The report that Initiatives Prince George produced under this project demonstrated how rapidly increasing volumes of North American and Asia-Pacific trade would create a need for new air and surface transportation and supply chain solutions throughout North America. The project recognized backhaul transportation opportunities for exporting locally produced goods to the Pacific Rim. For instance, the study found that forest product volumes could fill approximately 60,000 forty foot length containers originating within the region, creating a significant export opportunity to customers in the Asia Pacific region.
Container Opportunities Study Informs Major Investment in CN Rail’s Prince George Intermodal Facility
Northern British Columbia's trade corridor is strategically positioned for to sustain economic growth generated from containerized traffic to and from the Port of Prince Rupert. Seeing this opportunity, Initiatives Prince George partnered with CN Rail, the Prince George Airport Authority, Northern Development, and other partners to develop a marketing strategy that would assess containerized transportation opportunities that existed for regional businesses and how all of northern British Columbia might benefit from related distribution, servicing and manufacturing activities.
"This study clearly identifies the competitive advantage of establishing an intermodal cargo centre in Prince George, and what opportunities that would bring for Northern British Columbia."Colin Kinsley, former Mayor, City of Prince George
Positive Economic Impacts in Prince George
The study determined that container traffic moving east from the Port of Prince Rupert doubles the potential traffic moving west. Since containers must be cycled back to their origin, half of the containers travelling west along the West Coast rail and highway corridors are empty. The study found that this allows for opportunities to ship existing exports products via containers, where they will command lower loss and damage, and higher quality and greater shipment reliability. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, locally produced goods and resources would need to be stuffed into containers within the region, and an investment in infrastructure would be required.
The report also identified Prince George as an intermodal centre due to its strategic location, major rail yard, and airport infrastructure. These results aided in securing funding and direction which led to CN Rail proceeding with construction of an intermodal facility in Prince George. CN Rail's new intermodal facility opened for business on October 14, 2007. This facility not only provides new transportation sector jobs within the region, but also ensures that manufacturing businesses have access to containers, and have a cost-competitive, high service transportation option for exports to Asia and other international markets.
In August 2011, CN Rail announced a further investment of $3.2 million in the Intermodal Facility to address growing container volumes bound for China. With this expansion, the employment directly created in Prince George will increase from thirty-two full-time employees to fifty-seven.
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