CN current to grain car order demand in Western Canada

CBJ Newsmakers

Soliciting customers for more orders

MONTREAL, May 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CN (TSX:CNR) (NYSE:CNI) said today it has met all grain orders in Western Canada for the third straight week, is current to demand and is seeking additional export orders from grain companies.

“The decisive action we took in March to deploy more crews and locomotives has led to dramatic improvements in the movement of Western Canadian grain,” said Doug MacDonald, vice president of bulk at CN. “We’ve met all of our car orders for the last three weeks and spotted more than 5,500 cars every week since early March. Sustained sequential improvement across our network in the last two months is enabling us to solicit more orders from grain companies.”

Spotted car progress: monthly averages up significantly
In February, CN averaged 4,129 cars a week. Since then, CN’s spotted numbers have increased sequentially to average more than 6,100 cars per week in April:

  • March 4 to 10:       5,953 cars spotted
  • March 11 to 17:     5,742 cars spotted
  • March 18 to 24:     5,586 cars spotted
  • March 25 to 31:     5,744 cars spotted

March Weekly Average: 5,756 cars spotted

  • April 1 to 7:          5,786 cars spotted
  • April 8 to 14:        6,038 cars spotted
  • April 15 to 21:      6,383 cars spotted
  • April 22 to 28:      6,424 cars spotted

April Weekly Average: 6,158 cars spotted

Weekly demand for this week (April 29 to May 5) is below 5,000 cars and CN is temporarily parking roughly 1,200 hopper cars. Those cars will be available for any increase in orders moving forward. Removing excess rail car fleet from the network will improve fluidity for all markets.   

Investing for the long haul: people, equipment and infrastructure
As part of CN’s record C$3.4 billion capital program in 2018, the company is investing in new trade-enabling infrastructure and equipment. In addition to 350 new box cars and 350 new lumber rail cars ordered for this year, CN expects in June to take delivery of the first of 60 new GE locomotives due in service in 2018.

This spring, CN has started its largest-ever infrastructure investment program, which includes C$400 million to build new track and yard capacity to handle increased traffic across CN’s Western Region, and to Chicago. The infrastructure program includes new siding and double track projects benefiting grain, forest products, intermodal, coal and potash business.

After adding hundreds of train conductors to the field so far this year, CN continues to hire with a particular focus on crews in Western Canada. Approximately 1,250 more qualified train conductors will be in the field before the next winter, compared to the number of conductors available before last winter.

CN is a true backbone of the economy whose team of approximately 25,000 railroaders transports more than 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 of approximately 20,000 route-miles 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 about CN, visit the Company’s website at

CN Contacts:  
Media Investors
Patrick Waldron Paul Butcher
Senior Manager Vice-President
Media Relations Investor Relations
(514) 399-8033 (514) 399-0052