CP: Hapag-Lloyd Container Ship Kicks off Saint John Service

CP, Hapag-Lloyd and DP World Look to Make Port of Saint John the Prince Rupert of the East

22.February, Saint John NB – The 4,115 TEU Hapag-Lloyd GLASGOW EXPRESS, due in to Saint John on 25.February, will inaugurate a new container service partnership between H-L, Canadian Pacific Railways (CP), and DP World Saint John (DPW-SJ).

GLASGOW EXPRESS has been on a cycle visiting regular ports (Italy, Spain, and Morocco), and the Saint John port call has been inserted ahead of a planned 28.February port call at Montreal {Hapag-Lloyd Vessel Info}.

GLASGOW EXPRESS itinerary ca. 23.Feb.2021. Arrival at Port of Saint John on 25.February will inaugurate a new service partnership between Hapag-Lloyd shipping, DP World terminals, and CP {Marine Traffic.com}.

Creel campaign promise fulfilled

In the CP 4Q Investor Call, CEO Keith Creel mentioned that the CMQ would be seeing a traffic increase around 01.March, when new container traffic to and from Saint John would be launched. Specific mention was made of Hapag-Lloyd beginning their port call at Saint John in later winter and early spring.

This is not the first container move by CP (and interchange partner New Brunswick Southern Railroad (NBSR)) out of SJ — several ships detoured there last year due to the Port of Montreal strike — but it is the first contracted container haul since CP sold off the line in 1993.

No new trains yet

The containers will be added to the existing pair of trains between Montreal QC and Brownville Jct. ME, where CP interchanges with the NBSR.  CP road trains #250 (MTL-BVJ) and #251 (BVJ-MTL) run six days weekly – departing MTL nightly Sunday – Friday, and departing BVJ evenings Monday – Saturday. Currently the trains have capacity available to add the containers, so no additional trains are needed. In the investor call, Creel said that, if additional container traffic exceeds the 250/251 capacity, additional train starts would be scheduled.

DPW-SJ General Manager Curtis Doiron said, “[CP and H-L’s choice of] DP World and Port Saint John demonstrates the … unique value proposition Saint John offers to the global shipping community …”

Getting ahead of East Coast congestion

DP World plans to transform Saint John into an alternative gateway for containers inbound for the Northeast US, much like their Port of Prince Rupert BC facility on the Pacific coast.

US shippers could move goods through Saint John to avoid sporadic congestion at the Port of New York and New Jersey, the largest US East Coast port. But rival Canadian ports Halifax NS and Montreal will fight Saint John hard for Canada-bound business. HFX is deeper than SJ, but has some air draft restrictions; MTL is ~1,200 nautical miles up the St. Lawrence River, and Toronto-bound traffic is “closer” by train.

This GLASGOW EXPRESS sailing is currently the only H-L vessel scheduled for SJ.