CN investing in new grain, lumber and boxcars, as well as infrastructure

CN plans to acquire 1,000 new generation high-cube grain hopper cars over the next two years to rejuvenate the aging equipment needed to serve increasing annual crop yields.

“This substantial investment in higher capacity payload hopper cars, with up to 10 per cent more capacity than the older generation, demonstrates our commitment to safely, efficiently and reliably moving the steadily increasing Prairie grain crop for our customers,” said JJ Ruest, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of CN. “We clearly understand how important having an effective grain supply chain is to our nation’s reputation as a stable trade partner. With this week’s news of regulatory certainty, we can now make decisive long-term investments that will benefit the entire grain industry.” (more…)

CP announces plans for half billion dollar investment in future of grain supply chain with railcar order

Canadian Pacific Railway announced plans to invest more than a half-billion dollars on new high-capacity grain hopper cars as part of its commitment to the North American agricultural sector. CP grain shippers can expect to see more than 500 of these new cars in service before the end of 2018, enabling CP to transport more grain in each dedicated train. (more…)

CN and CP announce first quarter 2018 results

Both of Canada’s major railways felt the effects of a weak economy, and capacity constraints, exacerbated by bad weather, and produced somewhat disappointing financial results. Both carriers restated the financials pertaining to the first quarter of 2017, but we chose to maintain them as originally presented. As is evident from the table, net income as a percentage of revenues tumbled from 34 per cent in 2016 to 21 per cent in 2018 at CP, while at CN net income as a percentage of revenues dropped from 26.7 per cent in 2016 to 23.2 per cent in 2018. Both carriers have spent vast sums of cash repurchasing their own shares over the past few years, with CN in particular picking up the pace of these repurchases. Stock repurchases help maintain earnings per share numbers, as the company’s earnings are divided by a reduced number of outstanding shares. On the other hand, as is evident from the numbers, one could argue that share repurchases were financed entirely or in part through borrowed funds, and for that reason, have the effect of weakening the balance sheet, compared to what it would look like without the repurchases. (more…)

National railways heat up investments in cool cargo

National railways heat up investments in cool cargo

By Keith Norbury

Canada’s two major railways are each ramping up their cold chain game. Canadian Pacific Railway in February launched a trademarked TempPro service for perishable products that is being augmented by the purchase this year of more than 400 new 53-foot “SlimLine” reefers. Canadian National Railway, meanwhile, plans to add more equipment to the 2017 addition of 100 reefer units to its CargoCool fleet, which now has 720 units, Senior Media Relations Manager Patrick Waldron said by email. “Each 53-foot CargoCool container offers the power of almost 100 refrigerators and through ReeferTrak, our team has real time visibility to temperatures inside the box, ensuring that perishable cargo is protected at all times,” Mr. Waldron said. (more…)

CN to acquire 700 cars to meet growing demand in forest products, metals business

On April 18, CN announced it will acquire 350 premium boxcars to serve growing demand from industrial customers across its North American network. “These additional boxcars, combined with our new locomotives, hundreds of new train crew members, and track expansion investments, will help give us the capacity and network resiliency we need for pulp, paper and metals customers,” said Doug MacDonald, Vice-President of Bulk at CN. The leased 50-foot, high-capacity plate F boxcars, equipped with 12-foot plug doors, are expected to be delivered beginning in late summer with all the cars in service by the end of 2018. (more…)

Railway to Churchill closed as parties fight over who should fix the flood-damaged line

Railway to Churchill closed as parties fight over who should fix the flood-damaged line

By Keith Norbury

The Hudson Bay Railway line proved no match for the uneven, boggy terrain of the Hudson Bay Lowlands this spring. On June 9, a news release from OmniTrax Inc., its owner, said it had suspended service indefinitely on the railway from Amery, 29 rail miles northeast of Gillam, to Churchill — a section it had been unable to operate since May 23. A preliminary assessment by an independent engineering firm found the flooding had washed the track bed away in 19 locations, the release said. The flood “visibly damaged” five bridges with another 30 bridges and 600 culverts needing further assessment.

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