Montreal, QC — As part of its growth strategy, CN announced it is increasing its operations in Western Canada with two additional major export supply chain projects coming online as well as a record month of April for the movement of Canadian grain.
Both of the new projects are focused on maximizing the use of rail into the Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia. The first train of thermal coal from Coalspur’s Vista Mine in Hinton, Alberta has shipped to Ridley Terminals. CN is also delivering the first unit train of propane from Alberta for export via the new AltaGas Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal.
“I’m very proud to announce the start of these new export supply chains to Asia,” said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer of CN. “Our objective is to help create export supply chains that get national resources to the best markets for our customers. These projects support jobs and increase Canada’s role as an international energy provider into Asia. As these new projects and our record grain movements for the month of April demonstrate, our capital investments are strengthening our existing network and expanding our capacity to move more western Canadian natural resources to market safely and efficiently.”
In the month of April, CN total tonnage of grain moved out of Western Canada was an all-time record 2.72 Million Metric Tons (MMT) compared to the three-year average of 2.23 MMT.
“With 21.1 MMT moved in the first nine months of the crop year, our results are +8.2%, or 1.6 MMT ahead of the three-year average,” declared Allen Foster, CN’s vice-president of Bulk, based in Calgary. “This record result is further proof that our infrastructure investments in capacity benefit all natural resources supply chains.”
The AltaGas Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal benefits from excellent railway service and a marine jetty with deep-water access to the Pacific Ocean. The facility has been receiving propane since mid-April and will provide access to more attractively priced markets in Asia for the propane derived from the natural gas industry based in British Columbia and Alberta. CN and AltaGas have been working closely with local communities and stakeholders in the Prince Rupert area, setting the foundation for a successful project.
“CN is a valued and strategic partner who plays a critical role in the success of our Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal,” explained James Shelford, Senior Vice President, Commercial for AltaGas. “Ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of propane to our facility is an integral component of our integrated asset platform that is designed to provide maximum value to our customers.”
The brand new Vista Mining Complex is a low-cost world-class surface mine operation expected to employ in excess of 350 people full-time. With committed rail and terminal capacity, the project is focused on the serving the growing demand for thermal coal in the Asian markets. Coalspur has targeted initial annual production of upwards of 7 million tons, with plans to grow.
“In January 2017, The Cline Group made the decision to build the Vista Mine complex which was a greenfield mining project located just outside of Hinton, AB,” explained Mike Snelling, senior vice president, Western Operations, Coalspur. “After less than 23 months, we’ve loaded our first unit train for export. This amazing accomplishment was made possible in part thanks to our partnership with CN who’s commitment and expertise in running a safe and efficient railroad has given us the required confidence to move forward on our long-term strategy for the Vista Mine to build an operation which will be an industry leader in safety, productivity, and operating costs.”