VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 18 (Reuters) - Canada’s two biggest railways, Canadian National(CNR.TO) and Canadian Pacific (CP.TO), have agreed to jointly handle rail car switching at Vancouver’s Deltaport container facility, the companies said on Friday.
The railroads, which move about 70,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers each year through the Pacific Coast facility, will allow a jointly owned division to manage switching operations at the terminal.
Switching had been done by a unit of Denver-based OmniTrax, and railway officials said the new agreement would streamline operations at the facility at Roberts Bank, about 40 km (25 miles) south of Vancouver.
Rivals CN and CP already co-operate on many of their operations in British Columbia, including sharing main line tracks through the Fraser Canyon that are used by the container trains to and from Vancouver.
The railways reach Roberts Bank on a spur line owned by BC Rail, which the provincial government had put on the market as part of its effort to privatize the regional railway’s freight operations in 2003.
The province pulled the Roberts Bank line off the market after police alleged two provincial government officials had accepted money for providing confidential BC Rail documents to a lobbyist for privately held OmniTrax.
The trial of the officials, who were the only ones charged in the case, has been tied up amid allegations that prosecutors have failed to fully disclose government documents to defense lawyers. (Reporting by Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)