CP Rail, Port of Vancouver buoyed by two new shipping contracts

CALGARY (May 21) — It was a good week for Canadian Pacific Railway. Canada’s No. 2 railroad continued to make gains in trans-Pacific container traffic over its Vancouver-Chicago corridor, announcing a contract with Norasia Line.

Swiss-based Norasia this month will launch its first foray into trans-Pacific service, with the Port of Vancouver as its North American gateway and CPR as the land carrier moving containers on double-stack trains directly into Chicago. CPR is the only rail carrier that can move freight from Vancouver to Chicago over its own track.

With a container capacity of 1400 TEUs (20-foot equivalent containers), Norasia ships will call weekly at Deltaport, the Port of Vancouver’s main container terminal. The railway promises four-day, dedicated service to Chicago. The first vessels are scheduled to arrive May 29.

Norasia is the second container shipping line in the past week to commit to using CPR’s Vancouver-Chicago corridor from the Port of Vancouver. On Monday, the railway announced a similar deal with China Ocean Shipping Co. (COSCO)

CPR is the only rail carrier that can move freight from the Port of Vancouver to Chicago over its own track.

“Vancouver and CPR are becoming the new choice for major container lines shipping into the U.S. heartland,” said CP president and CEO Rob Ritchie said. “We are very pleased with the response of the marketplace.”

CPR has invested heavily to expand track capacity and increase train speed in its Vancouver-Chicago corridor, making its route a strong competitor in the US$1 billion-a-year Midwest U.S. market for trans-Pacific containers. At the same time, the Port of Vancouver and its container terminal operators have expanded the capacity of their facilities.

Deltaport, a $224-million container transfer facility that opened in June 1997, has capacity to handle 600,000 TEUs a year. It can fill a double-stack unit train in 11 hours — faster than any other on-dock terminal in North America.

Norasia’s new service departs Laem Chabang, Thailand and calls at Port Kelang and Singapore, Malaysia; Jakarta, Indonesia; Hong Kong; Keelung, Taiwan; and Pusan, Korea, en route to Vancouver. Norasia already provides transAtlantic and Mediterranean container service into Montreal. With the launch of its transPacific service, Norasia will serve the Canadian and U.S. Midwest markets through Canadian gateways on both coasts, with CPR as the rail carrier.

CPR’s single-line routing takes Norasia’s traffic from Deltaport to Moose Jaw, Sask., then south through North Dakota, the Twin Cities and Milwaukee and into Chicago. In Chicago, CPR connects with all the major U.S. railways for containers moving to other U.S. destinations.

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