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Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN

CN delivers 4,000 hopper cars to Western Canada grain elevators, calls for Coast Guard support

CN spotted 4,456 hopper cars to be loaded at country grain elevators in Western Canada during the grain-crop week that just ended, marking the third consecutive week that the Class I has delivered more than 4,000 grain cars to prairie elevators. CN's grain-car spotting now averages 4,366 cars per week, 23 percent higher than the railroad's average winter car-spotting performance.

"We began ramping up our grain loadings as soon as we got a meaningful break from this harsh winter's extreme cold temperatures," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau in a prepared statement. "We are pleased to see our network regaining fluidity."

However, CN officials are concerned that the robust grain crop and colder-than-usual winter temperatures will put a strain on the supply chain. They worry that grain elevator terminals on Canada's West Coast soon could reach capacity, limiting total export volumes before the Great Lakes shipping lane re-opens and a strong export grain program can start at the Port of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

"The Great Lakes have been frozen over by this winter's polar vortex to a degree not seen in several decades," said Mongeau. "We need urgent support from the Canadian Coast Guard to open navigation channels if we are to meet the federal government's Order in Council requiring CN to move 500,000 tons, or close to 5,500 cars of grain per week."

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More News from 3/25/2014