A new container transload facility in the BC interior, which received its first containers from Hapag-Lloyd this week, has been in the making for more than a decade. Funded primarily by the Landucci family, with a $3.57-million grant from the federal government, the terminal is expected to offer an inland port for some of the 60 freight trains, including every car heading to and from Metro Vancouver, that now pass through the site each day, according to the Vancouver Sun Wednesday.
Some of those trains stop in Ashcroft and unload, which would limit the maze of rail rerouting that’s done now across BC, cut the truck traffic congestion in the Lower Mainland, and provide for a faster turnaround for the railroad. Every exported container in the Lower Mainland now requires two to three truck transfers.
CN and CP Rail cars will stop at the 130-hectare sage-cleared site near Ashcroft, BC. Dubbed the Ashcroft Terminal, it runs with everything from fleet management to transmodal and bulk transloading services.
Lumber from West Fraser’s sawmill in 100 Mile House, for instance, could be trucked to Ashcroft, loaded on rail and taken directly to a terminal to be shipped overseas. Right now it’s hauled by rail to Metro, trucked to lumber storage, and eventually hauled to a terminal, which takes two to four trips.
Delta Agricultural Land Spared
A study commissioned by the City of Delta found that if one truck out of 28 is replaced by rail by 2031, there would be 360 fewer one-way truck trips per day to and from Deltaport and Roberts Bank Terminal 2. This represents a five-per-cent decrease in truck traffic and equates to 12 million fewer truck kilometres driven annually, said the Vancouver Sun.
The study assumes that the majority of cargo would bypass the inland port for continued transloading in the Lower Mainland since the inland terminal would only take a small percentage of the projected growth to 2031. But not only would it take some empty trucks off the road, Jackson said, it would reduce the need for Port Metro Vancouver to turn agricultural lands into industrial for port uses.
Ashcroft Ideally Located
The Ashcroft terminal is seen as an ideal location because it’s already zoned industrial and is at the nexus of where both the CN and Canadian Pacific railways cross paths before branching off on their respective tracks on either side of the river. This means Ashcroft is the last location westbound and the first eastbound at which mainline traffic can stop on the way to or from Metro Vancouver.
Peter Xotta, vice-president of planning and operations with Port Metro Vancouver, said to the Vancouver Sun that the advantage of transloading some of those goods in Vancouver is that the containers remain here. However, he said the Ashcroft terminal could be seen as a good bet for mining and forestry companies who tend to carry their wares by truck to the Lower Mainland. “That’s largely where the Ashcroft folks have had success so far,” he said. “What’s most effective from a service and cost perspective is what’s going to drive any inland port.”
Vancouver-based CrescentView Investments, lead by president and CEO Robert Landucci, chose the 800-acre parcel of land as ideal for an inland container terminal because Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway rail lines running through it and the project has the support of the neighbouring Village of Ashcroft.
The portion of the property suitable for the ICT, approximately 400 to 500 acres, could hold roughly 133,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), according to preliminary engineering of the property prepared for Crescent-View Investments.
The Ashcroft Terminal installed at least two rail sidings for assembling full trains as well as facilities for support services on the site.