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Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN


Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN

CN logs record year for grain shipments


CN moved a record 21.8 million metric tons of Western Canadian grain during the 2016-17 crop year, the Class I announced today.

Among the crop year's highlights, CN reported that it shipped 7 percent more tonnage on its network than the prior three-year average.

"Through innovation, collaboration and improved communication with our supply chain partners, CN moved more grain in a single crop year than ever before," said Doug MacDonald, CN's vice president of bulk, in a press release. "We did this by further developing our supply chain ingenuity with our partners to meet demand, resulting in improvements in the use of equipment and better than ever efficiencies in size of trains."

In its annual year-end grain report, CN outlined other highlights of the crop year, including:
• beating the one-year record set in 2014-15 by 2 percent;
• setting six new monthly shipping records between the peak months of September and March when grain prices are highest;
• introducing 200-car grain trains to improve efficiency and turn equipment back to the prairies faster; and
• expanding its use of distributed power and air repeater cars to extend train lengths and improve train braking during extreme weather in winter months.

Additionally, the Class I expanded commercial agreements that guarantee car supply in advance to customers. In the last crop year, customers secured 70 percent of CN's car supply in advance under commercial agreements.

"This commercially driven innovation includes reciprocal penalties which drive accountability for both shippers and CN, and allows our customers to make market-based decisions," said MacDonald.

Grain companies have continued to invest in the supply chain with the construction of nine new elevators. Seven more have been announced with completion dates in the next 18 months. However, more rail capacity is needed in Vancouver to meet forecasted demand driven by new and ongoing in export grain terminals, CN officials said.

"Vancouver is a vital trade-oriented Canadian gateway and should be a top investment priority for the government's new national transportation corridor infrastructure fund," MacDonald said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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