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The Canadian government on Wednesday announced the completion of an expansion project at Ashcroft Terminal in Ashcroft, British Columbia, that's designed to improve the flow of goods by rail.The terminal is located on CN and Canadian Pacific mainlines that feed into Port Metro Vancouver. The project, which began in February 2013, involved enhancements to the connection to CP's mainline, with additional rail-car storage, transload facilities and support tracks. The improvements will enable the terminal to more efficiently handle industrial, mining and agricultural products, resulting in shipments moving more quickly through the rail corridor, government officials said in a press release."The expansion project has allowed Ashcroft Terminal to provide an alternative to truck traffic to help reduce congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions," said Robert Landucci, the terminal's chief executive officer.The $7.15 million project was funded by the federal government and Ashcroft Terminal. The Canadian government provided about $3.6 million from the Mountain Pine Beetle Program within the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund.Meanwhile, the Vancouver port is investigating design options to expand the Centerm container terminal to help address an anticipated shortfall in future container capacity.Independent forecasts show that container traffic on Canada’s West Coast will double over the next 10 to 15 years to accommodate growing demand for Canadian imports and exports, especially to and from Asia, port officials said in a press release. Even with new capacity at Deltaport terminal and a planned expansion in Prince Rupert, the ability to accommodate more containers on the West Coast still needs to increase by the early 2020s, they said.Operated by DP World, Centerm is one of three primary container terminals located within the Vancouver Gateway and handles about one-fifth of the port’s annual container cargo. The decision to retire the aging Ballantyne Cruise Terminal just east of Centerm and consolidate cruise operations to Canada Place in 2015 provides an opportunity to meet the near-term demand for container-handling capacity, port officials said.Design options will be determined over the next year. To be built in cooperation with DP World, the expansion is expected to cost at least $250 million and begin in late 2016. The project might include a reconfiguration of the container yard, an extension of the intermodal rail yard, new terminal truck in-gates and a multi-story parking structure.
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