SAINT JOHN – Port Saint John has entered into a long-term lease with one of the largest marine terminal operators in the world.
On Thursday the Port announced their agreement with DP World for the operation of its container terminal on the city’s west side.
The lease will start Jan. 1 2017 and will continue for about 30 years following the completion of Port Saint John’s expansion plans. This is the largest private sector investment in the port in decades.
DP World will bring new assets, including revamping of terminal cargo handling equipment. The company has 77 terminals in 40 countries around the world and employs over 37,000 people worldwide.
Port Saint John CEO Jim Quinn says being a part of DP’s huge network will benefit the port greatly.
“We’re now a part of that network and they’re going to leverage that network, because we have to think about moving things in the North American marketplace differently. Different parts of our transportation channels are under pressure with congestion and things of that nature, but yet we have to get things to the market place,” Quinn said. “Saint John is an ideal situation with respect to its location in Eastern North America. DP saw the value in that. They absolutely adopted the vision we’ve been talking to them about and they are going to take that vision and accelerate it.”
DP World currently has three operations at port authorities in British Columbia. DP World group chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem says they saw opportunity on the country’s east coast.
“Where have we been evaluating this opportunity, our team is always on the lookout for where else we can be capitalizing growth in certain areas. The project with Saint John came, we looked at it and we saw a lot of synergy,” he said. “We’re already in Canada [on the west coast] so there is lots of synergy, it’s all connected by rail. It became important because it’s on the east coast and we believe we can fill a gap in this business.”
When the lease starts, Sulayem says they will be looking at ways to help the port grow.
“We will be seeing how we can handle more. . . I believe it is going to be a magnet to attract business. People will be anchoring their business here in New Brunswick, and that will add more business to the port,” he said. “In the first year we’re going to see how attractive this operation is to our customers and based on that we will look at the investment.”