Prince Rupert Container Terminal Opening New World of Opportunities



    PRINCE RUPERT, BC, Sept. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The grand opening today of the
Prince Rupert Fairview Container Terminal is creating a new high-speed,
congestion-free trade corridor between Asia and North America. This hails a
new era for Prince Rupert, a major milestone in the gateway initiatives of
Canada and British Columbia, and a wave of new business opportunities for
CN Rail and Maher Terminals.
    "Our stars have aligned," says Prince Rupert Port Authority President &
CEO Don Krusel, noting the convergence of the private-public partnership to
finance and complete the first dedicated intermodal container terminal in
North America on schedule and on budget. "Our timing couldn't have been better
to bring on stream this high-performing container terminal to anchor a new
express trade corridor. We will be able to offer both Asian and North American
shippers unparalleled reliability, efficiency and speed in moving their
products through our port."
    The Cdn$170 million terminal project, with a design capacity of
500,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) has been funded by five partners:

    
    - Maher Terminals, $60 million, including the three super-post panamax
      cranes
    - Government of Canada: Western Economic Diversification Canada,
      $30 million
    - Province of British Columbia, $30 million
    - CN Rail, $25 million towards the terminal's rail-related infrastructure
    - Prince Rupert Port Authority, $25 million

    "Fifty years ago, Canada opened up Atlantic trade to North America with
investments in the St Lawrence Seaway. Today, we are beginning to see
investments and even greater opportunity as we open up trade corridors linking
the growing Asian economies with North America through Canada's Pacific
Gateway," says British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell. "The Port of Prince
Rupert is the closest port to the fastest growing economies in the world. This
single expansion will create thousands of jobs in this region alone, and shift
the focus of North American economies to the Pacific. I want to thank all the
partners involved in this project for showing tremendous leadership and vision
for our province and all of Canada."
    Campbell says the Province's $30-million financial contribution to Phase 1
and support for the overall terminal project reflects its commitment to the
Pacific Gateway's northern corridor and achieving two million TEUs in
container traffic by 2011.
    "This new terminal represents yet another step in building a world-class
transportation system connecting North America to Asia," says the Honourable
David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific
Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics. "It will open extraordinary
opportunities for Canadian business at home and abroad."
    "The Prince Rupert Port expansion will change the economic landscape of
this region and our nation as we build stronger trade connections between
Canada and Asia," says the Honourable Rona Ambrose, President of the Queen's
Privy Council, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Western
Economic Diversification. "Canada's New Government is a proud partner and
financial supporter of this project."
    In addition, under the Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, the
Canadian Border Services Agency will invest $28 million to establish a state
of the art container screening program.
    President Hunter Harrison of CN, which owns and operates the northern
mainline from Prince Rupert to Winnipeg, says CN appreciated the unique
opportunity to work with the Port of Prince Rupert and Maher Terminals to
design and construct the terminal from the ground up.
    "We strongly believed in the Port of Prince Rupert's vision from the
outset and, as a result of our partnership and involvement in the terminal
planning process, CN's congestion-free mainline is integrated seamlessly into
an ultra-modern, high-capacity container facility. This new injection of
meaningful port-rail-terminal capacity into the global supply chain will offer
shippers the fastest, most efficient and most cost-effective routing for Asian
traffic destined to and from the interior of North America."
    CN is also investing heavily in its western Canadian network, which will
benefit the entire Pacific gateway, adds Mr. Harrison. These improvements
include upgrades to its rail traffic control system west of Prince George and
extended sidings that will result in a double track system from Prince Rupert
to Memphis with the capacity to handle the four million TEUs that the Port of
Prince Rupert is projecting to handle by 2015. CN has upgraded tunnel and
bridge, built new intermodal terminals in Prince George and Edmonton and
acquired 50 new state-of-the-art locomotives specifically to serve
Prince Rupert.
    Maher Terminals believed the Port of Prince Rupert could become a major
cargo gateway for North America when, despite its remoteness, the New
Jersey-based operator successfully bid on a 30-year lease in 2001 to establish
its first terminal on the West Coast.
    "We were aware of the skepticism because the conventional port model is to
build near large concentrated urban areas and not in isolated areas with no
local markets," explains Chair Brian Maher. "But our family has been in the
terminal operations business long enough to know a good thing when we see it.
With West Coast ports already congested and grappling with an ever increasing
flow of Asian trade, we saw one of the deepest harbours in North America with
no congestion, two to three days closer to Asia than any other West Coast
ports and one of the best rail lines on the continent with plenty of
capacity."
    Mr. Krusel is quick to point out that the September 12 grand opening isn't
just a celebratory event for the Port of Prince Rupert and container terminal
project partners. It's also a time to recognize and show appreciation for the
many stakeholders who have rallied behind the dream and help make it a
reality.
    "We have had tremendous help from many stakeholders to get us where we
are. We're all in this together. We've said all along that it's not about
simply opening a container port, but transforming the transportation corridor
to create a new world of opportunities to benefit regions and communities from
Haida Gwaii to Memphis."
    The grand opening includes an official ceremony in the afternoon with over
600 guests and a community celebration in the evening in which at least
several thousand residents are expected to participate.


