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CN is offering a Commercial Fleet Integration Program to grain, oilseed and other agricultural product shippers interested in entering agreements to supply their privately owned covered hoppers for integration into the Class I's common rail-car fleet for Western Canada.Shippers that enter the program will receive weekly allotments to order cars from the railroad's fleet for 25-car block shipments heading from CN-served loading locations in Western Canada to non-port destinations in the United States, and Eastern or Western Canada.Program participants will benefit from a year-round car supply from the Class I’s common western fleet for shipments to commercial destinations in the United States and Canada, a priority in weekly car order confirmation and train service planning processes, and CN's management of their private cars within its common fleet, according to a program notice.The program is designed to:• continue adding larger cars to CN’s western hopper fleet to maximize supply-chain throughput;• maintain compatibility with the Class I's open order book for Western Canada grain and manifest train service;• facilitate reliable execution under CN’s weekly scheduled grain service plan; and• prevent system inefficiencies caused by free-running private cars, such as switching and interference at origin.CN has tailored the program for covered-hopper shipments from elevators or loading facilities at origins directly served by CN or its short-line partners in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia involving wheat, barley, oats, canola, flaxseed, special crops, corn or soybeans.CN plans to accept up to 250 private cars for integration into its fleet through a bid process. Interested shippers can begin submitting bids on Aug. 18; bidding closes at noon (MDT) on Aug. 22.
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