CP Looks to Secure Second Steamship Line at Saint John in 2021

Following on Hapag-Lloyd’s announced 2021 container service shift to Saint John, CP CEO Keith Creel hinted that a second weekly steamship line will be calling on the Port of Saint John by the end of 2021.

CP is aggressively marketing container business while it serves less than half the number of ports that competitor CN does. Hapag-Lloyd’s extension of service and new calling on Saint John is bigger new for the port as CP already command’s the majority of Hapag-Lloyd container traffic and is CP’s largest customer in terms of volume. The new service will set sights on Montreal, Toronto, Detroit and Chicago at launch.

Reduced Dwell and Transit Times

Without direct access to the port, CP is working with the New Brunswick Southern Railway to significantly reduce terminal dwell times at the port and increase transit times over the route. CP has plans in place for immediate implementation to reduce dwell time to less than 48 hours and transit times to 24 hours to Montreal, 48 hours to Toronto, and 70 hours to Chicago. A CP executive also made mention that the CSXT plant to acquire Pan Am Railways, could also garner additional traffic opportunities from the Port of Saint John.

Saint John continues the US $160.16M project to double capacity to 300,000 TEUs and is working on obtaining additional land that will allow a capacity growth to 600,000 TEU.

CP to Add Maersk to Saint John Tenants?

Creel did not name the potential second Saint John shipper in, but CP has been courting Maersk through multi-year contracts at both Vancouver and Montreal. That relationship was strengthened in October when CP joined the blockchain-based TradeLens platform launched by Maersk and IBM.

CP is likely still in the hunt for port access or growth and will have sights set on being able to utilize the Laurentia Port in Quebec City in 2024.  While the port itself advertises “access to two Class 1 railroads,” to date CN claims exclusivity to access.  The former CP route, currently leased and operated by G&W’s Quebec Gatineau Railway, has been mentioned by Creel in several investor calls as a potential target for growth, however no firm action has yet been taken.

With a 2024 target seemingly looming for the “next big thing” at ports, CP has a couple years to secure any deal with the QGRY that would provide direct access to Laurentia.