QGI, acting as a subcontractor to its sister company Quorum Corporation, prepared a report for the Government of Canada on the use of International Containers in Western Canada with a special focus on container supply and demand, container utilization and the potential viability of Inland Container Terminals.
The report concluded that because of the economies of scale required in the container industry; demographics play a critical role and import containers will naturally flow to and from areas of high population density. This places regions with lower density population such as the Canadian Prairies at a disadvantage in securing empty container supply for exports.
The report thoroughly examined the feasibility of using independent Inland Container Terminals to support regional economic and logistics needs and identified seven specific areas that must be satisfied for a container terminal to be viable.
- Shipping lines must be committed to utilizing such facilities
- Railways must be committed to providing train service to the terminals with such commitment driven by the underlying railway economics
- The terminal must provide immediate access to railway mainlines and unconstrained access to major roads
- Local and Provincial governments must be involved in and supportive of the concept
- Traffic must be incremental to and not a diversion from existing intermodal terminals
- Margins on traffic for the terminal operator must be high enough to cover the capital costs of terminal construction and operation
- Specific products and markets must be identified cooperatively by exporters, importers, shipping lines and railroads to ensure viability for all stakeholders
The report determined that while the establishment of an independent inland container terminal in Canada is not an impossibility, none of the proposals developed to date have been able to satisfy all of the above criteria.