CN delivers more than 5,000 hopper cars to Western Canadian grain elevators in just ended crop-week 34

Encourages grain elevator companies to stop complaining to governments and step up their performance to help move giant crop to market

MONTREAL, March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) said today it spotted 5,102 hopper cars for loading at country grain elevators in Western Canada during grain-crop Week 34 that just ended. This marks the fourth week in a row that CN has delivered well in excess of 4,000 grain cars to Prairie elevators, averaging 4,550 cars per week, or 21 per cent greater than CN's average March performance for the last decade.

Claude Mongeau, CN president and chief executive officer, said: "We are continuing to make significant progress toward our goal of transporting close to 5,500 grain cars per week to meet the Canadian government's Order in Council of March 7, 2014. But CN can only meet its commitment if all other key players in the supply chain are equally held to account for their performance."

Mongeau said the federal government has yet to regulate grain elevator companies, but it has clearly demanded all supply chain players deliver as much grain as possible toward the most efficient and fastest transit-time corridors. This is the most effective way to allow farmers to deliver grain to Prairie elevators and to ensure farmers receive the cash they are owed by grain elevator companies as soon as possible. The faster space is created at country elevators, the more grain, from the most farmers, will be able to move to market, he said.

"One of the biggest root causes of the challenge we face is a lack of coordination across the supply chain and growing pains from new grain marketing strategies following the change in role of the Canadian Wheat Board," Mongeau said. "Despite the fact that CN will soon have moved more grain than ever before in its history crop-to-date, the benefit of its strong performance does not appear to be flowing to farmers as it did before. The faster we can ramp up tonnage, the quicker we will be able to mitigate the effects of the grain backlog for all Canadian farmers."

In this context, Mongeau added, the recent view expressed by the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) that the railways want to move too many grain loads to the West Coast and Thunder Bay is quite disconcerting. The WGEA has complained all winter about having too many vessels waiting to be loaded on the West Coast, and the highly efficient Thunder Bay Port corridor is about to open for shipping very large quantities of grain to export market.

"Having wrongly singled-out railways and unrealistically called for a near-doubling of rail car capacity since last fall, it is now time for grain elevators companies to step up to the capacity they claim to have, and do so in the corridors that will benefit Canadian farmers the most," Mongeau said.

CN is committed to maximize throughput using the most efficient corridors available to address the huge grain backlog created by a 100-year crop. In spite of the burden of being the only segment of the supply chain targeted by heavy-handed regulation, the rail industry will do its part to quickly ramp up to move as much tonnage as possible.

Mongeau concluded: "Unfounded railway bashing by grain stakeholders and the government's ill-advised legislation to unfairly punish the rail industry are unfortunately about to set Canada's grain handling system backward. We steadfastly believe that ensuring commercial alignment and encouraging supply chain collaboration are much better ways to build a stronger transportation infrastructure to the  benefit of Canadian farmers."

CN 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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