CN delivers 4,000-plus hopper cars to Western Canadian grain elevators for third week in a row after harsh winter conditions ease

Concerned that West Coast grain terminals could hit capacity before Great Lakes shipping lane from Port of Thunder Bay, Ont., opens this spring

MONTREAL, March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) said today it spotted 4,456 hopper cars for loading at country grain elevators in Western Canada during the grain-crop Week 33 just ended. This marked the third week in a row that CN has delivered more than 4,000 grain cars to Prairie elevators, averaging 4,366 cars per week, or 23 per cent greater than CN's average winter car-spotting performance.

Claude Mongeau, CN president and chief executive officer, said: "We began ramping up our grain loadings as soon as we got a meaningful break from this harsh winter's extreme cold temperatures. We are pleased to see our network regaining fluidity. That enables our team of dedicated railroaders to move more grain to address the backlog of traffic resulting from the 100-year crop harvested last fall."

Mongeau said tackling the significant backlog will require solid end-to-end collaboration among all grain supply chain stakeholders.

With rail volumes quickly increasing, however, CN is concerned that grain elevator terminals on Canada's West Coast could soon hit 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, Ont.

"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 tonnes, or close to 5,500 cars of grain per week."

Mongeau added: "Railways are not the only ones facing a significant challenge in moving this 100-year grain crop. It is becoming clear that other supply chain participants - grain elevator companies, shipping lines and ports -- are also straining to handle the harvest given a full 50 per cent increase in the amount of grain to move to export markets.

"As I have said before, blaming railways alone - or even worse, threatening to punish them with re-regulation for an outsized crop and winter conditions beyond their control - will not help to move any more grain, now or over the longer term.

"Canada urgently needs to move away from unproductive finger-pointing. We need to encourage supply chain collaboration and promote sound commercial solutions to address the challenge of moving so much grain. As a key part of the solution, CN is prepared to do its part if it is welcomed as a core member of Canada's grain team."

CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) is a true backbone of the economy, transporting approximately C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network spanning Canada and mid-America. CN - Canadian National Railway Company, along with its operating railway subsidiaries -- serves the cities and ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more information on CN, visit the company's website at www.cn.ca.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information included in this news release is "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and under Canadian securities laws. CN cautions that, by their nature, these forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The Company cautions that its assumptions may not materialize and that current economic conditions render such assumptions, although reasonable at the time they were made, subject to greater uncertainty. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results or performance of the Company or the rail industry to be materially different from the outlook or any future results or performance implied by such statements.

Important risk factors that could affect the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the effects of general economic and business conditions, industry competition, inflation, currency and interest rate fluctuations, changes in fuel prices, legislative and/or regulatory developments, compliance with environmental laws and regulations, actions by regulators, various events which could disrupt operations, including natural events such as severe weather, droughts, floods and earthquakes, labor negotiations and disruptions, environmental claims, uncertainties of investigations, proceedings or other types of claims and litigation, risks and liabilities arising from derailments, and other risks detailed from time to time in reports filed by CN with securities regulators in Canada and the United States. Reference should be made to "Management's Discussion and Analysis" in CN's annual and interim reports, Annual Information Form and Form 40-F filed with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators, available on CN's website, for a summary of major risks.

CN assumes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect future events, changes in circumstances, or changes in beliefs, unless required by applicable Canadian securities laws. In the event CN does update any forward-looking statement, no inference should be made that CN will make additional updates with respect to that statement, related matters, or any other forward-looking statement.

SOURCE CN




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