The Port of Prince Rupert’s reputation for unparalleled speed, reach, and reliability has only strengthened through 2021, offering customers a fluid and uncongested gateway for intermodal cargo into Canada and the US from Asia. No other port on the North American west coast is able to boast the same – a unique feat in today’s volatile supply chain landscape.

Jeff Stromdahl, Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Manager of Trade Development, was also able to speak to the ease of which intermodal cargo has been moving through the Port. “Here in Prince Rupert, we have zero container ships at anchor, and we have had zero container ships at anchor throughout the entire pandemic. The terminal has performed extremely well, and the gateway and the rail network have been completely fluid.”

Dwell performance data alone for August 2021 tells the story of Prince Rupert’s leading performance among West Coast ports for cargo handling and velocity. In addition to Prince Rupert’s natural advantages that allow for significant reductions in trans-Pacific transit time, minimal dwell times are actively contributing to trains arriving ahead of schedule at inland destinations.

CN creates priority trains to help speed freight from Shanghai to Chicago

Recognizing market demand for fast and reliable service, DP World-Prince Rupert, COSCO Shipping Lines, and CN Rail have worked together to offer priority service between Shanghai and Chicago. The first train of this kind left the Port of Prince Rupert on September 14th where containers made it from ship to train in 12 hours at dock, enabling the fastest delivery between Shanghai and Chicago.

With CN, DP World’s Fairview Container Terminal has already completed multiple priority trains bound for Chicago since. The express transit times from point of origin to Chicago delivery are a result of strategic vessel loading and unloading, along with priority train movement across CN’s vast network to its destination. In some instances, transit time was less than 110hrs from train departure in Prince Rupert to train arrival in Chicago, depending on train design.

According to Girish Nair, Assistant Vice President International Intermodal with CN, the following transit times are relatively standard out of Prince Rupert:

  • Chicago 122hrs train departure to train arrival
  • Memphis 138hrs train departure to train arrival
  • Montreal 135hrs train departure to train arrival
  • Toronto 125hrs train departure to train arrival

The priority train service is a direct result of the shifting demand in the logistics industry due to supply chain disruption. Customers are actively seeking alternate means to get their goods quickly and reliably to market. CN and its partners, DP World and COSCO Shipping Lines, are offering fresh new options through the Port of Prince Rupert to do just that. A second priority train service among the same partners is now on offer for the Toronto market beginning mid-October.

When speaking about the Prince Rupert Gateway’s intermodal capacity both now and into the future, Mr. Nair expanded on CN’s recent network infrastructure investments allowing for better reach and additional inland ground capacity in New Richmond, Mobile, and its Chicago footprint. “Given the disruptive environment, we have seen a major shift in BCOs and our extended supply chain partners. There is a strong desire by the import-export community to look at diversifying the supply chain options – looking at how they can insulate and bring some consistency to that supply chain model. CN’s network, in partnership with PRPA and DPW, is all about building those options and creating those opportunities,” Mr. Nair said. Adding, “The next two years will be all about capacity and this gateway and network will deliver that for all of our stakeholders.”

New exclusive CENX pendulum service to Prince Rupert through COSCO, DP World and CN partnership

The Port of Prince Rupert is also excited to share that COSCO Shipping Lines, DP World, and CN will be offering an exclusive express trans-Pacific pendulum service between Qingdao, Shanghai, and Prince Rupert called ‘CEN Express’ or just ‘CENX.’ This new high-speed service is in response to growing customer demand to side-step the backlog of container vessels at anchor at American west coast ports. The first call to DP World’s Fairview Terminal was expected on October 28th.

When paired with CN’s priority trains to Chicago and Toronto, cargo transit times between China and major North American markets through Prince Rupert is incomparable.

Fairview Container Terminal Sets a New Vessel Capacity Record with Its New MSC Service

The largest container vessel ever to call on Prince Rupert’s DP World Fairview Container Terminal berthed for unload on September 22nd, 2021. The MSC AURIGA, part of the SAN service line, has a carrying capacity of 15,000 TEUs. The SAN service is a new service with MSC to the Port of Prince Rupert that began in early August 2021.

“Recognizing the fluidity and capacity of the Prince Rupert Gateway, as a response to congestion on North America’s west coast, both MSC and COSCO have recently added new services to the Port of Prince Rupert,” said Shaun Stevenson, President & CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “COSCO’s new CENX service makes Prince Rupert the only North American port of call, and provides opportunities for Canadian exporters to get their product to market faster than ever.”

DP World-Prince Rupert’s Terminal Manager, Christopher Colussi, noted the rapidly increasing capacity of the Terminal to bring it to 1.8 million TEUs by 2024. “We now have eight cranes total. We’ve put our newest gantry – believed to be the largest on the West Coast of North America – right in the middle, which gives us a berth to handle vessels upwards of 24,000 TEUs, if not larger,” he said. “The capacity we have to take on vessels that we aren’t even servicing yet exists currently.”