The Rail Corridor project in northern Quebec will facilitate exports to Europe and the rest of the world, a significant step forward with the agreement with SNC-Lavalin and Norda Stello to assess its feasibility.
The project promoters called Qc Rail to determine whether the construction of a 370-kilometer rail link between the deep water harbor of Dolbou-Mistasini and By-Como is feasible and profitable.
The new corridor will allow Canadian exporters to reach global markets faster, while reducing congestion on the Southern Railway network. The investment is estimated at $ 2 billion, which will grow with the results of the feasibility study, Furlong said.
The path expected in the basic studies can also be modified.
If implemented, the Qc Rail project would be a faster and cheaper alternative to the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor to export companies from Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
Preliminary estimates suggest that grain loaded west of the country could reach European ports six days earlier than the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.
The Quebec-Windsor corridor, already very busy, will be used even more if projects to improve passenger transport are already on the table.
Cargill, one of the biggest names already having railroads in CN, Northern Ontario and Quebec, and one of the largest grain terminals in By-Como in North America, could invest in the project. Other export companies such as Alcoa and Resolve are also interested in the project.
The Qc Rail project has already begun to cause concern, especially towards the elastic port, fearing that it will lose some customers for the benefit of the new rail corridor.
Cultivation port leaders spoke before learning of the project, Marcel Furlong opined. “What we want to do cannot be done in cultivation,” he explained. We want to transport goods at high speeds in convoys of hundreds of wagons. ”
Similarly, the Port of Montreal will not be threatened with a new corridor that will not only carry containers, but also heavy goods, according to its promoter.
Qc Rail also does not intend to transport oil and do what it wants to do with the Energy East Pipeline, which guarantees Marcel Furlong to ensure access to global markets for Canadian crude.
The proper route for the SNC-Lavalin and Norda Stelo corridor must provide a plan and cost estimate for the railways. Their work will last for two years and will cost 15 million. The study was funded by the Quebec government (7.5 million), the Canadian government (7.45 million) and Innovation at Development Manicaugan ($ 50,000).
“It is exciting to be involved in a project that will lead to a more efficient and economically viable railroad for freight transportation in Canada,” said Ben Almond, CEO of Engineering, Design and Project Management from SNC-Lavalin.
If the study is positive, construction work will begin in 2025. “I have faith, but not much faith,” said Marcel Furlong for his part. We know there are pitfalls to overcome. ”
The new section, which will link to existing tracks, will connect a total of 2,750 km to Central Canada.