Cargill Limited | Rail Improvement Project

May 21, 2015

Project status

Permit issued

On March 30, 2015 the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority issued a project permit (PP 2014-247) to Cargill Ltd. (Cargill) to reconfigure the existing rail track system in its rail yard, including the addition of a new lead track and installation of a new rail car indexer to increase capacity and efficiencies at its terminal in North Vancouver. The project permit, including conditions, is available below.

About the project

The reconfiguration of the existing rail track system included addition of new lead track and installation of a new rail car indexer. Through these upgrades, Cargill was proposing to increase its  annual grain shipment from 3.4 million metric tonnes to five million metric tonnes. Specifics of the proposal included:

  • installing a new rail car indexer system for Cargill’s entire track shed to permit the control of up to a 24 car string without having to cut and release rail cars during unloading procedures
  • reconfiguration of the existing rail track infrastructure with additional switches and trackage including a third spur line to allow deliveries of up to 120 cars per spot
  • installing a dedicated lead track where the CN tracks cross Cargill’s property to permit free access at any time to spot cars on the Cargill rail tracks
  • upgrading of the lighting system and addition of new lights on terminal buildings including on the track and drip sheds as well as new lighting in Cargill’s rail yard for the improved safety of workers. New lighting to be in the form of roadway lighting, flood lighting as well as mid-span and wall mounted lights
  • installing machinery in an existing below grade dumper pit within the existing track shed including installation of a new hopper and conveyors in the dumper pit and a new gate opener system so that two dumpers can be in use at all times while a third track is locked out for spotting purposes
  • excavating and clearing of existing trees and vegetation as well as earth berms to maintain railway safety clearances during additional rail track construction. New tree planting to occur following vegetation removal
  • installing a new radio frequency identification (RFID) system for automated car information management
  • upgrading of the current camera system and rail signal system including automated illumination to meet the requirements of the new dumper and spotting arrangements as well as associated electrical and control upgrades

The objective of the proposed works is to improve the efficiency of rail car movement through the facility and will result in the following increases in marine, rail and vehicle traffic as part of ongoing operations at Cargill’s North Vancouver terminal:

  • an annual increase in vessel calls at the terminal from the current 88 to a maximum of 132 trips per year
  • an annual increase in train locomotive trips from the current 325 to a maximum of 500 trips per year
  • a daily increase in the total number of rail cars unloading at the terminal from 140 to 180 per day, to a maximum of 200 cars per day during peak periods
  • a daily increase in the number of delivery truck trips from the current eight to a maximum of 10 trips per day

The proposed works will reduce operational rail car impact noise by eliminating the rail car shunting process on Cargill’s property. The project will eliminate the noise and exhaust emissions associated with use of the existing 250 bhp diesel shuttle wagon which will no longer be required to shunt rail cars. It is expected that the rail track system upgrade at the terminal will improve the current safe work environment by providing switch automation, lighting improvements as well as improved safe access for workers.


March 2015 – Approved Project Permit (PP 2014-247): Rail Improvement Project [PDF]

October 2016 – Approved Project Permit (PP 2014-247-2): Rail Improvement Project – Second Permit Amendment [PDF]

Consultation materials

February 2015 – Cargill’s Fact Sheet [PDF]
February 2015 – Cargill’s Display Boards [PDF]
February 2015 – Cargill’s Feedback Form [PDF]
March 2015 – Engagement Summary Report and Input Consideration Memo [PDF]

Contact information

For questions regarding the port authority’s Project and Environment Review Process, please contact us by email or phone at 604.665.9047.