ABBOTSFORD, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA — Canada is investing C$20 million to increase rail capacity near Abbotsford, British Columbia, resulting in a significant increase in overseas trade to and from terminals in the Port of Vancouver.

The project will twin approximately 5.6 kilometers of Canadian National Railway (CN) tracks, eliminating the last section of single track within the 40-kilometre CN rail corridor leading to the Port of Vancouver. The project will address bottlenecks along the rail corridor and increase capacity and fluidity to accommodate growth in train traffic to and from the expanding import and export terminals at Burrard Inlet and Roberts Bank.

“Our government is investing in Canada’s economy by making improvements to our trade and transportation corridors,” said Marc Garneau, minister of transport. “We are supporting projects to efficiently move goods to market and people to their destinations, stimulate economic growth, create quality middle-class jobs, and ensure that Canada's transportation networks remain competitive and efficient.”

The work consists of engineering design; grading; the construction of track, bridge and retaining walls; as well as upgrading the signaling system.

By linking Canada’s bulk, industrial, and consumer goods producers to ports on the east and west coasts, Transport Canada said the county’s railways will grow and diversify Canada’s trade to new overseas markets. More than 2,800 locomotives pull over 5.2 million carloads across Canada’s railways to transport more than 358 million tonnes of goods per year, and account for about half of Canada’s international exports.

Transport Canada noted the country’s government is supporting infrastructure projects that contribute most to Canada’s success in international trade. Trade diversification is a key component of the National Trade Corridors Fund, through projects that:

  • improve the fluidity and performance of the transportation system to increase the value and volume of goods exported from Canada to overseas markets; and
  • generate new overseas trade as a result of the investment.

According to Transport Canada, The Port of Vancouver is the largest port in Canada and the third largest in North America in terms of volume. Handling 147.1 million tonnes of cargo in 2018, the Port of Vancouver is a critical hub for Canada’s overseas trade with Asia. Improving the flow of goods in and out of the port will further strengthen Canada’s exports and allow businesses to move their goods to new markets, highlighting the country's growing trade diversification.

This is the most recent infrastructure investment the country is making. Canada recently announced it is planning to expand the Port of Johnstown. Nine grain loading spouts will be replaced with four more efficient and modern spouts so that larger vessels can be loaded more quickly.