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CN Rail infrastructure at Multimodal Hub to transload cargo

Switching agreement allows GIO Rail to use the track owned by CN to provide first- and last-mile delivery and transload services
train wheels rail stock

Bioveld Canada and HOPA Ports have signed an industrial switch agreement with Canadian rail services provider, GIO Railways Corporation, to enable the use of existing CN Rail infrastructure at the Thorold Multimodal Hub to transload cargo. A switching agreement allows a short line operator (GIO Rail) to use the track owned by CN to provide first- and last-mile delivery and transload services.

New rail capabilities will help attract a range of industrial users who are looking to move goods through Southern Ontario, or into the Northeastern United States.

“Integrating and expanding the rail service offering to our tenants and customers has always been part of HOPA’s vision for the Thorold Multimodal Hub,” said Jeremy Dunn. “The fact that we have rail connecting indoor and outdoor transloading space and rail car storage right beside the Welland Canal are all part of what makes the Hub so unique.” This agreement will improve connections and modal choice for customers, and expand trade flows through the Thorold Hub.

The Thorold Multimodal Hub is a 200+ acre multimodal industrial complex in Niagara, adjacent to the Welland Canal. Unique to Niagara, it features marine, rail and highway access, as well as over 500,000 square feet of indoor warehouse and outdoor storage space, which can be configured to a wide variety of industrial, cargo handling and ancillary operations.

“With GIO Rail on board, we can operationalize rail lines that have not been used in more than two decades,” said Justus Veldman, managing partner of Bioveld Canada, a BMI company that owns the site and brings expertise in the productive repurposing of industrial brownfields.

In the near term, rail users will have access to the site’s transload, integrated warehousing, and railcar storage capacity. Looking ahead, the site will include marine-rail connections, a reactivated gantry crane and rail scale as part of a tailored supply chain solution. “Our approach is to work with users to reactivate these assets in a customized way that meets the needs of contemporary users,” said Veldman.

The partners see potential value for users in sectors such as forest products, liquid bulk, plastics and metals, critical raw materials for the manufacturing and construction Industry.

Based in Welland, Ont., GIO Rail has extensive experience operating industrial switching operations and short line railways throughout Ontario. In partnership with CN Rail, GIO has been a rail operator and service provider in the Niagara Region since 1997. “We are thrilled to expand our footprint into Thorold in partnership with CN Rail, and to see these lines revived,” said Neil Johnson, vice president, GIO Railways Corporation.

“Room to grow and complete multimodal connections are value we are providing to users of the Thorold Multimodal Hub,” said HOPA’s Jeremy Dunn, while the addition of new supply chain options will provide modal choice and helping to alleviate pressure on regional highways.

The development is welcomed by Thorold’s civic and business leaders. “Yet again the Thorold Multimodal Hub is showcasing how partnerships and collaboration are yielding results,” said Thorold Mayor, Terry Ugulini. “It is through transload operational capacity, integrated warehousing and railcar storage capabilities that sustainable supply chain can be achieved. This rail infrastructure will support the new creative industrial industries that call the Thorold Multimodal Hub home and will assist in the attraction of new investment. On behalf of Thorold City Council and our Economic Development team we welcome this announcement and look forward to the prosperity it will bring to the Niagara Region.”