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Rival RR could mean more competition for CP in Les Cèdres

  • The new complex would add 900 trucks to the region and create about 600 jobs.
    The new complex would add 900 trucks to the region and create about 600 jobs.
    Photo credit: Image courtesy CP.

The arrival of a new intermodal hub off Highway 30 in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield won’t make a similar station planned along the same highway by Canadian Pacific Railroad in Les Cèdres obsolete, says a local economic official.

In 2007, CPR announced it would move its freight operations off the island of Montreal and build one giant intermodal freight terminal and distribution centre on 330 hectares in Les Cèdres, just west of Vaudreuil-Dorion.

The terminal would be the destination for the growing volume of Chinese imports currently arriving at the port of Vancouver and being transported across Canada by rail, and could bring 900 more trucks to the region. It would also send about 600 jobs to the area.

But the company is now in the process of cutting its costs and laying off workers, so it hardly seems like an appropriate time to be going ahead with an expansion.

Julien Turcotte, the general manager of the Centre local de développement for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, said he’s still confident CPR’s long-term plans include Les Cèdres.

“I think even if it is delayed, the project is still alive,” Turcotte said. “They have done a lot of studies on this. I think it’s definitely part of their long-term plans.”

However, another company might have beaten CPR to the punch.

Last Friday, Florida-based railway company CSX announced the construction of a $93-million intermodal complex in Valleyfield for 2015.

One of the largest U.S. freight railways, CSX operates 33,000 kilometres of tracks in 23 states east of the Mississippi as well as in Ontario and Quebec.

The project represents competition for Canadian National Railway for traffic in the Montreal region, a company spokesperson said. CPR spokesperson Ed Greenberg said the company is now reviewing all its investments, and has not yet made a decision about Les Cèdres.

Turcotte said the project could be good news for CPR in Les Cèdres because there will be more freight coming into the region.

He said it doesn’t seem like competition, because CSX moves freight north-south, while CPR primarily moves it east-west.

“Les Cèdres is a connection with the Pacific Ocean,” Turcotte said. “The CP terminal will be linked with the Port of Montreal, whereas CSX works with the Port of New York.”

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