Inland Port Sparks Customer Interest

Written on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
Inland Port Sparks Customer Interest

A proposed inland port in Kamloops already has two major customers, promoters told a meeting of regional politicians Thursday.

A list of potential customers for an intermodal terminal that would switch cargo between truck and containers is header by Mercer International, which operates the Celgar pulp mill in Castelgar.

Another major customer, Venture Kamloops CEO Jeff Putnam said is Adwood Manufacturing, North America's largest modular shelving manufacturer and a supplier to IKEA International.

 

Putnam presented the latest plans and co-operative effort with VAncouver developer Bob Landucci, who owns 160 hectares of industrial land near Ashcroft that fronts bother CP and CN Rail lines.

Ashcroft and Kamloops representatives reiterated the two proposed railyard facilities in each location can work in co-operation and are not in competition with one another.

"It's a regional operation," said Landucci. "We can do things that will benefit Kamloops and Kamloops can do things that will benefit Ashcroft."

While there is some commercial interest and words of support from government, both facilities remain in the proposal stage. Neither CN Rail nor CP Rail have expressed interest in such a facility in either city.

"Railways, by matter of policy, want to start in Vancouver and end up in Montreal or Chicago without slowing down," Landucci said. But rules that govern trucking and public money that flows into ports and highways have an important effect on economics of decision making by the rail companies.

"It requires the province, federal government, the ports on side and railways on side," Landucci said.

The board of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District supported the concept and asked for backing from Victoria and Ottawa.

"It's important we explain the complementary nature of these," said Kamloops Mayor Terry Lake. "We can promote the economic development and greenhouse gas reduction."

The philosophy behind the two proposed facilityes, both of which are designed to take pressure off the Port of Vancouver and Lower Mainland roads, is to take advantage of cheaper and available land in the Interior.

A local facility would be export-oriented, stuffing lumber and pulp into containers for export to Asia. The Ashcroft facility would be oriented to transferring cargo, building trains and storing cars.

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