                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------

    Port of Prince Rupert

    Strategically situated on the direct great circle route from Asia, Prince
Rupert is more than a day's sailing time closer to Asia than Vancouver and
Seattle and nearly three days closer than LA/Long Beach. The Port of Prince
Rupert has the deepest natural harbour in North America and the safest West
Coast harbour with extensive capacity to expand. Prince Rupert is connected to
the fastest and most effective rail line across the Rockies, which also has
significant capacity available to accommodate Prince Rupert's growth. The Port
is anchoring a high-speed 'Express Gateway' that will result in containers
shipped from Asia arriving at their North American mid west destinations
faster than through other North American ports. The Port is building upon
Prince Rupert's strategic advantages to achieve container capacity of at least
4 million TEUs by 2015, which is aligned with Asia-Pacific Gateway & Corridor
Initiative targets. New cruise ship facilities and a maturing cruise ship
operation are also opening new opportunities to develop and grow Prince Rupert
into a premier cruise port on the west coast of North America. For more
information, visit www.rupertport.com.

    Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative - Government of Canada

    The Government of Canada is committed to concrete measures that contribute
to a more productive, competitive economy. The Asia-Pacific Gateway and
Corridor Initiative is an important example. Its purpose is to strengthen
Canada's competitive position in international commerce. The Asia-Pacific
Gateway and Corridor is a system of transportation infrastructure, including
British Columbia Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert ports, road and rail
connections that reach across Western Canada and into the economic heartlands
of North America, as well as major airports and border crossings. The
Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is an integrated set of
investment and policy measures focused on trade with the Asia-Pacific Region.
Its mission is to establish Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor as the
best transportation network facilitating global supply chains between North
America and Asia.

    Pacific Gateway - Province of British Columbia

    British Columbia is North America's natural gateway to Asia. The Pacific
Gateway Strategy builds on British Columbia's geography, ports, airports, road
and rail links, identifying key transportation infrastructure. It includes
policies to make British Columbia the most competitive, full-service
transportation corridor between Asia and North America. The strategy is a
partnership of industry and the governments of British Columbia and Canada.
The Port of Prince Rupert container terminal is a vital part of the Pacific
Gateway Strategy and Canada's newest link to Asia-Pacific trade. More
information is available at www.th.gov.bc.ca/pacificgateway.

    Canadian National Railway (CN)

    CN is a leader in the North American rail industry. Following its
acquisition of Illinois Central in 1999, WC in 2001 and GLT in 2004, as well
as its partnership agreement with BC Rail in 2004, CN provides shippers with
more options and greater reach in the rapidly expanding market for north-south
trade. CN has one of the best operating ratios in this industry and is
committed to moving more freight, more quickly and with fewer assets. CN is
the only railroad which crosses the continent east-west and north-south,
serving ports on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts while linking customers
to all three NAFTA nations. For more information, visit www.cn.ca.

    Maher Terminals of Canada

    Maher is one of the world's largest, independent, multi-user container
terminal operators and is a leader in the development of innovative container
management systems. The facility will be equipped with some of the largest
cranes on the West Coast to service the newest super post-Panamax vessels that
can handle up to 12,500 TEUs. Maher has facilities in the Port of New York and
New Jersey where it has operated since 1946 and currently operates North
America's largest marine terminal. For more information, visit
www.maherterminals.com
    




For further information:

For further information: Barry Bartlett, Manager, Corporate
Communications, Prince Rupert Port Authority, Cell: (250) 627-9693, (250)
627-2509; Naina Sloan, A/Director General, Western Economic Diversification
Canada, Cell: (604) 561-2013,  (604) 666-1889; Francois Jubinville, Director
of Communications, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,
Office of the Minister for International Trade, (613) 992 -7332; Premier
Gordon Campbell, Mike Morton, Press Secretary, Office of the Premier, Cell:
(250) 213-8218; Frans van Riemsdyk, Senior VP Sales & Marketing Maher
Terminals, (908) 665-2100; Kelli Svendsen, Regional Manager Public Affairs,
CN, Cell: (604) 240-7037, (604) 589-6512


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