Canadian National Railway and China’s CNBM Forest Products Trading agreed to use a new CN facility in Vancouver, B.C., to transload Canadian lumber into China-bound containers starting this fall.
CN said its new Thornton Yard transload facility at Surrey, B.C., in the Vancouver metro will initially use eight acres with a throughput capacity of 10,000 containers a year, but has room to expand to 20 acres.
Lumber from the British Columbia interior will supply it, and CN says the new transload site will allow it to “increase the supply chain capacity for Canadian lumber exports."
CN also said it plans to increase lumber transload capacity at a separate facility that feeds into the Port of Prince Rupert, far to the north. That Prince George Distribution Centre, CN said, was built 500 miles east of Prince Rupert in 2007, and will now be able to ship more than 30,000 containers annually.
CNBM Forest Products Trading is already the largest lumber buyer in Canada and will need lots more. Ken Kao, its general manager, said "it is imperative that we align expected demand with appropriate facilities and ocean capacity to accommodate the growth we see coming over the next few years.”
With CN’s access to both the Vancouver and Prince Rupert ports and its transload operations to put lumber into seagoing containers, he said “we can continue to meet our strategic growth objectives for the China market."