Being located offline has never stopped me when looking at solutions, it all comes down to the full cost of the move A to B (and combination of modes used). Of course CP is the smaller player but that doesn't mean they can't compete with CN.
Depends on the rates quoted and what Pan Am is going to want for the NMJ-WTVL portion, but I'm sure they'll come in aggressive to the existing ST-CN routing to the midwest, which subs to the SLR. Also anything going to BNSF or UP. I'd also look for logistics companies like NEPW flock to Hermon to get a warehouse up and running on CP property quickly, the opportunity to build directly onto a Class I connection is extremely enticing (and something they lack). NEPW also has deals already in place with most major mills in the area, so they'll likely get a logistics spoke setup to turn truckloads into a CP warehouse and ship out by rail (it happens quite often already actually). These things don't happen overnight, but again with CP's resources they'll come together quickly. Inbound pulp to the marketplace already coming in off CN to ST is a prime candidate to change (CP has a large relationship with Domtar that can be leveraged there).
The dynamic has not existed -- you've always had the ABC shortlines making the Class I connection, only Pan Am really has had the ability to move directly to a Class I. Think too NS is scaling back (thanks PSR) as well as CSX, so really CP will have a major advantage. Single line from Maine to Wisconsin and Minnesota is something NS/CSX lack too, they have to interchange to get there. Also, there are a few large print shops located on CP with one of the largest as close as Saratoga Springs, NY, I can't imagine CP won't try to chase that down.
I don't think anyone should underestimate the existing infrastructure at Searsport, which MaineDOT has quietly been improving bit by bit over the years. When I talk to breakbulk carriers they always bring it to the table as under hook location. Also, ports with any capability and reasonable draft are getting difficult to come by in this day and age... now you have a Class I right there it's quite a game changer. \ I would encourage folks to review the link below--, opportunity exists for a breakbulk venture, think K+S (rival to Canpotex's Nutrien and Mosaic) who doesn't have an Atlantic terminal yet. Also, Canpotex has Portland, OR and Vancouver, BC as terminals on the west coast, who's to rule out them having a second terminal on the Atlantic coasts? A lot of it is strike protection, not just the RR's but the diversity of ports and unions (Canadian vs US). I doubt Searsport will ever be a container player, but you never know what the future holds.
A quick exercise, is to compare the Canpotex terminal in Saint John to the footprint of Searsport and you'll see that all is really needed is a bulk conveyor system (which was on the docket for Maine DOT for years). The recently rebuilt yard
https://www.maine.gov/mdot/ofbs/docs/Se ... 170803.pdf
Look my point is, there is a decent amount of traffic to be had and at the end of the day, CP has made a decision to go after it by virtue of spending $130M on the line plus however many millions to upgrade the line to put them smack dab in the center of things. The investment in the pulp and paper industry in Maine and New Brunswick over the past 3 years is nearly $2 Billion dollars. I think CP at the very least has the notion they have a decent shot at a good chunk of that, plus their core business focus of intermodal and auto traffic.
Canpotex already filed the C-49 Interswitching suit against CN in 2018 for Potash to Saint John... the problem is the nearest interchange was St. Jean, QC within the Windsor-Quebec corridor (against the rules of interswitching). Then they asked for the rules to be changed and were denied. So now with the CP purchase you take that interchange point out of the exclusion zone and all of a sudden CP can grab a large chunk of 13,000 carloads of Potash annually. Already there have been things in play, where customers have come to CP seeking a solution in the East, so CP is addressing this need from a market standpoint.
More on the Canpotex point: https://sencanada.ca/content/sen/commit ... rief_e.pdf
There are a lot of angles, that of which just CMQ alone could not have had the firepower to pursue. Actually, CMQ was successful in gaining a lot of test loads from customers using CN, but at the end of the day the dollar made judgement and they couldn't compete. Now you have a stronger position with CP, so I think there is merit there. Besides, if someone told you one year ago CP would buy CMQ and move back to Maine I think everyone would have laughed at you, but look at where we are today.