Resurgence in port activity – the time to modernize is now

There’s a resurgence of port activity with the attraction of some of the world’s top container shipping lines including Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Tropical Shipping —offering weekly service to global markets through Saint John. .

We have nearly doubled this cargo sector since 2012.

More than 350 ports worldwide are now accessible through Port Saint John every week.

Impact across New Brunswick

As a Province, we must remember that Port Saint John is a transition point.

Cargo comes to the Port from many different locations across the Province.

On this map you can easily see many different industries from across New Brunswick that use the current container services of Port Saint John to get to global markets.


Whether it be peat moss, forest products, frozen foods, or aquaculture, this Port has the services to allow these companies to grow and positively impact the economies of the cities and towns they are located in.

It is also important to note that we handle cargo from the US and other Atlantic Canadian provinces.

With all this being said, the time to modernize is now

Deeper, stronger, and more efficient

To compete and grow on the world stage a terminal upgrade is required to accommodate larger vessels and to have the handling capacity to service modern fleets.

For our conceptual design we worked with a well-known company Hatch Mott MacDonald, a world leader in marine terminal designs.

Our objective is to be deeper, stronger and more efficient:

  1. This project is going to allow us to handle larger ships due to increased water depths.
  2. It will allow us to have a structure that can sustain more weight, and enable us to have larger cranes.
  3. We will have a larger, new intermodal rail yard to provide for more efficient movement of cargo from the ship to truck and rail, and consequently to/from inland markets.

We will also be able to handle heavier and greater volumes of other non-containerized cargo.

What we are proposing is a generational ‘hundred year’ fix for this Port.

The Project

We have been speaking the past few weeks about the $205 million cost.

This cost breaks down into two components which will be carried out over a 7-year period with no impact to current operations at the Port.

The first component is the wharf and terminal construction the cost of which is estimated to be $167 million.

This project also includes a capital dredging component of $38 million in the main channel that will not only improve conditions for today’s current users, but will also allow us to accommodate larger ships for both cargo and cruise.

And this is important for the cruise sector because they too are moving to larger ships requiring deeper water and we must stay competitive to maintain and grow this important sector in our Provincial economy.

The Economic Benefits

As part of our Building Canada application, our staff and consultants conducted an economic benefits analysis.

Activity from container growth alone will double the direct and indirect jobs attributed to this sector across the region from 500 to more than 1,000, not including economic growth spin-offs.


The multipurpose nature of the new terminal will also allow for growth in non-containerized cargo that will represent additional direct and indirect jobs.

We have a vision for a modernized terminal that includes the ability for New Brunswick to become a distribution centre for goods from around the world.  This is a story we tell as we market our Port to global shippers and receivers.

Success stories from other ports demonstrate that with increased cargo comes the potential for advanced manufacturing and distribution

Just imagine the hundreds of jobs that could be created for our provincial economy.

With respect to the construction period, our project will create more than 1,400 person years of direct and indirect jobs during the 7-year design and construction phase.  This means on average 200 jobs per year over the 7-year period.

The natural advantages

This is a major project for the future of our Port and Province.

  • Port Saint John is one of the major ports in the Atlantic Gateway with an excellent rail and road network
  • Port Saint John is ideally situated with some of the deepest ice-free tidal waters in Canada
  • US East Coast ports are becoming more and more congested
  • Shippers and receivers are looking for Eastern options
  • Port Saint John and New Brunswick are positioned be the solution
  • Thousands of people in Saint John and the province are working in port related industries including petroleum, potash, forestry, aquaculture, and import and export trades
  • The future growth of our province is dependent on a modern and efficient port that will provide New Brunswick companies with competitive exporting and importing facilities
  • The time is now to capitalize on our natural strengths and proximity to world markets

See a video about the project here.

Learn more about the Project by following us on Twitter @PortSaintJohn and Facebook Port Saint John

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