New Agreement Brings Rail Service Back to Thorold Multimodal Hub


For Immediate Release
June 10, 2022

THOROLD, ON – Bioveld Canada and HOPA Ports have signed an industrial switch agreement with Canadian rail services provider, GIO Railways Corporation, to enable the use of existing CN Rail infrastructure at the Thorold Multimodal Hub to transload cargo. A switching agreement allows a short line operator (GIO Rail) to use the track owned by CN to provide first- and last-mile delivery and transload services.

New rail capabilities will help attract a range of industrial users who are looking to move goods through Southern Ontario, or into the Northeastern United States.

“Integrating and expanding the rail service offering to our tenants and customers has always been part of HOPA’s vision for the Thorold Multimodal Hub,” said Jeremy Dunn. “The fact that we have rail connecting indoor and outdoor transloading space and rail car storage right beside the Welland Canal are all part of what makes the Hub so unique.” This agreement will improve connections and modal choice for customers, and expand trade flows through the Thorold Hub.

The Thorold Multimodal Hub is a 200+ acre multimodal industrial complex in Niagara, adjacent to the Welland Canal. Unique to Niagara, it features marine, rail and highway access, as well as over 500,000 square feet of indoor warehouse and outdoor storage space, which can be configured to a wide variety of industrial, cargo handling and ancillary operations.

“With GIO Rail on board, we can operationalize rail lines that have not been used in more than two decades,” said Justus Veldman, Managing Partner of Bioveld Canada, a BMI company that owns the site and brings expertise in the productive repurposing of industrial brownfields.

In the near term, rail users will have access to the site’s transload, integrated warehousing, and railcar storage capacity. Looking ahead, the site will include marine-rail connections, a reactivated gantry crane and rail scale as part of a tailored supply chain solution. “Our approach is to work with users to reactivate these assets in a customized way that meets the needs of contemporary users,” said Veldman.

The partners see potential value for users in sectors such as forest products, liquid bulk, plastics and metals, critical raw materials for the manufacturing and construction Industry.

Based in Welland, ON, GIO Rail has extensive experience operating industrial switching operations and short line railways throughout Ontario. In partnership with CN Rail, GIO has been a rail operator and service provider in the Niagara Region since 1997. “We are thrilled to expand our footprint into Thorold in partnership with CN Rail, and to see these lines revived,” said Neil Johnson, Vice President, GIO Railways Corporation.

“Room to grow and complete multimodal connections are value we are providing to users of the Thorold Multimodal Hub,” said HOPA’s Jeremy Dunn, while the addition of new supply chain options will provide modal choice and helping to alleviate pressure on regional highways.

The development is welcomed by Thorold’s civic and business leaders. “Yet again the Thorold Multimodal Hub is showcasing how partnerships and collaboration are yielding results,” said Thorold Mayor, Terry Ugulini. “It is through transload operational capacity, integrated warehousing and railcar storage capabilities that sustainable supply chain can be achieved.  This rail infrastructure will support the new creative industrial industries that call the Thorold Multimodal Hub home and will assist in the attraction of new investment.  On behalf of Thorold City Council and our Economic Development team we welcome this announcement and look forward to the prosperity it will bring to the Niagara Region.”


About GIO Railways Corporation (GIO Rail):
GIO Rail offers specialized services that both railway operators and industrial customers require to manage their operations, including short line railway operations, industrial switching, carload inventory management, and safety management system design and implementation.

About HOPA Ports:
As an integrated port network, HOPA Ports offers port and marine assets on the Great Lakes. We are developing multimodal spaces, including in Niagara, to support Ontario’s industries and facilitate trade. By investing in high-quality infrastructure and prioritizing sustainability, we build prosperous working waterfronts in Ontario communities. The Thorold Multimodal Hub is managed by HOPA Ports under its subsidiary, Great Lakes Port Management.

