The federal government is pouring $ 42 million into New Brunswick to improve trade infrastructure in the province.
Ottawa is giving $ 21.2 million to Irving-owned New Brunswick Southern Railway to upgrade rail terminals in Saint John and McAdam to allow the company to load, unload and ship products more quickly.
And it’s providing roughly the same amount to the Port Saint John to help it improve its cargo and crane capacity.
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told a large business and political crowd in Saint John on Wednesday that the two projects would shore up supply chains to make Canada’s trade corridors more resilient.
“I think everyone here knows and understands how important these projects will be for the city of Saint John and its citizens and its workers,” he said.
“But we also know this is about nation-building. This project is about the entire country. This project is about Saint John, this project is about New Brunswick, and this project is about Canada and all Canadians.”
Alghabra acknowledged the projects would not be finished fast enough to address the current supply chain crunch that is contributing to inflation.
But he said the Trudeau government is addressing that through other measures and the funding announced Wednesday will contribute to longer-term trade capacity.
Province, Irving provide additional funding
The New Brunswick government is providing $ 16.8 million for the port project and the port itself will spend $ 4.2 million.
Meanwhile, JD Irving Ltd. will match the $ 21.2 million in federal funding with its own money.
Co-CEO Jim Irving said the company’s rail shipping business, which links to Canadian Pacific’s lines in Maine, depends on on-time delivery to meet tight deadlines.
“This business is a game of minutes and hours,” he said. “This is about high performance.”
He said the terminal upgrades will include adding new tracks and sturdier tracks that can bear double-stacked containers.
The federal funding is part of Ottawa’s five-year, $ 450-million National Trade Corridors Fund announced in this year’s budget.