Construction of a $20 million regional distribution center at the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Vancouver intermodal facility and a new long-term contract with the railway are setting the stage for Westfair Foods Ltd to boost its share of the retail grocery market in western Canada.
John McBoyle, CPR general manager — domestic intermodal, said Westfair's move is a first in the Canadian retail food industry. No other grocery chain in Canada has tied its distribution facilities to rail.
The new 260,000-square-foot distribution center east of Vancouver in Pitt Meadows is scheduled to be built beginning in August and will open late in 2003. Westfair is consolidating two departments from its existing Vancouver warehouse at the new center and creating about 100 new jobs.
Vancouver and the lower mainland comprise a large market for Westfair, which has 23 retail stores operating under commercial banners such as the Real Canadian Superstore and Extra Foods.
Intermodal service is the strongest growth area for CPR, with revenues increasing by $19 million, or 9%, in the first quarter of 2003. Intermodal was also CPR's leading revenue growth performer in 2002, rising 10%. In all, revenue from intermodal service has grown by more than $200 million or 30% in the past five years.