About BMI Group and Bioveld Canada:
The BMI Group, owner of Bioveld Canada, is a venture development company specializing in structuring public-private partnerships to activate the emergent potential of the natural, built, and social environment. From new housing development to multi-modal infrastructure, the BMI Group brings together multidisciplinary teams to finance, plan, design, and manage a growing and diversified portfolio of projects.

About Thorold Multimodal Hub:
The Thorold Multimodal Hub is a 200-acre multimodal industrial complex in Niagara, adjacent to the Welland Canal. Unique to Niagara, it features marine, rail and highway access, as well as over 500,000 square feet of indoor warehouse and outdoor storage space, which can be configured to a wide variety of industrial, cargo handling and ancillary operations. The Hub comprises space owned by HOPA Ports, as well as a 155-acre former paper mill; the massive facility was purchased recently by Bioveld Canada Inc.

Media Contact:

Larissa Fenn
HOPA Ports
Tel: 905-667-3292  |  Cell: 905-518-7632
[email protected]

Larissa Fenn

Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Larissa Fenn is Vice President, Corporate Affairs at HOPA Ports, leading a team responsible for communications and government relations, sustainability reporting, corporate governance and corporate culture.

Previous positions included communications and public policy roles at the Canadian Bankers Association, Credit Valley Conservation Authority, and the Regional Municipality of Halton.

Larissa holds a B.A.(Hons) in Political Science from Queen’s University. She holds the APR designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society, and completed the Senior Public Sector Leaders program at the University of Western Ontario, Ivey School of Business. Larissa has served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Royal Botanical Gardens, and as a member of the Policy Council of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Fitzgerald

Vice President, Strategic Development

Bill assumed the role of Vice President, Strategic Development in 2024, after having served as HOPA’s Vice President, Operations since 2008.

Bill joined the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority in July 1995 as Project Engineer. He previously worked with the Regional Municipality of Ottawa’s Transportation Department, as well as for the Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Waterloo.

Bill received a Bachelor of Applied Science, civil engineering / water resources, in 1995 from the University of Waterloo and registered with the Professional Engineers of Ontario in 1997.

Jeremy Dunn

Vice President, Operations

Jeremy assumed the role of Vice President, Operations in 2024 after having served as HOPA’s Commercial Vice President since 2019. Prior to joining HOPA, Jeremy served in successive leadership roles at The Miller Group, one of Canada’s leading transportation construction and infrastructure maintenance companies. Jeremy has managed multiple business groups in the heavy construction, asphalt paving and aggregates sectors driving results through business restructuring, service improvement and strategic growth. In his most recent role, Jeremy served as General Manager of Miller Maintenance, responsible for managing and growing Miller’s highway maintenance business in Ontario.

Previous to The Miller Group, Jeremy held the position of Director of Operations for the Dunn Group of Companies.

Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) through Queen’s University. He also holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management.

Janet Knight

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer for the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority since 2008, Janet joined the HPA in 1998 as Accounting Supervisor and subsequently served as Controller.

Prior to joining the HPA, Janet held the position of Financial Analyst with St. Joseph’s Hospital, as well as various positions, including Marketing Communications/Research Lead with Zeneca Agro. Janet graduated from McMaster University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Commerce. She attained the professional designation of Certified Management Accountant in 1992.

Ian Hamilton

President & CEO

Ian Hamilton is President & CEO of HOPA Ports (Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority). He assumed this role in 2017, after serving as the Port Authority’s Vice President of Business Development and Real Estate since 2008. Ian has been instrumental in developing working waterfronts in Hamilton, Oshawa, and Niagara by attracting new business and private investment, and creating an integrated marine network across Southern Ontario.

Ian possesses more than 25 years of experience in international transportation and logistics in Europe and North America, and has held progressively senior positions in the liner shipping industry, including Transatlantic Trade Director (Europe) for CP Ships and Business Development Manager for Hapag-Lloyd. Ian is Chairperson of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, and holds positions on various other boards, including: the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the Hamilton Club, and Brigs Youth Sail Training.

Ian holds an MBA from Aston University (UK) and a BSc in business administration and economics from the College of Charleston, South Carolina.