Inside Logistics

CP launches direct rail transportation service from Vancouver to Detroit

New direct rail service can cut transit times from the West Coast to Detroit by as much as 48 hours


August 15, 2017
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CALGARY, Alberta — Canadian Pacific Railway Limited has launched direct rail transportation service between Vancouver, British Columbia and Detroit, Michigan.

Using CP’s newest transload facility in Vancouver and its innovative live-lift operation at Portal, North Dakota to accelerate cross-border shipments, this new service can cut transit times from the West Coast to Detroit by as much as 48 hours compared with nearest competitors, the railway says.

“We’ve worked hard to reshape our footprint in the Vancouver area to improve efficiency and boost capacity for our customers,” said John Brooks, CP senior vice-president and chief marketing officer. “And now, with our live-lift operation in Portal, we can expedite service and truly exploit the strengths of our network to provide unparalleled service and value in the Vancouver-to-Detroit lane.”

CP’s new service runs from Vancouver to Detroit seven days a week.

“CP recognizes our customers’ need to get their goods to the key markets of the U.S. as efficiently as possible,” said Hardy Pearson, senior vice-president for the midwest and northeast for Hapag-Lloyd. “Simply put, shorter transit times, a more fluid border crossing and near seamless movement through Chicago means not only lower costs but better, more consistent access to the right markets.”

The new up-and-running Vancouver transload operation is co-located at CP’s carload and intermodal facility. It allows CP to utilize rail for movements between terminals and ports where others must rely on trucks, reducing traffic congestion in the Vancouver area and resulting in a lower cost, environmentally friendly, strategic advantage.

CP started live lift operations at the Portal border crossing in the second quarter this year. The new service allows CP to lift single containers off of trains for inspection by Customs authorities rather than having entire intermodal railcars – which can carry up to 15 containers – held up. This eliminates delays to containers not flagged for inspection, making it easier and faster for customers to do cross-border business in a lane where CP already offers the fastest transit times between Vancouver and the Twin Cities, Chicago and beyond.

From Detroit, CP now serves both the Port of Montreal and the Port of Vancouver daily in and out of its CP-controlled terminal. The seven-day-a-week direct rail service complements CP’s terminal fluidity and capacity with over 17 acres to support our customers’ growth, including our empty annex adjacent to the Detroit terminal.

“We are proud to be working alongside our customers to find innovative total transportation solutions that increase efficiency, expands capacity and enhances value for all stakeholders, and this is just the beginning,” Brooks said.