and allow double stack containers and longer trains.

“The train has to be in Montreal in 24 hours, and this business is a game of minutes and hours,” says Irving.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says it will take time for Wednesday’s funding to address supply chain stresses across the country right now.

“But it’s not that long,” says Alghabra. “It’s in the medium-term. We are also doing other things in the short-term.”

“We’re tackling the issue of data and the digitization of data. We’re tackling coordination between modes of transportation. So, those types of initiatives are taking place across the country.”