Just weeks after receiving a federal grant of $9.2 million as part of a $28 million planned upgrade, the Ashcroft Terminal inland port has partnered with Singapore-based PSA International PTE Ltd (PSA), which has signed an investment agreement to acquire 60 per cent of the Ashcroft Terminal business.
PSA is one of the leading global port groups, and participates in around 40 terminals in 16 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Tan Chong Meng, Group CEO of PSA, says that “Ashcroft Terminal is PSA’s first foray into Canada and offers us an entry point into the hinterland supply chain for the North American market as well as an opportunity to increase our capabilities in intermodal and inland container depot (ICD) operations.
“The terminal’s strategic location allows us to establish a common user ICD and provide greater options to cargo owners and consignees. We will partner with shipping lines, rail operators, and trucking companies to implement a more robust, efficient, and cost-effective supply chain solution to serve the needs of major exporters in Western Canada.”
Kleo Landucci, who was Ashcroft Terminal’s managing director, has taken on the role of the company’s chief commercial officer and will oversee its sales and marketing. Both she and her father Robert—who has been the driving force behind the company for more than 30 years, and who is stepping back from his role as president and CEO—will serve on the company’s board of directors.
“We’ve been working on this deal for a while,” says Kleo. “The goal for us was looking at opportunities on the global market. We’re thrilled to have the largest [port group] in the world as our partner. It’s very exciting.”
The Ashcroft Terminal site north of Ashcroft comprises 320 acres of land and is the only major privately-owned industrial property in Canada that has the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National main lines running through it. The terminal currently services all sectors of the natural resource industries—including agriculture, mining, forestry, and oil and gas—by providing transloading, fleet management, railcar storage, and logistics solutions.
The recently announced upgrade will include a new rail link to the CN main line, additional rail track, an internal road system, and a multi-commodity storage facility.
Kleo Landucci says that details about the construction jobs involved in the three-year build out, which is in the planning stage and is scheduled to start this month, will be announced shortly, but estimates that some 250 jobs will be created.
“We intend to go first to Ashcroft and the surrounding communities [for workers]. And after that there will be year-by-year jobs. Growth is coming.”
Canada lags behind much of the rest of the world in inland ports, which Landucci says are a well-developed part of the supply chain in other parts of the world. “Canada has such a huge geography and a small population, which is one reason why we’re just starting to develop inland ports. But we need to continue to create efficiencies for our importers and exporters.
“If we maximize activities inland, we can keep our marine ports as efficient as possible and reduce constraints on our valuable marine land.”
Landucci says she’s excited at the prospect of working for a new CEO with global experience. “I’m really thrilled with this new opportunity. And as part of the board I hope to continue to bring the local perspective and the visions that we’ve had for a long time.
“We’ve seen big growth in the last five years, and now we’ll see the project come to fruition more quickly. It’s a big deal for western Canada, and I couldn’t be happier. We’re going to continue to develop the workforce, and I’m pretty pumped about this.”