Over $84M announced for upgrades to port, rail in New Brunswick

Click to play video: 'Port improvements drawing eyes from Saint John waterfront'
Port improvements drawing eyes from Saint John waterfront
Those drawn to Saint John’s waterfront can't help but notice work underway at the port recently. Now, a significant injection of cash will see the industry there get an even bigger boost in the years to come. Travis Fortnum reports – May 25, 2022

Over $84 million in funding was announced for a pair of New Brunswick projects aimed at bolstering the supply chain, with half that cash coming from the federal government.

Canada’s transport minister, Omar Alghabra, stood flanked by provincial and municipal government as well as industry representatives to make the announcement Wednesday.

“This is about nation-building,” Alghabra said.

“This project is about Saint John, this project is about New Brunswick, but this project is about Canada and all Canadians.”

There are two projects, actually, that stand to benefit from the funding.

The feds will chip in $21.16 million for upgrades to two New Brunswick Southern Railway terminals and another $21 million for Port Saint John’s continued expansion of its west side terminal.

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The funding for the rail terminals will be matched dollar for dollar from N.B. Southern Rail’s parent company J.D. Irving Ltd.

Co-CEO James D. Irving says the investment will allow for the laying of heavier-gauge track, which can withstand higher speeds and heavier loads.

“It’s all about efficiency,” said Irving.

The federal government’s contribution to Port Saint John’s project is met with a $16.8 million contribution from New Brunswick’s provincial government and $4.2 million from the port authority itself.

It will see the capacity of the port’s west side terminal more than double over the next six years.

With that expansion comes some 800 new jobs, says Arlene Dunn, the province’s minister of economic development and small business.

“These jobs are going to be great opportunities for women, for newcomers for persons of colour, for persons with disabilities,” said Dunn.

“This is a major opportunity.”

The work funded by Wednesday’s announcement is expected to finish in 2029.

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